Day 7: Ein Gedi (the oasis in the Judean Desert where David found refreshment); Camel rides at sea level; Masada (the fortress built by Herod the Great, later utilized by the Jewish zealots to fend off the Romans for three years. Masada pictures will have a separate post); The Dead Sea.
This post will contain only pictures from Masada and the Dead Sea.
Nine members of our group decided to hike up Masada rather than to ride the cable car - all six of the Hamiltons (I was planning to ride up, but I was determined not to be the only Hamilton who didn’t climb), Sam & Tim Wolkowicz, and Andrew Hemingway. There is a serpentine path, aptly named the Snake Path which winds it’s way up to Masada. Our guide, Shimon, has climbed Masada in 14 minutes with the army. From our group, Ben finished first in about 20 minutes, and I came in dead last in about 35 minutes.
This is Ben, Meredith, and Evan beginning the ascent up to Masada via the Snake Path.
This is the view of the Dead Sea and Judean Valley from halfway up the Snake Path.
Looking down on the last part of the Snake Path from the top of Masada.
Ben and Andrea at the top of Masada.
This is a model of King Herod’s fortress on Masada. His palace, private bathhouse, and terrace were on the side of the cliff. The top of Masada housed the many granaries and store rooms and also served as a place to grow crops. Because of the numerous water cisterns and the dozens of large storerooms, Masada was invincible to siege for a very long time.
The Israeli flag blowing in the wind on Masada.
The Judean Desert from the North side of Masada.
This view shows just a few of the large granaries and storerooms.
The Jewish zealots held Masada from the Roman legion after the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. When it was apparent that they could not win, they chose to kill their families and then themselves rather than be taken as slaves. This is a plaque showing the ten lots that were drawn with the names of the men who would kill each other before the last one committed suicide. They chose murder over suicide, thus leaving only one man to lose his life in the shame of suicide.
The large square in the center of the picture marks one of the camps used by the Romans as they laid siege to Masada. The area marked off at the upper left-hand corner would have been the General’s camp.
Ben on top of Masada.
Just one of many large cisterns that provided water on Masada. Inside is a pile of catapult stones that landed in the cistern, shot from the Roman camp below.
Our group on Masada. Back row: John Neiner, Andrew Hemingway, Evan, Dad/Jim, Ben, Joe Walkowicz, Sam Walkowicz, Pastor Neiner, Pat Scott, Pastor Baumgartner. Front row: Tim Wolkowicz, Meredith, Sissy/Mom, Sharon Scott, Rich Kirby.
The Dead Sea. Our hotel in Jerusalem had a sister hotel at the Dead Sea. We were allowed to use the spa there. Several members of our group went swimming in the Dead Sea. It was too cold outside for me, so Ben and I used the pool under the hotel. It is Dead Sea water, so we were still able to float. The salt and minerals allowed you to feel every scrape and cut and boo-boo on your body.
We were very tired at the end of the day, and many of us slept on the bus ride back to Jerusalem.