--Há uma versão em português logo abaixo--
Oh Leandro, you did it again!!
I always promise myself that it's going to be the last time until it happens again. I'm talking about my mismanagement of travel arrangements. I've always been horrible at organizing a departure, and when it's a trip inside another trip things get even worse.
I didn't miss my flight from Athens to Tel Aviv only because it was my lucky day. Even though my flight was at 22:40, I managed to arrive late at the airport. Having so many things to do that day, I headed to the airport 3 hours later than my original optimistic plan, and thank God I was allowed to take my bike on the subway. Arriving at the airport I still had to organise my stuff and to dissemble part of the bike and pack it.
Guess what? I broke all of my records! For a flight that was scheduled to depart at 22:40 I arrived at the check-in desk at 22:15. The attendant couldn't believe that I was on the Tel Aviv flight and she said: "You are late. You are VERY late!" I was so nervous that the only thing I was able to do was laugh.
After all the procedures, I sat relieved on my window seat, and at 23:15 the plane took off for the 1 hour and 35 minutes flight to Tel Aviv.
Arriving in Israel, I slept at the airport and next day reassembled my bike and headed to Giv'atayim, a city next to Tel Aviv, where I had a CouchSurfing host waiting for me. I stayed there for three nights and during the day I went by bike to enjoy the beach and cycle around Tel Aviv.
|Bahá'í gardens - Haifa|
On leaving Giv'atayim, my plan was to go to Nazareth, but at the place I stopped to sleep, Bat Shlomo, I heard about the Bahá'í gardens in Haifa, which I thought were in Jerusalem. The next day I changed my route and headed to Haifa.
My boss in Brazil was Bahá'í, and he had a big picture of the Bahá'í gardens on the office wall. And then you can see how life is a box full of surprises and craziness, I always admired that picture but never in my mind did I imagine that one day I would have the opportunity to visit that place. Thanks crazy life - the day had arrived!
So I slept two days in Haifa, where I had CouchSurfing hosts, and I went to visit the amazing gardens (a holy place for Bahá'ís) and learned more about the Bahá'í faith.
Together with a French lady, I was helping a sister from Ivory Coast, who has been living in Nazareth for 13 years. She said that it's a small world, as not long ago she had read in a Catholic newspaper about my meeting with the Pope, and now there I was as her assistant.
After leaving Nazareth I headed to the Sea of Galilee, another special place mentioned in the Bible. It's called "Sea" but it's actually a huge lake. At this point I decided I wasn't going to use the internet or search for places to sleep, but I would camp around the lake and enjoy the silence and the experience of being in such an amazing place.
|Sea of Galilee|
I would describe my camping in Capernaum as the most special evening of this trip - nothing around, the Sea of Galilee in front lit by a wonderful full moon, and me wondering whether that was the scenario when Jesus walked on that waters.
I then camped for two days on the other side of the lake, where I only rested and swam. I completed the ride at Tiberias where I camped and spent my last day at a water park.
At that park something interesting happened. I left my bike with the security at the entrance and only took a bag with my camera. Then I asked some ladies if I could leave my bag with them while I was in the swimming pool. They agreed, and when I went to get my bag they asked me where I was from. When I said Brazil, they were surprised and immediately asked me to sit down. They gave me something to eat and told me that someone in their family was married to a Brazilian guy, who they immediately called.
|Remains of the Synagogue in Capernaum|
Leaving Beit She'an I headed to Jerusalem, camping in Mansura, Elyashiv, and Ben Shemen.
|Camping in Capernaum|
August is said to be the hottest month in Israel, and I was expecting to face very tough days, but fortunately it wasn't as hard as I'd thought. I cycled in the heat, but nothing different from what I had faced in Greece or Italy. The difference was more about roads; there aren't many options and most of the time I was cycling on fast roads or even on the highway.
On the next post I'll write about Jerusalem, since I'm still visiting the holy city.