Evening of Thursday 24th November.
Tony is relaxing in Nazareth, north Jerusalem. He’s been there for four nights, staying in Simsin Guesthouse – a friendly small hostel in Nazareth’s Old Town. Tony briefly explored the old city on his first afternoon, feeling the old stone walls with his hands and cane and finding many obstacles on the pavements, including parked cars, large rubbish bins, lampposts and many small bollards. Tony found his way to downtown by following the downwards gradient from the old town and asked local pedestrians as he went for directions to Mary’s Well/Mary’s Square, seeming the city centre. Once there, with help from a kind local, Tony enjoyed a meal in a nearby restaurant before retracing his steps back up the hill and eventually found his accommodation with yet more local help.
Tony has been back in Israel since 10th November. He undertook a brief visit to Jericho in the Palestinian Territory, where along with a couple of German girls he met, ascended to the top of the Mount of Temptation by cable car and climbed a series of steep steps to the Greek Orthodox Church to taste the fresh air and imagine the magnificent views! Atop this mountain is where, apparently, Satan attempted Jesus! Tony also visited and briefly swam in the Jordan River where Jesus was, allegedly, baptised. Tony stripped in the hot sun and stepped into the freezing water for a brief splash before re-ascending the wooden steps and drying off. He was accompanied by a family from Chile who were also touring Israel for several weeks.
Tony continued his travels around Israel, heading south to the small Kibbutz of Ein Gedi, where he stayed at a very basic camp lodge for a few days before first exploring the fortress desert castle of Masada and then continuing on to both Beer Sheba and going further south to the large Makhtesh Ramon crater at Mitzpe Ramon. The almost complete silence inside the crater and in the small town of Mitzpe Ramon itself was breathtaking and felt somewhat spiritual.
After one final night in Nazareth, Tony heads to the ancient Roman city of Tiberias on the banks of the Sea of Galilee for a few days before beginning his exploration of the Med coast, starting in Nahariya and ending in Tel Aviv.