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And we're off - the Jesus Trail, Israel

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Fisterra
I hope this one gets better, after day one!

Got to Nazareth yesterday. There is zilch to keep anyone here in this gridlocked sprawl of a city, except for a couple of new churches and some holes in the ground, said to be where Mary may have lived, possibly, and possibly Gabriel gave her some news about baby cheeses (soveniers on sale at the entrance). The more I'm in Israel, the less religeous I'm becoming and the more cynical about the whole thing.

So, left Nazareth about 9.30am. The first 20 minutes is an uphill slog. Then the next two hours is spent walking along disgusting paths, by large rubbish dumps and fly tipping areas, building sites and general ker-rap until you get to the entrance of Zippori National Park. You could pay about 10 Euros to go in and wander around some ruins but it didn't look too promising, so decided to carry on.

The next bit is through more forest, until you get to another fly tipping area, and then the village of Mashhad. There are four or five shops here, where you could pick up lunch if you wanted. The first one is a small shop but five minutes later, you'll see quite a few more. They were all open today (a Saturday). You could hang on for more choice as Kafr Kanna is only 30 minutes past here. Kafr Kanna is a town with ATMs, restaurants, shops and anything else you need, also all open on Saturday. It's 'famous' as the place Jesus turned water into wine. I kid you not, I overheard a guide in the church built where it was supposed to have happened ask his charges after their 'tour' (which must have lasted 5 minutes as there is naff all to see, another hole in the ground, a few stone things that resemble jars etc) if they would like to drink some 'Jesus wine' from the shop opposite the church entrance, and they all dutifully followed him in. It's enough to turn you into a drunk.

Kafr Kanna is quite pretty in its own way, and I stayed at the strangely named Cana Wedding Guest House, which you find 5 minutes after entering the town. It's near all facilities, is run by a lovely old couple and has a great sun trap seating area, very welcome after the five hours including long stops I was out today. The lady will cook evening meals and breakfasts if you want, or you can use the nearby shops.

Overall, whilst walking is always nice, this section should really be avoided if at all possible. Get a bus from wherever and start your walk from here, or stay the night and start walking tomorrow. All of this wasn't a surprise. I was expecting loads of rubbish and it didn't disappoint. Tomorrow is supposed to be a big improvement, but we shall see! As far as waymarking goes, it is mostly fine so far, but a gpx trail in maps.me from wikiloc will stop you getting lost in the few places where the waymarks are less good. It is quite muddy because there has been a lot of rain. My gaters have really helped keep the mud off my trousers, and I'm using leather boots for this walk rather than walking trainers.
 

timr

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Several and counting...
@Undermanager Very happy to see a "Live from" from you! Looking forward VERY much to the remainder. It will be a couple of trips before I get to Israel/Palestine I think, but I hope eventually to follow in your wake. I would promote most of southern Italy as a contender in a fly tipping competition, after my recent walk from Rome to Brinidisi. ☹
You have been to Oviedo. Do you remember that one of the "original" six containers for the water that was turned into wine is in the Cathedral there??!!!🤭🤗🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷
 

Lucyk

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Primitivo 2015
I am sorry you didn't like Nazareth. We stayed at the Fauzi Azar inn for a few days a couple of years ago, and I found the old city charming, with amazing restaurants and very friendly people. I am also sorry you missed the Zippori national park, which has some of the best mosaics I have ever seen in situ. It might have taken away the taste of the dumps in your throat. If you get to Migdal, I highly recommend Felafel shel Migdal as a (simple) place to eat.
 

edandjoan

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
St. Gallen to Muxia
2012-2018
We walked this route in May 2014. We found the first day fine and loved the Zippori National Park. We actually bought a multi park ticket and went to several national parks during our stay in Isreal. We also stayed in the Cana Guest house with the lovely coupe. The next day we did walk through much rubbish and after that not so much. We stayed the second night at the goat farm--not such a good stay. But a lovely place in Abel was wonderful with great food. As far as "religious" I took that pretty hard. I had always wanted to walk physically near too where Jesus did. I found that the history of his travels etc are not well preserved and there is much money to be made on "this may have been" places of Jesus. I feel as close to Him just about anywhere I choose. Keep an open mind. I found the people in the country open and willing to help. Hope your walk continues to get better. We also have blog journal if you care to look and see what we did.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Fisterra
Day 2 ....

I left Kafr Kanna at 8.00am in the rain at the start of the first thunderstorm, which turned out to be a recurring theme all day long. Fortunately, I have all the right gear with me for this eventuality, and it certainly made for a muddy, fun day out, but ultimately, I was warm and dry.

The first four kms out of Kafr Kanna carried on from yesterday, with lots of flytipping areas and rubbish about. After that, things improved a lot. There was a lot of walking on muddy tracks, often a kg extra mud on each boot, through forests, ups and downs and a few scary moments as thunder and lightening arrived whilst twice out in exposed scrubland, while I was doing lightening conductor impressions. There were some great views from Karnei Hittin, too, and you start to see the Sea of Galilee from around here, aboit 20 kms from Kafr Kanna. About 9kms out from Kafr Kanna, you will come across a small cafe in the middle of nowhere, where people, soldiers etc were arriving and getting omelettes in bread rolls with lots of additions - a very welcome pitstop for breakfast, and as it turned out, the only shop on the route, although when you get near the motorway, you'll see a sign for McDonalds you could try for if desperate 500m away!

Some people stay in the Levi Kibbutz Hotel, which would take about 5 or maybe 6 hours from Kafr Kanna. I won't pay the money they are asking for a bed and shower and headed on to Arbel, and stayed in the excellent dorm in Arbel Shavit Guest House. They have a small farm as well and encourage you to pick their oranges and grapefruits off the tree - delicious! There is a small shop in this village, and it opened between 5.00 and 7.00pm, although it may open at other times. In total, I walked about eight hours and 27kms, shaving a few kms off the end by cutting out the last loop - always brilliant to have maps.me handy for shortcuts!

This would have been a bad day if I didn't have the right kit, but because I did, it was a fabulous day instead. It has actually got me thinking about the next Camino, as I really miss this kind of long distance exhilarating trek day after day. I have an outline plan for tomorrow, maybe trying to get round the Sea of Galilee by bus, but we will see. The weather forcast for the next three days is mostly sunny. At the moment, I'm the only one in the entire hostel so quite like the solitude. More tomorrow ....
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
Fisterra
Ah, apologies. I thought it was a universal term. It must be a British term, meaning dumping lorry loads of rubbish by the side of a quiet road or out-of-the-way track where you can't be seen, usually because it costs money to dispose of large amounts of trash at a rubbish dump, or someone just can't be bothered. It happens in the UK, but it was on an industrial scale along this route on day one.
 

Jim

Member
Camino(s) past & future
2006- Camino Portuguese
2008- Camino Frances
2009- Sanabres extension of the VDLP
2010- Camino Frances
2011- Camino Potuguese
2014- Camino Frances
2017- Camino Finisterre
I am sorry you didn't like Nazareth. We stayed at the Fauzi Azar inn for a few days a couple of years ago, and I found the old city charming, with amazing restaurants and very friendly people. I am also sorry you missed the Zippori national park, which has some of the best mosaics I have ever seen in situ. It might have taken away the taste of the dumps in your throat. If you get to Migdal, I highly recommend Felafel shel Migdal as a (simple) place to eat.>>


I felt the same way reading this post. I found Nazareth very charming. Went to Nazareth Village the day before I started my hike and found it enlightening to get a feel for 1st century Nazareth beforehand. I DID venture into Zippori national park. I also stayed at the Fauzi Azar Inn. You need to walk around a mile before getting to anything interesting, but they are there, mainly in the form of dig sites. There are other sites as well, and felt the need to push on to get to Cana. It’s a regret and if luck ever finds me in the Galilee again, I would take the time to explore it.
On the way out of Cana, there were more trash heaps as I made my way past the Golani Junction to Kibbutz Lavi, a jewel of a place where I had booked a night. The way out of Lavi was awesome and I took the time to explore Nebi Shu’eib and tomb of Jethro, father-in-law to Moses. Day after that, the climb down Mount Arbel was certainly a highlight. Glad that I did it as I had since suffered a fractured hip and would never again feel brave enough to take on that route!
The Jesus Trail is different from the Camino, very short— one can do it with 5 or 6 nights’ stay from beginning to end. But if properly versed on what it has to offer, one could walk away with nice understanding of life 2000 or more years ago.
 

Undermanager

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
Salvador
Primitivo
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Day 3:

An exhausing third day finished off this walk, with mixed results! I left the dorm at 8.00am, having booked a second night. It was a very wise move to not have to carry the whole rucksack all day, as it was quite sunny and warm, and there was a lot of walking and hills, and diversions.

I walked up to Mount Arbel, where you have to pay to visit the viewpoint. It was very foggy so didn't bother, but because of all the rain, the hiking paths were closed! So, back down to Arbel again, a quick look on maps.me and then followed a path down into a valley in a nature reserve, and followed a path by a stream to Hamam then Migdal. It turned out an interesting walk because there were lots of caves on the way, high valley walls and plenty of clay-like mud sticking to the boots constantly. My gaters and overtrousers were covered in mud but cleaned them down a few times when crossing the many flooded places on the stream.

It took about three hours to get to the main road, so grabbed a falafel from a cafe by the road and had to decide what to do. There was still at least 12 kms to go, and the problem was always going to be getting not just there but back again, as public transport is limited.

In the end, I carried on walking through orange and grapefruit orchards for an hour, and then a bus pulled up just as I was passing a bus stop so on I hopped. 10 minutes later, I was outside the Mount of Beatitudes. Great, except it closes between 11.30am and 2.00pm, so I left, taking a path down to Capernaum.

There are lots of potential things to see around Capernaum, but they are all spread out over about 10kms, and crazy I know, but there is no public transport. You either walk, take a tour or hire a car. So, I saw a few of the sights, St Peter's alledged village, a couple of churches, spent a few hours walking around along the Sea of Galilee and then walked back to the main highway, where I grabbed a bus to Tiberias, then another to Arbel. I got back about 5.00pm, so without taking buses, it would have been difficult to walk all of today.

Overall, it's a good short walk if you miss out the first rubbish infested day. The second and third days are good and interesting, and these could be split up further to four days if you want to splash the cash on overpriced hotels. There are plenty of things to see in and around Arbel, with plenty of hiking opportunities in local reserves, biblical sites, Tiberias and the Sea of Galilee to explore. It's not a difficult walk but can get very wet and muddy, as I found out.

All good fun!
 

Undermanager

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LOL. Thanks for this. I stayed an extra day near Arbel after finishing the trail and did some extra walks in the hills, around where Herod put down Jewish rebellions. All very interesting and perfect weather, and only a few fly tipping areas! Have four days in Jerusalem now. It's an amazing city.
 

Daniel CHIA

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francese (May 2016); Camino Portuguese (March 2017)
Hi! Thank you for the commentary! I’m planning to do the Jesus Trail in May, so this is very useful. :)
 

Undermanager

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Camino(s) past & future
Madrid (x2)
VDLP
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Glad it helps. The guesthouse in Arbel was very nice and worth basing yourself there for a few nights, as the quiet, village life is great after being in cities. They have an excellent if expensive restaurent for breakfast and dinner. The shop in the village is the saddest shop I've ever seen and should be a tourist attraction in itself, but you can pop into Tiberias for food shopping easily enough - the guesthouse can give you bus times or take a taxi - its about 15 minutes away. Definitely spend half a day walking up to Mount Arbel National Park, and there are other hikes from the village. It is not impossible to visit the sites along the north of the Sea of Gallilie using only buses and lots of walking - there are more buses once you get to the big main road from Tiberias to Mount of B, but only one bus back to Tibernias along the road from Capernaum, at 16.10. Tiberias is yet another urban dump and not worth staying in. Do avoid the first day from Nazarus - it really is disgusting all the way to Kafr Kanna. Have fun!
 

domigee

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF(x4), Fisterra/Muxía(x2), VdlP, Jerusalem, VF, Walsingham,
C inglés. 2019? Via Tolosana
Glad it helps. The guesthouse in Arbel was very nice and worth basing yourself there for a few nights, as the quiet, village life is great after being in cities. They have an excellent if expensive restaurent for breakfast and dinner. The shop in the village is the saddest shop I've ever seen and should be a tourist attraction in itself, but you can pop into Tiberias for food shopping easily enough - the guesthouse can give you bus times or take a taxi - its about 15 minutes away. Definitely spend half a day walking up to Mount Arbel National Park, and there are other hikes from the village. It is not impossible to visit the sites along the north of the Sea of Gallilie using only buses and lots of walking - there are more buses once you get to the big main road from Tiberias to Mount of B, but only one bus back to Tibernias along the road from Capernaum, at 16.10. Tiberias is yet another urban dump and not worth staying in. Do avoid the first day from Nazarus - it really is disgusting all the way to Kafr Kanna. Have fun!
All very interesting, thank you! I didn’t walk any of it, just stopped in Jerusalem. Witnessed the ‘fly-tipping’ too, in beautiful forests (all man-made) of all places!!!
Thank you for the feed-back.
 
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Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Ah, apologies. I thought it was a universal term. It must be a British term, meaning dumping lorry loads of rubbish by the side of a quiet road or out-of-the-way track where you can't be seen, usually because it costs money to dispose of large amounts of trash at a rubbish dump, or someone just can't be bothered. It happens in the UK, but it was on an industrial scale along this route on day one.
Wow, I would not have thought this was flytipping! I assumed it was going to be a swarm of flies so thick on a piece of old meat that it could be tipped over! 😛
 

Camino Chris

One step forward...
Camino(s) past & future
Frances 2015;
Norte/Primitivo 2016;
Frances 2017;
Le Puy 2018;
Portuguese/FishermanTr. 2019
Daniel, we walked in May of 2014 and you can read about our experience at: jesustrailwalk.wordpress.com
Hi Ed and Joan! I leave on April 15th for Lisbon! I have the Rota Vicentina guide book you kindly mailed to me and it has been a blessing in planning. The internet is nice, but I always like a real guidebook and enjoy writing in notes as I research. Many thanks!
 
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