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Holy Land

October 2013

Before heading back to the States, the last stop on my trip round the world was a pilgrimage to Israel to see the Holy Land’s sites as well as other interesting secular spots. Since I came directly from an African Safari (and Europe before that) I did not have much chance for spiritual preparation, so I did not get as much out of the trip as perhaps I could have. My information sources were mostly tourist guides, so I did not have a great resource for tying Bible passages to the holy sites. Still, I made the most of it and grew from the experience.

View all the pictures from this trip


October 2013

Jesus Trail

Jesus Trail patch

To combine my Holy Land visit and love of hiking, I undertook the Jesus Trail. This is an approximately forty mile route from Nazareth to Capernaum, following routes and visit places Jesus may have been. It is inspired from Matthew 4:13:

Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake

I kept a daily trip report from my walk, which you can read:

Day 1: Nazareth to Lavi Forest
Day 2: Lavi Forest to Migdal
Day 3: Migdal to the Jordan River

My overall impressions of the trail were mixed. I have always hiked primarily to experience nature, and have never done a “history” hike before. So although there were several scenic points along the trail, it was mostly about visiting the places of Jesus. I do not see much value in the mere fact of visiting a shrine, but reading Bible passages where they may really have occurred was moving. All the Biblical spots the trail touches can be reached easily through regular bus tours, but I am glad I walked between the places and had time to reflect.

I do not think I could recommend this walk to a non Christian hiker. I only found the sites captivating from my Christian point of view, but perhaps others would enjoy it as well. There were several scenic spots, but the scenery was not the best, lots of road walking is involved with heaps of trash alongside. I considered this more of a walk than a hike. I cannot exactly explain the difference, but there was little actual trail to walk on, as it was mostly a route connecting dirt roads between the cities.

I used the official Jesus Trail Guidebook for my planning and logistics. The book was decent, although had way too many pages and glossy photos for a book that I carried with me on the trail. The trail is only forty miles long, and the nuts and bolts hiking info could probably have easily fit into a dozen pages. You cannot really sell a book that short though, so some filler had to be added. Some of the extra information was interesting and worthwhile, but something smaller to carry on trail would have been appreciated. The trail was marked with a lot of painted blazes, but I still thankful for the enclosed maps and a GPS with track data.