As the final day in the north, we descended into the famed Sea of Galilee region to the town of Tiberias. This city is important to both Judaism and Christianity; the Talmud was compiled here and Maimonides’ tomb resides here, as well, and Jesus preached here from his nearby town of Nazareth.
Tiberias is the largest city in this part of the country with around 40,000 residents and serves as a jumping-off point for exploring the Upper Galilee and the Golan Heights (we did it the other way around, but oh well). It is a very outdoorsy town – amid the many camping stores, everyone is either jogging along the Galilee promenade (which all my pictures of are blurry, but was a neat collection of restaurants and bars right along the water’s edge), swimming in the Sea (which is really a freshwater lake), or biking along it’s innumerable paths.
Several of us rented bikes and traveled to the southern terminus of the storied Jordan River, the site of Jesus’ baptism by the eponymous John the Baptist. Visitors to the Jordan are often underwhelmed, especially after the Bible describes it was wide and deep. We were no exception. The water, while said to be clean (it did have quite a lot of fish and plants in it, so must of been fairly clean), did not look so. It was narrow at some parts you could fairly easily wade across it. With that being said, the Jordan River of today is certainly not the one Jesus knew. 95% of the Jordan’s volume has been diverted by both Israel and Jordan.
Anyway, my stay in Tiberias capped off a weekend full of nature with just a touch of civilization. After getting a farmer’s tan, playing in the Sea (this was the first time I have been in a freshwater lake, as lakes in Florida are not safe to swim in because of alligators), and biking 30 km, we said goodbye to sleepy Tiberias.