Travels in Israel

Travel Destinations — By on December 22, 2008 at 7:34 am

Are you interested in Israel? The Los Angeles Times just published a three-part travel series on the country, with articles on Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and the Sea of Galilee. Here is an excerpt from the piece on Galilee.

After spending a few days in Tel Aviv, I rented a car and set out with my friend … for an eight-room country inn about 60 miles north of the Sea of Galilee…

We followed the coast north, gradually leaving behind the urban sprawl that is rapidly filling in the empty spaces between Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, turning central Israel into one big metropolis. It felt good to be on the road, and I quenched my yearning for classic biblical vistas of rocky hills where shepherds kept watch over their flocks.

When we turned inland at Hadera, I got landscape — first a barren plateau around Nazareth, then lonely Mt. Tabor, thought to have been the setting for the Transfiguration of Christ described in the New Testament.

An hour or so from the coast, the highway contracted into a series of hairpin curves leading to the town of Tiberias, a hot spring resort built by Herod Antipas, the Jewish king who governed Palestine for the Roman Empire during Christ’s lifetime. While rounding a turn, I let my eyes drift past the road and suddenly saw the Sea of Galilee, seven miles wide, 13 miles long and almost 700 feet below sea level. It was a milky shade of blue that I’d swear existed nowhere else on Earth.

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