Capernaum, Tiberias and Nazareth
Left Safed at 7 a.m., and, in 3 hrs, stopped for rest on ancient site of Capernaum. We descended all the way, excepting one short ascent, and, by the time we stopped, we had come down some 2000 ft, the Sea of Galilee being some 570 ft lower than the Mediterranean.
Capernaum, as shown to us, is a round hill covered with ?looses stones, and some in places around; but nothing in the shape of a wall or building is to be seen. Part of them went ¾ hr up lake to see Chorazin: I did not; but enjoyed a glorious bathe in the lake. It cooled and refreshed one much.
After swim, had a good feed on blackberries, which are plentiful all round - also wild sage and mint, and many other green plants and flower shrubs. The margin of the lake is pebbles, shingle, and sand, and generally pleasant. The lake is 15 miles long by 7 miles broad, and can he seen nearly all over from places on shore - the atmosphere is so clear.
The East side is boldest and most abrupt. The cliffs are said to be 2000 ft high; but certainly don't look it. The elevation of cliffs is even over greater portion; but less on North and South. The West side appears more varied; but not so bold. The general effect is a fine view; but not very beautiful. In evening and morning lights it might be so; but in daylight the hills are too naked, bald, and uniform for good effect.
We were shown in the distance the country of Gadarenes - East side - Gerasenes - South East - and Bethsaida, not of Galilee, on North East. Bethsaida of Galilee, a little North of Capernaum.
Our ride to Tiberlas in afternoon was along shore of lake. Tiberias is walled all round; but has a tumble-down, dirty appearance. Had an hour's sail on lake; but was too tired to enjoy it much. Mount Hermon stands very boldly in view, about due North.
Mr Blake and self caught a cameleon, a lively little creature. He became darker after we took him in hand; but we saw no other change of colour. Floyd says he has seen them change into several colours.
I find that solitude is best to realize the great events that have been enacted here; but, on the whole this has been the pleasantest day in the Holy Land.
On horseback at 7 a.m.; but, before commencing journey, went up lake ½ mile to see a hot sulphur spring, and bath built over it by German doctor. Left camp about ½ 7, and went through town of Tiberias, a dusty, miserable place - good number of Jews in it - all look miserable and cadaverous, and wear either a long coil or lock of hair down each side of face. Our way was all ascending and, about 1 hr from town, is the Hill of Beatitudes, which some of us visited. There are plenty of places about where a large congregation could cluster round a speaker.
We lunched at Cana of Galilee, a fairly miserable village. A chapel shown where, 'tis said, Christ made water into wine. Two of the jars are also to be seen, and they may be same kind. They are made of stone, shaped like half an egg and will hold abt. 20 gallons.
1½ hours brought us to Nazareth; but, before entering, went on high hill, on side of which 'tis built, and got a splendid view. On West Mt Carmel, 18 m. long, 5 broad. Acre and Mediterranean Sea to North, Hills of Naphtali and Mt Hermon just visible; East by South, Mt Tabor, Jordan, and hills of Gilead. On South, hills of Gilboa, city of Nain, plain of Esdraelon; with city of Jezreel, and, South to West, mountains of Samaria - very extensive and interesting prospect. Nazareth is the best-looking place here seen in the land: and, no doubt, owes its pre-eminence as much to the 3 Missions established here and in the vicinity - schools for girls - Edinburgh and Medical and Episcopalian - as to the interesting nature of its history. Went to see Chapel of Annunciation, where angel appeared to Mary, and grotto attached (called her kitchen), also Joseph's workshop (also a Chapel) both in hands of Latins. The Greeks, however, claim to have proper site of former, at North of town. There is a small fountain, over which a portico is built; all the time we were there, girls and women covered it with their jars, waiting for turns to get the water.