The “Jesus Trail” Segment 1: Nazareth –> Zippori

by Hannah

As I grew up in the US’s northeast, surrounded by woods, mountains, lakes, rivers and streams, a bit part of my life was hiking trips, camping and long-term canoe trips through the Adirondacks, Appalachians and Catskills and elsewhere.  I also recently (re-) finished reading Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods”.  It is such a wonderful pick me up book for me.  I’ve probably read it at least 6 times.  I just keep coming back to it since I first found it languishing on a “Free Books” shelf at a library in Korea.  I love it – it always feels like coming home in a life that has taken such unexpected turns toward places that look entirely different than the Northeast.  

That’s why I picked up the trail manual “Hiking the Jesus Trail” a while back while touring in Jerusalem.  I was SO excited to do this – it breaks down different hikes around Galilee into VERY manageable segments (since I’d be likely doing them myself with a 4 year old), as well as names lots of sites around each area, goes through some of the history in each place, and seems to have great pictures and maps.  

The Trail itself runs from Nazareth to Capernaum (Kfar Nehum) on the Galilee and is only abut 62 km.  It has some great views and runs through various ruins, hitting some of the towns that are mentioned in the life of Jesus, including Nazareth, Cana (site of the first miracle of turning water–>wine), old Roman roads that crisscross the area, Mt Arbel, Magdala (hometown for Mary of Magdalene – see the town name in her name), Ginosar (Gennesaret in the Bible), Tabgha (Church of the Multiplication of the Loaves and the Fishes), and finally Capernaum (Christ’s adopted hometown where he performed many miracles, including healing the Centurion’s servant, healing of a paralytic, and the driving out of a demon).  These events can be found in Matthew 8:5-13, Mark 2:1-12 & Mark 1:21-26)  Christ also regularly preached in the synagogue there, (Mark 1:21), and today there are the ruins of a second synagogue built upon the ruins of the one Christ taught in.  

This book is the Sunday plan when Daddy is working and can’t go on an “adventure” with us.  This last week and this week he’s had a big visitor here, so we haven’t really seen him, so this book filled out a day perfectly.  

If I were hiking this on my own or only with adults, I could probably plan on doing 2-3 segments a day, but starting a bit later with a 4 year old meant that I planned on doing 1 segment, POSSIBLY 2.  We decided to stick with 1 just since we planned to get a cab back to our car after walking it and wanted to see how that went and figured getting a cab to come to Zippori would be easier than trying to explain what random street we were on in Cana (the end of the 2nd segment).  Come to find out, I’m glad we only did one segment.  

I’ll include a few photos and videos below so you can see a bit of the trail that we covered.

A couple memorable moments:

  • A (very) big sweet Arab Christian guy who saw us come in and stand in the back of the packed Basilica of the Annunciation during Mass.  I explained to Ryu how the members here take the Sacrament, how they call it communion and a couple other things, we watched a bit and then left.  He followed us outside and did his best to explain in Arabic that we were welcome to come in and set in his seat.  He was so sweet about it – it actually didn’t seem inappropriate or weird at all.
  • Got lost twice – needed to walk down the side of a fairly busy road with minimal shoulder and no gutter in some places.  I was grateful for that gutter as long as we had it.  
  • Bunch of Arab guys riding their horses all over the agricultural land surrounding Zippori that we were hiking through.  They would stop here and there and chat with us, but again, amazingly it wasn’t inappropriate.  They looked like their were on their way to various picnics in the fields.  There were tons of families out there enjoying the amazing weather and time together.  
  • Took our taxi literally an HOUR to get to us after our hike and bring us back to the starting point.  Ride back – 6 minutes.  It always amazes me how quickly cars can cover ground after spending a significant amount of time walking or running.   Got a sunburn waiting for the guy, though.  And he made us pay the white-person tax or whatever you want to call it.  Fine.  Just get me to my car.  Thank you for FINALLY showing up.  

Overall, it was a great trip and Ryu was an awesome hiker – he probably walked for at least 25% of the 8.5+ miles and had an awesome attitude as always.  At one point while we were waiting for our truant taxi driver, I said “This is frustrating – it feels frustrating to wait this long for a car to show up.  I feel a little angry about it.”  He says:  “Yeah, well, ummmm…I love that it is nice outside today!”  Then he said, “I like being here with you – you know, this is a good time to talk.  Let’s talk about cars.”  lol!  Cuddle bear.  He just can’t possibly get enough hugs.  

See some of the selfie videos we took below – I’m looking forward to segment 2!  Glad that the second segment seems to be more in the open instead of in the city – we’ll see.  

Ryu loves chasing the birds that are always in a square just down the street from the Basilica of the Annunciation:

We stopped to chat a bit on video before we found the 406 steps – we were totally lost and I had given up using the map at that point.  I just began walking in the direction that felt correct and then we found where we needed to be really quick.  

Done with the steps but still not to the top of the huge hill!

Next 2 videos show the Muslim call to prayer, which was quickly followed by the Christian churches ringing their bells.  The religious groups get along pretty well here, but it always is a bit funny to hear the quick succession of religious institutions calloing at





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