Tag Archives: Moshav Arbel

Nothing to hold

From Jim…


We leave the Arbel Guesthouse to walk to Tabgha, Israel, continuing our hike on the 40 mile Jesus Trail.


We pass the ruins of the Roman/Byzantine Synagogue of Ancient Arbel, one of the oldest synagogues in the world. The synagogue door, carved from a massive natural limestone outcropping, still stands.


The synagogue has a view of the Arbel Valley, where, according to one Jewish tradition, the Messiah will appear.

We take the Gospel Trail through the valley rather than walk down the steep Arbel cliffs.

We encounter many cows along the trail.

There are caves in the hillsides. The ancient historian Josephus (39/40 BC) tells of Herod the Great rooting out Hasmonian rebels from these caves by lowering soldiers in baskets, killing resisters, and building fires in the cave openings. Although Herod offered terms of surrender, the rebels chose suicide. Josephus tells of one old man, father of seven children…

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Moshav Arbel to Tabgha, Israel

1/25 – So sorry I didn’t get a pic of our wonderful supper last night – we were too busy eating. Here’s a small part of what we were served for breakfast, including a baked tomato omelette, fruit, cheese, homemade bread, warm marmalade, muffins, avocado, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, olives, candied citrus, a fruit smoothie, herbal tea and coffee with whipped cream. Ate ’til we were stuffed again, and then made sandwiches for lunch. Bravo Israel!


Back on the trail, we came upon the ruins of an ancient synagogue, discovered in 1905.


We walk near the cliffs of Arbel, and can see the Sea of Galilee in the distance.


There are caves in the cliffs where bandits lived in Jesus’ time. King Herod had to send troops to get them out of the caves, so travelers could proceed unmolested.

We met a young German girl named Mieke, who was also following the Jesus Trail. She became our companion for the day.image

We also met some baby goats, out for a stroll with no one to mind them.


…some horses, up close and personal.


And, of course, some mama cows and baby cows.

We walked through groves of citrus (the grapefruit was yummy), carob, olives and bananas.



By mid-afternoon we arrived at Tabgha, which is a variation of the Greek name Heptapegon, meaning Seven Springs. We are staying at the Karei Desche Guest house and Youth Hostel, right on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee, which is not actually a sea, but a lake. There are teenagers everywhere.

There is no actual town here, just the historical sites and ruins. This is the place where Jesus fed 5000 with five loaves of bread and two fish. A church was built at the site in the 3rd century. The church was destroyed in the 5th century, and the remains excavated in the 1930s. This new church was built over the site in 1982.



A mosaic of loaves and fishes was excavated next to a large rock, believed to be the place where Jesus blessed the food. You can see the top of the exposed rock and the mosaic under the altar. image

Here’s more mosaic from the original church floor. Lots of bird images. I’m partial to mosaics…

Nearby we found Job’s Spring, a sulfuric spring of warm water that cascades into the Galilee. Job was said to live in a nearby cave and bathed in the waters of the spring to soothe his sores.

To be continued…

Ilaniya to Moshav Arbel, Israel

1/24 – Today’s hike takes us up and over the Horns of Hattin, an ancient volcano that now has two peaks that look like goat horns. Another gorgeous day.


A lot of our path this morning was “sobriety trail”, so narrow that you have to walk it one foot in front of the other. Lots of rocks.



We came across a Holocaust memorial and cemetery.



We ate lunch (goat cheese sandwiches from the farm) sitting at a brand new religious memorial with inscriptions in three languages, then made our final approach to the top.



What did we find at the top of the mountain? Cows! Wasn’t expecting that! Do you think Jesus encountered a lot of cows when he walked over these hills?




If you look in the lower right corner, you can see the memorial where we ate our lunch.


From here we can see the Sea of Galilee!


The path down the other side of the mountain was even rockier than the path up. Did Jesus really do this in sandals?



Happy to get off that mountain!


We were walking the final miles to Moshav Arbel, when a motorcycle pulled alongside us on the road. It was the son of our hosts for tonight, sent out to make sure we were okay and knew how to find the place. How nice!

We were welcomed by Sarah and Israel Shavit at their family guesthouse, given a cool drink and shown to our own detached bungalow. A long, hot shower later, I started to feel like a person again. What a long day!

We went next door at supper time, and Israel handed us each a laminated menu for Israel’s Kitchen. We got to choose our entrees, which he then prepared at a gourmet level. The lamb casserole was to die for, served with all kinds of side dishes and salads. We could have had dessert, but I was stuffed. Then he brought out Limoncello, made from the lemons in his own garden. Heaven!