[Note: For this adventure I decided to put a few videos in the post and put the pictures in a slideshow. Enjoy!]
Most of you know that Joseph and I enjoy performing random feats of lunacy together. While staying at the hotel in Jerusalem, we were reading up on the Sea of Galilee and discovered that the circumference of the Sea was 33 miles. Instantaneously we both perked up. "Hey....!"
To most people that would be just a statistic. To us it was a challenge. On Wednesday we asked the Hostel owner about it. "Ahhh, you sport-man, eh? It's a long ways - too far to walk. Take bicycle - more fun for you." We grinned like the idiotic numbskulls that we are. "We like to walk." He shrugged. "Well...ok! But tomorrow will be raining, you know."
We set out Thursday morning before 6:00. It was dark and threatening to rain. Sure enough, about 2 miles out of the city we hit a squall. It doesn't take long for the front of your pants to become soaked when you're walking into the wind. After about 15 minutes the rain quit, and to our great relief we didn't encounter any more significant precipitation for the rest of the day.
There are two ways to pull off a challenging day like this. You need to be in shape, or you need to be willing to push your pain threshold. I found myself needing to leverage both. Also, both Joseph and I brought music players along, which are almost indispensable when you're doing that much walking. Like raisins.
I've been forced to admit that most of my music doesn't cut the mustard for listening over here. It's too introspective and self-important - fine for home, but not suitable for a place where you're being confronted with thousands of years of history under every rock. A place like this drives home one's own insignificance like nothing else. Accordingly, I've found myself listening mostly to the City On A Hill compilations and the worship albums from Caedmon's Call. For every individual, the path to identity, reality, and meaning lies through the valley of insignificance.
About two-thirds of the way around we realized that we were going to be seriously sore. With characteristic doggedness we decided we might as well finish: better to be sore and victorious than sore and defeated.
Galilee isn't really designed to be walked around - it's certainly not an idyllic stroll along a nice firm beach. Most of the time we were forced to walk on the highway, but we also walked on stone paths, asphalt bike trails, concrete-encased pipelines, and, when we had no other choice, mud. Along the eastern side of the sea we dropped down to the water and traversed several rocky stretches of shoreline. We definitely experienced Galilee up-close and personal.
Joseph and I are both used to climbing and descending, but neither of us has much experience on flat ground. We both agreed that this stunt was much tougher than the Yosemite Triple Crown. The only thing that got me through the last mile was Derek Webb's "Medication."
The first half of the day was quite enjoyable. The second half - not so much. Turns out that the total distance is not 33 miles, it's 40 miles. I knew that walking that far on pavement in my Merrells was going to hurt - I just underestimated how much. It's not something I'd do again, and I wouldn't recommend it either. Jesus never bothered walking around - He was smarter: He just walked across.