After breakfast we drove over to Nazareth Village, a small living history project (similar to Plymouth Plantation in New England) intended to show what life would have been like in Nazareth during the time of Christ.
As a tradesman myself, I have always been interested in learning more about Christ's occupation. According to our tour guide, the Greek word dicton means "builder," and since there was little to no specialization in those days, a dicton would have worked with both wood and stone.
Outside it was raining in earnest, so we had to hurry across the wet dirt paths to the shelter of the Olive Press and Synagogue. Apparently the ancient villagers used to observe the routes the donkeys took up and down the hillsides, and then enlarge these thin trails into paths and streets, taking advantage of the donkey's instinctive knack for finding the quickest and easiest way from point A to point B. To this day, there are streets in Nazareth that began as donkey trails.
Harvested olives would first be crushed in an olive mill. Once they were reduced to paste, the olives would be put in baskets and pressed several times. The first press was done using the weight of the baskets alone and produced the purest oil, which was set aside for temple use. After the first press the olives would be pressed a second and third time using stone weights like these pictured above.
Every building, jar, and rug in Nazareth Village is handmade, using the same tools and materials they used 2,000 years ago. When you visit, make sure and allow time to enjoy the gift shop.
From Nazareth Village we drove to Tiberias, on the Sea of Galilee. We checked into the Tiberias Hostel and got some tips from the proprietor about what to do in the area. In the course of the conversation he mentioned there were a bunch of crocodiles near the Northeast shore somewhere, but this time of year they would all be hibernating:
They fed them their last meal several months ago - maybe 10-12 chickens... they won't wake up until March... April... I don't know.
The Hostel owner also told us about a certain bench on the Eastern shore that was reported to have some kind of mystical power:
You sit on it, and you feel some energy... some warmth... I don't know.... if you believe it, good for you. Me - I don't believe it, I just tell you about it.
Armed with maps and forewarned about hibernating crocodiles and magic benches, we left the Hostel to drive around the Sea, planning a stop at the Yigal Alon Museum to see the Galilee Boat.
The Galilee Boat, amazingly preserved remains of a fishing vessel that has been carbon dated to the time of Christ, is one of the most fascinating things to see in Galilee. The 27-foot boat was discovered by local fishermen in 1986 during a drought year when the Sea was low, and after a painstaking excavation and conservation process has been put on public display.
Archaeologists identified 12 different species of wood in the Galilee Boat. The exterior cladding is mainly Cedar, and the interior ribbing is predominantly Tabor Oak. The other woods are Christ Thorn, Carob, Aleppo Pine, Hawthorn, Sycamore, Laurel, Willow, Judas Tree, Plane Tree, and Atlantic Terebinth. Some of the wood had been salvaged from other vessels.
After completing the loop around the Sea we went into Tiberias to get some dinner and do some shopping. During our time in Galilee, dinner usually meant mushroom pizza. It was affordable, predictable, and actually tasted pretty good to boot.
We're planning two more full days in Galilee before it's time to head South, and we're hoping the weather improves a little. We'll see.
Shalom and Good Night!