February 24 (Sat) 1945, Palestine [Part 3]

Wednesday morning we were dragged out of bed early & went by bus to Nazareth and the Sea of Galilee, calling at Jacob’s Well, on the way. This well has been in use for some thousands of years & is still as good as new. At Nazareth we investigated a couple of churches and the EFI [Expeditionary Force Institutes] Canteen. At Galilee we picnicked beside the lake & later swam in hot springs. On the way back our driver lost the way and ran into a spot of flooded road. This provided a glorious opportunity for back seat driving, cat-calls & what-not. We got back only an hour late which wasn’t too bad.

Thursday morning we saw the Temple area in the old city [of Jerusalem]. This is controlled by the Muslims & I think their new mosque [Abdeen Mosque, 1939] is the finest modern building I have ever seen. The area is something of a shambles still, as before the Romans left, they sowed salt everywhere.

In the afternoon we took a bus to Jericho. There was not much of that but we were forced to look at it for much longer than scheduled as our bus broke down. We got a lift in another to the Dead Sea, & after hanging round there for an hour or so after swimming & tea a relief bus arrived to return us to Jerusalem.

The next morning we took things easily, & wandered round the Old City, doing some souvenir buying.  Friday afternoon we caught a train to Lydda & so made our way back to Alexandria. This trip took less than 24 hours, which was an improvement. Arrived back on board in time for lunch on Saturday, thus ending a very pleasant week.

Modern Jerusalem is much preferable to Alexandria, being a very clean if rather small city. Food is short in Palestine but we did pretty well, mutton being our usual bill of fare.

On return to the ship, we discovered it had been wound to enable the floating crane to install the new port tubes. This proved quite a complicated job but was successfully completed after a hard struggle. HMS Nubian is still secured alongside.


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