Today was probably my favourite day in Israel so far. I got to do some of the things that were on the top of my list when I decided to come to here, including getting baptized in the Jordan River, and going on a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee. I had today off work, and was thinking of the best way to get around. The options were, find an organized tour that went exactly where I wanted to go (impossible), take the bus (if you’ve read my blog, you know why I’m against that), rent a car for the day, or hire a driver for the day. Because the roads here are insane, and I’m young so it’s hard to rent a car, I decided to hire a driver. My roommate linda knew of a driver so she set the whole thing up!
He picked me up this morning and our first stop was Yardenit, the baptismal site on the Jordan River. When I first saw the river, tears actually came to my eyes. Mostly because I had been anticipating this for so long! I got changed and went down to the water. Amer, my driver, actually came down and offered to take pictures of me. It was so cool walking in the water and going under!
Next we drove to Tiberias for a bit and I went to the Galilee Experience where they have a video explaining the history of the Galilee from before Jesus’ time until now, which was pretty interesting. I was a bit preoccupied because it was cutting it close to 11am when I had to be on my boat ride!
We left Tiberias and drove just up the road to Nof Ginosar where the boat was leaving. I was with a group called End Times Glory Ministries from the United States. The boats are designed to look like first century fishing boats. The one I went on was with Sea of Galilee Worship Boats so while we sailed, we got to listen to worship music which made it even more incredible!
This was another good reason I had a driver, we sailed from Nof Ginosar, but the ride ended in Tiberias. Luckily I was able to call Amer and he met me back in Tiberias (exactly where we had just been!) Near the end of the ride, it actually started to rain. This is the first I have seen rain in Israel. We drove BACK to Nof Ginosar for lunch. I got St. Peters fish, which is fresh fish from the Sea of Galilee thats served whole (scales, head, tail and all!) It was delicious. For dessert, they brought fresh dates and arabic coffee. I loved the dates but can’t seem to acquire a taste for the coffee.
Our last stop was HaYarden Nature Reserve, where I got to go kayaking (in a different part) of the Jordan River. The water level was really low so there wasn’t a current and I actually had to work to move the kayak! I was a really pretty ride.
Amer’s house was on the way home so he invited me over for coffee. I graciously accepted, and got to meet his wife and daughter (he is a friend of the head volunteer that I live with, not a complete stranger). We had cookies and pomegranate soda (thank goodness, not more coffee!), and then he drove me back to Nazareth.
Could not have had a better day!