Taking a break from lounging at the Dead Sea we jumped in the car and went looking for some adventure. We came to the sign for Masada and made a turn for it. I had been there once before two years ago when I was on a ten day tour throughout Israel. That time we had hiked up the other side instead of taking the 3 minute rail car. King Herod built the fortress on this flat piece of mountain in 30 BCE. His palace was located on the northern side. Equipped with bath house, store rooms, mikveh pools which you can still see the remains. We watched the seven minute video before taking the lift up to learn some more about the history of the place. I was shocked when they showed pictures of pottery that was found that had names written in Hebrew. The story of Masada is quite tragic. It was in the year of 73 when the, almost 1,000, people on top of Masada commit suicide rather than be taken by …
It’s not often that a person has so much space to think. When there’s nothing around to change the course of your thoughts. Nothing to do but breathe. No company but your own and the energy of the desert.
Camping at the Dead Sea sounds like a good idea, and it is… You get to wake up with sun rising over the salty sea, wade in its uninhabited waters, take in its healing powers. Yes its very nice and all, but only until the unrelenting sun is up and ready to start the day, then its a little less nice. Your skin begs you for freshwater as the salt dries it up with the help of the sun. We were lucky, next to where we slept on the beach there was fresh water streaming. And as if the sun and heat weren’t enough, killer flies were sent to finish us off. Yes camping is fun, but next time I think I’ll take the more touristy route and just go to the spa at the Dead Sea instead. Equipped with umbrella, lawn chair, icy drink, and a swimming pool to cool off my skin.
A variety of snapshots from around the city:
For my first five months here in Israel I had the pleasure of living less than a fifteen minute walk from the old city of Jaffa. My brother and I would normally venture there on the weekends. Especially when we were hungry (on Shabbat when mostly all the restaurants and grocery stores included are closed), the old city would save us with some delicious falafel or hummus. In Aaron’s case, both. 🙂 Besides the food, Jaffa is absolutely a treat to walk around! It has so much history and is so alive. Walking through its narrow stone-covered passageways I always felt transported back in time.
The West Bank My friend never came out and said, “I live in the West Bank”, so it took me by surprise when we were crossing the line over in the dark of night. Not sure how I didn’t put the two together when he said “I live on a settlement”, but in my defense I was still new to the country. So it wasn’t until we were about five minutes away when my eyes widened with (I will admit) a little bit fear but also a lot of excitement. And that is how I found myself in the West Bank, Palestinian territory.