Yesterday we got up early and hopped on a tour bus to go see some different parts of Israel. I feel so lucky that I was able to be a part of this trip; the Announce Media and Answers.com executives that planned this day were remarkable for not only planning such a great day but for getting such a great tour guide to take us through it all. We started out driving to the Masada and on the way there we stopped for camel rides. It was so wild on top of that camel. I thought it would be like a horse, but the difference is the camel has to get up and down for you to get on and then off, that was the crazy part. I really thought I was going to fall off the camel. But it was so fun, I mean how many times in your life to get the opportunity to ride a camel, I’m glad to say that I have done that. After that we got back on the bus to make the rest of the drive. We basically followed the Dead Sea coastline. Our tour guide, Lee, gave us some incredible facts about the Dead Sea, the saddest fact is that the Dead Sea is basically dying and it’s only a matter of time before it is gone complete. It is evaporating and the country of Israel is not providing any more water to it. He told us of all these hotels that built on the shore of the beach and they are now 20 miles away from the Dead Sea. It is very sad.
The drive was very beautiful and then we got to Masada. You can hike up the mountain but since we were on a time crunch we took the cable car. Masada was an incredible place. King Herod built it as one of his palaces, and then there is the famous story about how the Romans attacked the Jews at Masada and when the Romans finally broke the wall and let the Jews sweat it out that night. The Jews decided they would rather die then become captives of the Romans, so they all killed themselves. Check out the wikipedia page it is an amazing story and our tour guide told it so well. It is incredibly hot on that mountain but thankful for my sunscreen both Michael and I were able to leave without a sun burn. The palace is in wonderful shape considering its 2000 years old. We could see some of the original plaster on the walls, the flooring, and even some water pots. They were very smart in how they collected and stored water which they had to be once you get on the mountain I don’t figure it’s easy to come down when you need a little water.
After we explored Masada for a few hours we left the mountain and had a picnic lunch by the Dead Sea then it was time to get in the water. What a crazy experience to literally float in the water. I can’t describe how wild it was. The water put like a film on your skin because of all the salt and minerals. Lee told us that because of all the Magnesium and Oxide in the air you don’t have to put on sunscreen. The sea itself is a natural barrier to the suns rays (I still put on a little extra SPF just in case). In the water there were rocks that were just covered in salt. We don’t have any pictures of us in the water because well we were in the water, but there were some guys that didn’t get in so I’m hoping to get some of those photos. I have never experienced anything like that, it was so cool. The beach was very rocky and it was kind of tricky to get to the water there isn’t a great “beach” anymore because so much has evaporated what was the bottom of the sea is now the beach. Pretty sad to think we won’t have a Dead Sea some day to float in, I’m so happy and so blessed that I got to be one of the people who experienced that.
Once we had gone floating for a bit, Lee took us to the En Gedi Nature Reserve for a little hiking and swimming in the waterfalls. I had no idea how far it would be to get to the waterfall for some swimming, but man we had to work to get there. We were all still in our bathing suits with water shoes on, not really the best for climbing up rocky stairs and dirt paths, but it was totally worth it once we finally got there. It was this beautiful natural waterfall. After the salt of the Dead Sea it felt so good to get into some fresh water. I had never gone into a waterfall before, it was so neat. The water felt great, not too cold and the waterfall was like a massage. Amazing. We swam there for awhile before having to head out and head back to the Inbal hotel. The plan was to go to the Western Wall to bring in Shabbat but it had been such a long day we decided to stay put and get ready for Shabbat dinner.
We finished our amazing tour day with a group dinner at the Inbal Hotel to celebrate Shabbat. It was interesting to get to hear about the customs and to hear the blessings associated with Shabbat. I always knew about some of these jewish traditions but it has been a really unique and pretty cool experience to actually live these experiences and have someone explain why they do what they do and where these traditions came from.
It was a day that I know I will never forget and luckily we have pictures so you can see and get a taste of what our day was like gallery.me.com/robinflynn1