We met at the lovely, and recently renovated, Poriya Youth Hostel on Thursday night. Schmoozed a bit and and went to bed.
After a noisy breakfast (there was a school group at the hostel), we got in the cars and drove to the Arbel National Park
Since the10th annual Arbel March, was scheduled for the same day, we had a lot of company on the first part of the trail.
Our first stop was the Carob lookout at the very edge of the cliff. We had a 360 degree view of the area, which would have been better if the visibility had been better, but we could see the sea of Galilee, Tiberias, Migdal, The Horns of Hittin, and many other sights.
We continued along the black trail which took us down the cliff using handholds built into the rocks, a little challenging, but everyone made it down in one piece.
Once at the bottom of the cliff we continued, we walked along its base towards caves that had been used at various times throughout history. During Herod's reign, Jewish rebels hid here, and were later killed by Roman soldiers that rappelled from the top of the cliff.
Our next stop was the Arbel fortress, built by Ali A-Din, a Druze leader who rebelled agains the Ottoman authorities in the 17th century. We climbed into the remains of the fortress.
When we came down from the fortress we continued along the black trail. We met some cows grazing at the base of the cliff.
After a short rest to let the group ahead of us climb up the cliff, we climbed up the cliff and returned to our starting point.
We rested for a bit and the continued to the Ancient Arbel Synagogue, for a short explanations about Synagogues before and after the Temples destruction.
The drivers went up the hill to get the cars, and once we gathered all of the hikers, we continued to our next stop, Nabi Shu'ayb. This site is one of the most important site to the Druze. We visited the site, and had an explanation about the Druze by our guide, complemented by comments form one of the Druze religious people at the site.
We returned to the youth hostel. The school group had been replaced by a family group celebrating a Bar Mitzva.
On Saturday we rested, and then made our way home after Shabbat.
Thanks to Rachel and Ephraim for organizing a great weekend on short notice, to to Itzik Koren, our guide for doing a great job.