Registered: April 2010 Location: North Bend, WA Posts: 1,926
Journal L: At 1772 feet above sea level, this is the highest peak in the Lower Galilee Mountains. Two Christian monasteries and the Basilica of the Transfiguration stand on the summit, making it a major historical and religious destination. We drove up the steep, narrow road early so we’d have time to explore before flying. Even early in the day it was crowded with visitors both locals and tourists. Hundreds of school children milled around; many of them greeted us in English, then engaged us in typical middle-school conversation so they could practice their English. Most of them were impressively fluent.
Journal R: Although the basilica itself isn’t very old—it was built in the 1920s—this peak was the site of Crusader and Byzantine churches, and the ruins are still part of the cultural experience. When we entered the basilica a mass was in progress, so we stayed and listened; the words of the liturgy were incomprehensible, but the ritual was totally familiar. There were only about a dozen people in attendance, but the acoustics in the sunken chapel were amazing, and the singing was truly beautiful.
Since it was a cloudy morning we were in no hurry to get over to launch. We took our time wandering around the grounds, puzzling out the Latin inscriptions and passages from the Bible, reflecting yet again on how incredibly ancient this country is, and how amazing it is to be standing on the exact spots where the stories in the Bible took place.