For four nights we stayed at the Pilger Haus on the Sea of Galilee right next to the Church of the Multiplication and the Mt. of Beatitudes.
Pilger Haus, established by a German man in the late 1800s, was an excellent location and I can't recommend it enough. Here's a little video clip from YouTube about the Tabgha area.
This is a photo of Mary Lou, my travel mate, and I after we had filled our plastic bottles with water from the Galilee. This beach is on the Pilgerhaus property. We filled our bottles at the Jordan River, too, where Mary Lou almost fell in because the ground was so muddy. It had rained the day before.
Another of the touristy things to do is go out on a boat on the Sea of Galilee. My nephew Ted reported that the priest on his pilgrimage said mass on the boat, but we watched one of the "sailors" cast a net; he didn't catch anything, by the way. I'm hunting for some small vials now to transfer the water into so I can share it with friends and family.
The Sea of Galilee area is so beautiful and there were so many pilgrimage sites to see--and pilgrims seeing them. I'm having little brain snapshots as I begin to debrief the trip. Some of them match photos I took. My style is to always record the story or the metaphor behind what I am photographing. I watched a young priest say mass outdoors overlooking the Galilee; he was all by himself. Our priest, Fr. Ray, said mass after him in the same spot. Here is the young priest, unaware here and below, that I was taking photos.
Later, when we toured the Church of Multiplication (loaves and fishes), I tried to speak to him to say thanks but he mentioned four languages he spoke, but not English. I later saw him at the edge of the Galilee deep in thought.
I keep trying to explain to people, when asked, what the trip turned out to mean to me. I find that I can't stay focused for very long, although the sorting of photos helps. It was spiritual, but it was far more than that. Like all my travels, particularly when I leave the U.S., it has made me more aware of "No Man is an Island." I get so bogged down in my own culture and my own life that I forget to stand outside of it to feel the interconnectedness.
I'll begin interspersing Israel memories and photos along with every day life back in Redondo Beach and Palos Verdes beginning tomorrow as I attempt to re-integrate. I still feel like I'm in two, if not 500, places at a time right now.