Thursday, April 4, 2013

If it's Monday we must be at Masada

Our hikers getting ready to go
Our intrepid group woke up early and began the drive south to Masada.  It was  hot day and  this did not put off the many people who had decided to climb the snake path to the top of Masada.  Others took caution and rode the Cable car and I was among the latter group.  We saw another example of King Herod's building acumen on Masada and viewed another palace and ruins. Josephus Flavius the only reporter of the time tells us that instead of surrendering  to the  Romans they killed themselves as free people.
OK, I didn't take this picture but it's a good one.
After Herod's time the Zealots who were fleeing Jerusalem used Masada as a refuge and we saw how they stored water in their large cisterns and how they even farmed so they had food.  In the end

It was quite a hike and after lunch at the food court at Masada, yes it has a food court, we went on the  Dead Sea.  At the Ein Gedi Spa we were able to relax, play in the mud, rinse off with healing sulfur water and then bath in the Dead Sea.  Everyone floated as the Dead Sea is 34% salt.  It was sad to see that Dead Sea is much smaller than when I last saw it just 7 years ago.  There has been a drought in Israel for the past few years and although this year they have had lots of rain, due to the drought the Dead Sea is shrinking at the rate of 3 meters a year.  We had to take a trolley to the sea from the Spa.

Dead Sea pictures are always fun.  More from our last day of touring later today.