The Sea of Galilee, Israel, at an elevation of 211 meters below sea level is the second lowest placed water body in the world - the first spot goes to Dead Sea, also in Israel. But, the Galilee sea gets the distinction of being the lowest fresh water lake as the Dead sea water is (very) salty.

It must be evident to you by now that I’m at Israel on work, and in my spare time I’m doing what I do best – travel photography! Two weeks back we (me and two colleagues) went on a two day trip to Tiberias city located on the banks of Galilee Sea (a.k.a. Lake Tiberias). We started from our apartment at Ra’anana at 08:00, took a direct bus to Tiberias (approx 130kms) and reached at 11:00.

The Sea of Galilee is surrounded on most sides by mountains, so as we approached Tiberias from higher grounds the huge greenish Lake in contrast to its surroundings was a sight to behold. The lake looked definitely bigger than the the 60km diameter it’s supposed to be. I loved the sloping hillside with houses and the pristine lake at the city’s doorstep.

Sea of Galilee - view from Hamat Tiberias

First thing we did was to check-in at Panorama Hotel. The hotel was located very near to the lake but not a lake-front. We managed to find a room with a nice view. The room’s dimensions should get a special mention here – it was wide enough to accommodate three single beds placed next to each other and long enough to just get onto the beds, and with a small (but tidy) bathroom.

Sea of Galilee - view from Hotel Panorama

Before lunch we did some Sightseeing at the waterfront. The place had a deserted look, guess it wasn’t the right time to visit this part of the country. We lunched at a restaurant called ‘little Tiberias’, on a recommendation from our housekeeper back in Ra’anana. I relished the fresh St Peter’s fish with some excellent locally produced wine.

After the very enjoyable and leisurely lunch we crowded back to our tiny room. Later, at around 3 PM we rented bi-cycles to explore places around the lake and cycled to a place called Hamat Tiberias – about 3 km away. There were good views on offer as it was located on a higher elevation but the place was closed on account of Shabbat (Jewish day of rest). After aping around for sometime we decided to go further to explore the lakeside.

Stone skipping at Sea of GalileeAll this while there was a thought, actually a challenge, running through my head – “A circle around the Sea of Galilee is 60 kms, I can do that in 5 hrs max on this cycle, should try it tomorrow; could leave the apartment by 5:30 am and be back at 10:30 am.” And, there were doubts too – “what about the chill, temperatures can be below 10 deg C, have jackets but what about gloves, and the trousers, and what about logistics if something happens to the cycle”. I didn’t proceed with this crazy endeavor, thanks to my cycle front tyre getting a flat right then. What happened then was a 5 km long walk, towing the cycle along, putting to rest my adventure instinct and bringing me back to ground reality.

On the way back we had a stopover at another view point where I set up my camera to take time-lapse photographs of the fading light on Tiberias city. As usual we also did some Stone skipping. The lake was just gorgeous during sunset.

Tiberias city - Sea of Galilee

Due to Shabbat, the city of Tiberias had a deserted look and we soon ran out of things to do/see in the almost dead city. We had dinner at a restaurant called Big Ben, the food was pretty good and the best part is that its open 24/7, which is boon during Shabbat . Owing to the very heavy lunch – St Peter’s fish – had a light dinner. We hit the bed early.

Empty city due to Shabbat

Shabbat (Hebrew: שַׁבָּת‎, “rest” or “cessation”) or Shabbos (Yiddish: שאבּעס) is the Jewish day of rest and seventh day of the week, on which religious Jews remember the Biblical creation of the heavens and the earth in six days and the Exodus of the Hebrews, and look forward to a future Messianic Age. Shabbat observance entails refraining from work activities, often with great rigor, and engaging in restful activities to honor the day.

The next day I woke up early to catch the sunrise. Walked through some empty streets to soak in the views of the city, but with no soul around it wasn’t the same, so came back and slept in. The day re-started at 10:00. Checked out of the Panorama Hotel at 11:00. Brunched at Big Ben. Roamed around the lake side which was the only place with few people roaming around in an otherwise dead city.
Sea of Galilee - Boat tours
Photos, Photos and more photos later we ran out of things to do and decided to take a Sherut (shared taxi) to Tel Aviv at 12:45, rather than wait for the buses to start at 16:00. The wait for a Sherut to arrive was rather frustrating and once it finally arrived at 14:00 the wait for it to fill the 10 passengers to move even more so. Finally reached Tel Aviv at 16:30 and took the first bus out of Tel Aviv to Ra’anana to be back home by 17:45.

Categories: Israel

Anoop Hullenahalli

An Electronics Engineer working on wireless embedded systems for a living. Traveling, photographing and sharing my experiences here at ANUBIMB helps me unwind and break the monotony of life.

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