Why Capernaum was Our Favorite City to Visit in Israel

Alan and me in Capernaum

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After we left Nazareth, we hopped back on our bus and rode through the ever-so-bumpy streets of Cana. You’ve heard of Cana, where Jesus turned the water into wine?

We didn’t actually stop in Cana. Another destination was on our minds: Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee!!!! Eeeeeee!!!! So excited!!!

That bus ride was so bumpy that my Fitbit credited me with climbing about 200 flights of stairs. Yeah. I earned so many badges. Hahaha! I tried to make it stop. The Fitbit would not listen.

 

Have you ever gone somewhere so incredible that you don’t even know how to begin to tell people about it?

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40 Nazareth Photos: Where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus lived

40 Nazareth Photos

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The Church of the Annunciation



We have 4 posts left in this Israel series: Nazareth, Capernaum, the Sea of Galilee, and What to Wear When Touring Israel.

Today let’s see Nazareth!!

Most signage in Israel is in Hebrew, Arabic, and English, which we were thankful for.

Alan was able to join me for one last day of touring. We could not have been more excited to hop on that bus and head to Nazareth.

This part of the town where the churches are located was a largely Muslim area. There is another part of Nazareth where the Jews live.

My day was off to an uplifting start. Our first stop was a gift shop, where the store manager instructed his employee to give me a special discount for having such pretty blue eyes.

Yes, flattery does work on me. I thoroughly enjoyed the compliment, but I didn’t actually buy anything. I usually count my photos as my best souvenirs.

The Church of the Annunciation, also in Nazareth, had these beautiful murals of Mary with Jesus. Countries from all over the world each sent one.

from France

I don’t know which country this one was from, but I liked it.

Rather than attempt to remember which church was which, since we saw two right next to each other that day, I’m just going to call this all Nazareth.

Why was Nazareth important?

Nazareth is where Jesus lived with his parents after they returned from hiding from King Herod in Egypt.

It is also where Mary received the news that she would bear a son, the child of God, who would be called Emmanuel.

Nathanael said to him, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.”       John 1:46

Did you know that Jesus visited Nazareth twice in his ministry, and was unwelcome both times? In fact, once they tried to stone him there, but he got away.

 

from the United States

“And he went out from thence, and came into his own country; and his disciples followed him. 2And when the sabbath day was come, he began to teach in the synagogue: and many hearing him were astonished, saying, From whence hath this man these things? and what wisdom is this which is given unto him, that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands? 3Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, the brother of James, and Joses, and of Juda, and Simon? and are not his sisters here with us?

 

And they were offended at him. 4But Jesus said unto them, A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house. 5And he could there do no mighty work, save that he laid his hands upon a few sick folk, and healed them. 6And he marvelled because of their unbelief.”          ~Mark 6:1-6

The importance of the church of the Annunciation is that it is where Gabriel visited Mary.

“Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city in Galilee called Nazareth,”              Luke 1:26

where Gabriel appeared to Mary

art from Spain

That’s Nazareth behind me….and an attractive broody looking Latin man…Actually, he was from Texas. He looked that serious all day.

 

heading up the steep hill to see the sights, following behind our tour guide

Y’all, this area is extremely hilly, mountainous, and most of all BUMPY! My Fitbit gave me credit for like 200 flights of stairs. No, I didn’t climb anywhere near that many, but apparently if you ride on an extremely rough road at a slow enough speed, the Fitbit believes you are mountain climbing.

The mountain of the famous SERMON ON THE MOUNT!!!!! Squee!!!!!!

The Sermon on the Mount mountain wasn’t actually in Nazareth. We saw it during the van ride.

You can imagine my dismay when my camera couldn’t handle the strong Israeli outlets. My real camera was my photography tool of choice. I was extra careful to charge it before we left the hotel. The powerful outlet charged it super-fast, but it wasn’t actually charged.

My camera battery died as soon as we reached the churches at the top of the hill. This may sound overly dramatic, but I totally wanted to cry over the fact that the rest of these photos are iPhone quality, indoors. Sad, sad, sadness!!!

This artwork, from Japan, is the most valuable one in the place, made partially with pearls.

 

At each holy site, there were always written prayers and change thrown in there.

The church is built on top of the old village. People actually lived under ground back then to stay cool. This is believed to be the site of Joseph’s stone carving shop.

where Joseph worked

The green light gives it an eery quality, doesn’t it?

This is the modern, Jewish, section of Nazareth.

There are those beautiful bushes again! I saw these all over Israel, and I want one for my yard now.

 

We re-boarded our van and headed for Capernaum. Alan fell asleep, and I tried to sneak a picture, but he caught me.

 

Now he’s just being silly.

 

Sleep tight, Honey. That ride was so rough; I don’t know how anyone could sleep through it.

 

More Nazareth Photos:

I do not recall much more to tell you about these, but I this is what it looked like:

“And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, 24Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.

25And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him. 26And when the unclean spirit had torn him, and cried with a loud voice, he came out of him. 27And they were all amazed, insomuch that they questioned among themselves, saying, What thing is this? what new doctrine is this? for with authority commandeth he even the unclean spirits, and they do obey him. 28And immediately his fame spread abroad throughout all the region round about Galilee.

Mark 1:23-28

 

The next place we went was Capernaum, and y’all, it was our FAVORITE. The synagogue, referenced in the Bible, where Jesus taught and performed miracles, is still there. You can see it.

Yes, there’s a newer synagogue on top of it, which is so old, even it is from the 4th century AD, but they’ve excavated so that you can see the ruins of the entire town from the days of Jesus and his disciples.

Capernaum was the town that was the most spiritually moving to me, and I’m going to tell you all about it. Look for that post next week.

If you want to be sure to not miss it, comment below or send me a message, and I can tag you when I post it on Facebook, or you can also sign up to receive allll my posts, in my sidebar, but I do warn you that I post every week. Ha!!

 

 

Want to see more of my Israel trip? Here are a few of the other Israeli places I blogged about:

Jerusalem: Where Jesus was Crucified

Jerusalem: The Mount of Olives

Tel Aviv

Jaffa: One of the Oldest Seaports in the World

 

 

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Shopping and Shedding Pounds in Tel Aviv

My fit friend Julie. It was like Israel boot camp, but I could not have asked for a better person to tour with.

When I talked to Julie the week before our big trip, she mentioned that she enjoys walking, and she hoped to walk everywhere in Tel Aviv.

“Perfect, I love walking!” I said.

But then, as I got to know Julie better, I began to realize we weren’t exactly on the same level with the physical fitness. Yeah, she walks, and she runs, and she exercises.

She’s what we call fit. Super fit. I’m what we call….not fit.

My gut closely resembles this Israeli statue…

 

He’s cute, isn’t he?

I could not have found a better person than Julie to tour Tel Aviv with. We were already acquainted well enough that I felt comfortable with her, and yet we were new enough of friends that there was no arguing. Ha!!!

Besides, Julie is awesome. She is laid back, intelligent, sensible, down to earth, and an excellent conversationalist, which is perfect because I often have a super hard time thinking of what to say. She also was better than me with figuring out where we were and how to get where we were going, which is important in a foreign country!

Go ahead and laugh. You know I have no sense of direction. And maybe you THINK I talk a lot, but inside I’m working hard to think of all those words.

This is the street in Tel Aviv that runs along the beach.

Tel Aviv Boot Camp

We had a routine that worked well. Breakfast and supper were free at our hotel, so that was what we ate. We had a late breakfast, skipped lunch, and then there was 4:00 tea time at our hotel, with snacks. Then there was dinner at 6pm.

So yeah, we just skipped lunch everyday. We didn’t save any calories though. They fed us so well at the hotel, we weren’t even hungry at lunch.

 

Tel Aviv Beach

Alan and I did a little walking on the beach together too.

The Shopping

You know I’m thrifty, and Julie is too. I’m so easily influenced by who I’m hanging out with! I didn’t buy all that much, but we did walk around tons of shops and markets.

We went into Israel expecting to barter for everything. People had told us we would need to barter, and yet, that was not what we found. Maybe it’s just different in Tel Aviv, but most everywhere we went the shop owners and workers said, “No, we don’t do that here. It’s just one price.”

I bought these Coca-Cola in Hebrew shirts for my 2 biggest boys.

I scored this entire outfit at the Shuk for only $100 shekels…That’s like $35!!

Funny story:

First of all, several different people asked Julie and me if we were from Germany. ???!!?? Germany? No! America!

I found that odd, kind of funny, but also sad, considering Israel’s history with Germany.

But the funny story was the sales guy we met at the Shuk, where I bought that exercise outfit.

He was an unusually friendly young Jewish man, probably around 24 years old, a cute, small guy. What I didn’t realize at first was that he actually lives in Miami, but he was in town for an event and helping his dad in their store that day.

“Where are you from?” he asked us, after explaining the day’s sales to us.

Each time people asked, I found myself not knowing what to call our country. Isn’t that hilarious? United States of America is sort of a mouthful. So sometimes I said America, and sometimes I called it the U.S. or the United States.

That was not a sufficient answer for anyone that asked. Every single questioner actually wanted to know what state we were from.

I move every 2 to 3 years, so my new policy is to be from wherever I currently live.

This particular sales guy laughed when I said “America,” and said, “Well, yeah, I know, I mean I didn’t think you were from Germany!”

Julie and I looked at each other, mystified. Well, the rest of the country seems to think we are from Germany, and even this guy referenced it, so clearly their history left scars.

But he knew we lived in the States because he’s been living in the U.S. himself for several years.

 

We bought this from an arts and crafts fair in downtown Tel Aviv.

So we explained to the sales guy where we were from. He said to Julie, “You look like a runner!” Then they talked about running and swimming…Funny…no one ever asked me what sport I participate in……hahahahaha…

I was shopping for a cute exercise outfit, so I picked up Larges, but I’m usually borderline on sizes, so I was glancing around for a fitting room.

“Oh, you don’t need a large!” this sales guy had all the answers…”This stretches, see? You need a medium.”

Flattering, but I actually didn’t even need to try on the pants. I’m 5 foot 6 with enough hips for all 3 of us standing there. I require the large, and I’m thankful I didn’t take his advice.

Shirts are a different story. I have to try on every shirt I buy.

There I was, in a foreign country, trying on a shirt, in a storage closet, in an outdoor market area (The closet had walls. The store did not.), with Julie standing guard in the OPEN doorway, with the super talkative young sales guy, waiting outside the closet. He was waiting to “snap a photo (of me) and put it on Facebook.”

Laugh. Out. Loud. “Yeah, you are not putting this on Facebook.”

I was in such a hurry to be done with the process that I bought the shirt, without being sure if it fit well or not because I didn’t want to look in the mirror long enough for him to get a Facebook photo.

Why do I care about him taking my picture? I’m a blogger for crying out loud. Yeah, well, I’m a vain blogger who carefully crops out all chubby bits before posting pictures online, and me in a spandex work-out tank? No way was I putting that out there.

That sales guy was hilarious. He talked to us all the way out of the store, as we left, and invited us to come back and see him tomorrow.

I never did make it to the Dead Sea, but I did buy this soap at the craft fair, which was made from Dead Sea Mud.

Gotta love mud.

This was another character that we met.

 

Okay. Sorry it’s all mirror-backwards, but look how hard it is to read a receipt in Hebrew and shekels!!! If it weren’t for the numbers, we wouldn’t even know it was backwards.

That receipt was from a group dinner. Don’t worry. We didn’t spend anywhere near that much.

 

Ah! I can’t wait to go back someday.

 

P.S. I lost 3 pounds.

 

At the Dizengoff Center, a shopping mall exactly like you’d find in America, I found MY store. Yep. April is a cosmetics store.

Julie and I averaged about 9 miles a day, over 20,000 steps. We were sweat-soaked each day when we made it back to our hotel room. If you go for a week, you need to pack like 14 outfits.

By the time the trip was over, I had definitely built up my endurance. I’ve been sure to get in at LEAST 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise everyday since we got back, so this trip was a grand success, in more ways than one!

Be sure to check out my last post on Tel Aviv to learn more about this bustling city!

 

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