We generally plan out our days with too much stuff, and then cut down as needed. On Tuesday, we decided to drive out to Nazareth (not quite 90 minutes away, but with traffic, a bit longer), and then go to Akko on the way back. Nazareth wore most of us out, and tempers were a little shorter than usual, so we enjoyed Nazareth and then came home. Today, Wednesday, is a rest day–we aren’t doing anything but laze around the house and beach. I, at least, needed a down day. (“Down” day–laundry and cooking pancakes for an hour (I miss my huge griddle) and writing blog posts and all. But it’s been SO lovely.)
Mt Tabor (considered by some to be the Mount of Transfiguration) on the left. Near Nazareth.
The road climbing up to Nazareth.
We like tunnels. Yummy likes to try to hold her breath. Or sometimes she sings. 🙂
Traffic in Israel is very interesting, to our Utah-suburbia senses. Horns are used a lot (our favorite is the VERY SECOND the light turns green, cars two and three and four behind the first car immediately start honking. It’s almost faster than light.
In this picture, this road as two lanes going our direction with a median and one lane going the other way. There’s parking on both sides, and one of the these cars is trying to do a U-turn, but then has to back up to not hit the parked cars, and there is a huge truck unloading to the right, double parked, and blocking the traffic lane. It’s…intense, and we’re driving this huge van and I’m always very grateful Bradley does most (almost all, really) of the driving.
Eva and Zee, nearing the Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazareth. We really loved the weather today–enough clouds to block the sun frequently, cool breezes, and milder temperatures. It was still warm to be wandering around steep streets, though!
LaDonna, Yummy, Em, Gee, and random tourists. Basilica of the Annunciation, Nazereth.
The Basilica is built over what Catholic tradition believes was the house of Mary, where the angel Gabriel appeared to her. St Helena, Constantine’s mother, helped found a church here perhaps as far back as 570 AD. Then a Crusader chapel was built over the Byzantine church in 1102, but this was destroyed in 1260. Smaller churches were built over the intervening centuries, but the “old” church (1730) was completely demolished in 1954 to make way for this basilica, which was finished in 1969. It is quite beautiful, and incorporates some of the Crusader walls inside.
Court of the Basilica.
Front door of the main chapel
The door of the main chapel has beautiful bas relief sculptures of events in Christ’s life.
Quick picture into the lower church. Photos were not allowed past this point in the lower church, and a sermon was being taught to a specific church group from a Spanish-speaking (I think) country. We were still allowed to go in, and the singing added a beautiful counterpoint to the marvelous room.
On the left is part of the Crusader church walls. The floors were very deceptive–they were off-set enough that my eyes thought they were steps.
Inside the lower level church, there is a cave/grotto believed to be the childhood home of Mary. It is a lovely little cave.
Staircase up to the Upper Church.
Upper church of the Basilica, looking toward the altar.
The upper level let us take pictures. 🙂
This church has the most amazing artwork on the walls–mostly mosaics–of Mary, donated and created by different countries. This is Canada’s, my favorite. It is abstract but beautiful, and seems to have been made of sculpted adobe.
Japan’s contribution–I love the gold and blue.
View near the center of the tower.
View looking toward the back of the upper church.
Brazil! With my Portuguese-speaking kiddos in front.
Hebs was especially interested in this artwork from Portugal. Last year in school they learned all about Portuguese culture, and the blue and white tiles play an important role in their art. He was able to tell me all about it, and was so excited that he saw something he recognized from school.
In the courtyard of the Basilica.
I love the use of the basalt pebbles and the limestone pebbles in the courtyard decorations.
The main tower from outside.
Cool glass artwork, courtyard of the basilica.
Sculpture of the Angel Gabriel (right) and Mary (left). There is a museum here, but it was closed (maybe permanently? We couldn’t tell). So we went on.
We then explored the Chapel of St. Joseph, traditionally held to be his workshop. It has three levels, a chapel on top, a crypt, and then a grotto at the bottom. We could see the grotto through grates and windows, but couldn’t go down there. Hebs and Momma, in the crypt of St. Joseph’s Church, Nazareth.
St Joseph’s church was built in 1914, but the crypt has a bath with plain mosaics around a black basalt stone. Some believe it is a mikvah–a ritual bath used in purification in the Jewish religion. Some think it might be an ancient baptistry. And some think it is a Byzantine winepress. Who knows?
The altar in the crypt at St. Joseph’s.
Courtyard, Basilica, as we headed back to the street. Again, I love the contrast of the black and white stones.
Ancient village ruins, protected by the church, of Nazareth from approximately the 8th C to the 17th C.
A common view of our trip. Either Bradley or I are usually the caboose, making sure everyone is getting to where we need to go. Heading to “Mary’s Well”, Nazareth.
The third thing we wanted to see in Nazareth was Mary’s well, so we trooped up many streets (okay, it wasn’t that many) to get there. Mary’s well was…sadly a bit of a letdown. There was no water, there was garbage, the trees in the courtyard around had dropped tons of fruit that squashed unpleasantly beneath your feet, and there were shops and restaurants all around. So of course we took tons of pictures.
Eva and LaDonna at Mary’s well.
The moms, at the Mother Mary well.
Eva and Bradley
Eva, Bradley, Keryn, LaDonna. Photo credit Yummy.
Keryn and LaDonna, Mary’s well. Photo credit Yummy.
And then Zee snuck up on Yummy and took a selfie.
Yummy, who is named (after a fashion) after Mary.
And then Hebs photobombed her.
Yummy at Mary’s well.
After lunch at KFC (very far from Kentucky, I tell you what), we drove home and then I crashed for a nap. While I slumbered, Dad took Eva, Gee, Yums, and Hebs to the beach. I joined them to wander around (not swim) after I woke up.
The magnificent Gee, with a beautiful sunset in the background.
Eva and Gee looking for cool seashells, between Blue Bay Beach and Ein HaTchelet Beach, Netanya.
Three of my swimmers–Yummy, Hebs, Bradley. Ein HaTchelet Beach, Netanya, Mediterranean Sea.