Friday, February 19, 2010

Visit to the western shore of the Sea of Galilee and more

On Tuesday Sophie found three new "homes": one in Tiberias, one in Bet She'an and one in Afula.

I had never been to those cities before and it really is nice to discover new places. I know I said it before but it is really really nice!

Tiberias is only a couple of hours from Tel-aviv. It is not that distant but due to the size of the country, mentionning you are driving to Tiberias seems like we are travelling very far. The roads are great and it is no worry at all to get there. Tiberias is one of the four Jewish Holy cities, and the capital of the Galilee. It is a touristic city located more than 600 feet- 183 meters below sea level, it has 17 natural mineral hot springs and sits along the 32-mile shoreline of the Sea of Galilee. The sea is actually a lake and you cannot live in this country without knowing that the Kinneret ( Israeli name -- this was the name of a city on the northwestern edge of the lake during the Canaanite and Israelite periods) is a huge benchmark for water level in the country.The Kinneret, Israel's largest non-underground water reservoir, is at its lowest level since 2001 and every drop of rain is recorded and mentionned in the news, all hoping it will fill up during the winter rainy season. The city was named Tiberias in honor of the Roman Emperor Tiberius.
Pilgrims come to Tiberias because many of Jesus's miracles are said to have occurred there including his walking on water, calming a storm, and his feeding five thousand people. As Christianity took hold, many churches were built in Tiberias and its surroundings. Again I had no time to discover the city, the market, the shores but I had time to eat a pita with falafel, the "Israeli sandwich". I understand there are many archaeological Digs and excavations in the area for those interested in the past. Well our "old-but-so fresh" Sophie The Giraffe is now available in a store called "Piztkale Dandush" and I hope all Tiberias Babies will get to meet her!

After Tiberias we drove along the shore of the Kinneret to Bet She'an. The road was quite scenic, quite green, a bit "foggy" ( due to the humidity?)  but very beautiful and tranquil. I suppose in clear weather the panorama must be astonishing! Along the road you can see indications of various archaeological excavations , a testimony of a rich history, dating back to biblical times. Bet She'an's name is believed to derive from the early Canaanite "house of tranquility". The name fits today's city and even Shlomit who is "hosting" Sophie in her store "Yon-Yon" in Bet She'an's mall is an image of tranquility and soft strength. Again I wish her and Sophie lots of success!

And last but not least, we went to Afula, often known as the "Capital of the Valley", referring to the Jezreel Valley and a city famous for its "garinim" (all kinds of freshly roasted seeds, sunflowers, pumpkins, etc.). Eating "Garinim" is very Israeli. It is an "art" in itself that I can't even fathom. When you will be able to crack the shell open with your teeth, extract the seeds and spit out the shells in a split second, you can say you have adapted to the country! ^__^
So Sophie is also in Afula and according to Nadav of the store "tinokim", it will be a challenge to make her succeed. Afula residents work hard and will have a hard time spending so much on an organic teether they have never heard of. Well we will have to find a way to convince them that it is not money wasted, won't we?

And that concludes this week's discovery minute ^__^  I hope you enjoyed it a little bit?

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