Today is our first full day here in Israel on what will be a wonderfully long 7 week vacation. Since it isn't our first trip we are aiming this time to "fill in gaps".
Waking early this morning gave us a beautiful picture of dawn breaking in glorious splendour over the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee). We were glad to have splurged a little to get a room that has a great view of the lake.
We didn't plan to do a lot today because we are still tired from the long 31 hours of travel it took to get here, and sadly my walking ability isn't too good at the moment so I have to take things slowly at the moment.
After a slow start we took a taxi to Hamat Teverya National Park. It is a small site where hot springs spurt out of ground. It was surprising to find how hot - the brochure says 60 deg Celsius (that's about 140 deg. fahrenheit). The highlights were some nice mosaics in ancient synagogues there, the remains of a Roman Bathhouse, and also a bathhouse dating to 1870. The one thing I found puzzling was the content of one of the mosaics in the synagogue - a large wheel of the zodiac surrounding the image of Helios, the sun god. We were thankful there were places we could shelter as showers came through
We caught a taxi back into Tiberias and went to the Dona Gracia Museum. This is located in a hotel in Tiberias. Dona Gracia was a remarkable lady who used her wealth to save many Jewish people from the Spanish Inquisition. The building is castle-like with halls which tell her story. Just seeing the way some of the rooms looked was interesting but sadly this place is better for those who speak Hebrew. There is a guide who does tours in Hebrew but not in English. We could appreciate the furnishings and decor etc and there were some written explanations in English, but we could overhear one of the tours and it as clear we were missing out on a lot of information.
We then spent a pleasant time exploring some of the streets and shops in Tiberias, and enjoyed sipping our afternoon coffee on the promenade along the lakes edge. :)
We have a very full day planned for tomorrow so this was enough for us today while we are still getting over jetlag.