about Tel Aviv, Nazareth, Sea of Galilee and The Golan Heights…
trip: Jerusalem to Tel Aviv, Tel Aviv to Nazareth, Nazareth to Sea of Galilee, Back to Jerusalem
how: by Avis rental car or the Peugeot 206 master.
miles total: 5268
We woke up the next morning and the four of us headed to Tel Aviv. We arrived shortly after 11am and we immediately went to the beach. It’s a beautiful beach… blue water, blue sky, soft sand, and WARM WARM water. We spent a few hours there, then tried to find a hostel for that night. No luck. It’s fairly expensive in Tel Aviv and we couldn’t find anything reasonable, so we decided to just sleep in the car that night, after all we did have the beach and a shower right in front of us.
Tel Aviv is nice, it’s a city. Western, urbanized, and away from a lot of then troubles you see in Jerusalem and other parts of Israel. However, it doesn’t mean that it isn’t there. It just means it’s not so evident. We walked around the old city, Jaffa, which in 1954, became part of the city of Tel Aviv. Together, they are known as Tel Aviv-Yafo. Then we went back to the beach and spent the late afternoon and evening there… swimming and watching the incredible sunset that night.
Meanwhile we had parked our car in a pain-parking area, but because of Shabbat, we didn’t have to pay. When we returned to the parking lot (after sunset) we were kindly welcomed (not) by an old man. He came over and insisted we pay for the full day of parking, 25 NIS. We told him that this parking was free because of Shabbat. Then he said that we should know nothing is free and we must pay. We again refused and said, we thought that it was free and nobody was controlling it when we came. D said that we weren’t aware of this policy and then he asked where we were from. D said Bulgaria. He then chose to respond with a completely unnecessary phrase, “oh, in Bulgaria you walk across the street and you get shot, you should be lucky to be here and just pay 25 NIS”. The argument progressed and got ugly. He was throwing accusations right, left and center, saying he would charge us double because in Bulgaria they killed Jews, and that he hates tourists in Israel, continuing to say how much Israel didn’t need any help from anyone and he just wished we would go away. He then started laughing. I kindly asked him to show some respect and stop laughing. His response, “I can do whatever I want, this is my land.” We got in the car, paid the 25 NIS and left.
We met with a really nice Israeli girl that night, who D knew from when they lived in London together. Had a chill night at the bar.
We left for Nazareth in the morning and got decided to stay at a old nunnery. It was fantastic. In the city center, very clean, hot water, and cheap. We were really excited about the hot shower. 🙂
There isn’t too much to see in Nazareth except for the Church of the Annunciation, which is quite magnificent. We saw this when we first arrived in the morning and then we headed to the Sea of Galilee. This is one of the great things of having a car, especially in this area where public transportation is rare and sometimes nonexistent. There is a lot to see around the Sea and the Golan Heights, biblically speaking. This is where Jesus performed many miracles including feeding fish and bread to 5000 people. It’s a really cool place to be and to visit. Besides the biblical side of things. the Golan Heights area has been subject to many terrorist attacks and fighting, but this time not between the Palestinians and Israelis, but the neighbors to the north, Syria and Lebanon. The area has been pretty calm since the last outbreak in 2006. The main thing in dispute here is the land, where both Syria and Israel think it is theirs. You do see some signs for land mines, but for the most part the area around the Sea is quiet for now.
The Golan Heights is a beautiful area, with meadows, hills, trees, and a fantastic view of nature that you don’t find very often in the Middle East. We spent the late afternoon swimming along the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee. Again, it was like bathwater, but refreshing nonetheless.
We headed back to Nazareth for some showers, rest, and falafel.
It was a quick trip around Israel and definitely I haven’t seen the last of this extraordinary and captivating country.
We are trying to make Nazareth to Petra tomorrow. We will see how that goes. The plan is to head out of Nazareth early in the morning, stop in Jerusalem to return the car, have a falafel close to Jaffa Gate and then catch the bus to the border, cross the border and head to Amman to get a bus down to Petra.