Monthly Archives: June 2011

Masada & The Dead Sea

Saturday 25th June 2011

This morning we visited the ancient mountain top fortress of Masada (built by King Herod in the Judean desert), and which once saw a famous stand off by Jewish resistance fighters for over 2 years against the Roman 10th Legion, following the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD. It had a very sad ending, as it resulted in all the inhabitants eventually taking their own lives, rather than being taken into slavery.

You can walk up all the way by the “snakepath”, but we wisely decided to follow the others in our group and use the cable car – it is very, very hot on the top.

After lunch, (and lots of water to drink), at the local springs at Ein Gedi, we went to the nearby shores of the Dead Sea. The water is 33% saline, compared to the average sea composition of just 3%.

At over 1,200 feet below sea level, it is the lowest place on earth – and probably one of the hottest. We both went in for a float (you can actually read a newspaper whilst on your back) – it is too salty to really swim. Some bathers coat themselves in the mud by the shore, as it has very good medicinal properties for skin ailments. There are fortuantely showers available to wash yourself down with afterwards.

Jerusalem (& Yad Vashem)

Thursday 23rd June 2011

To day we visited Jerusalem, the capital of Israel (both old and new). Here I am standing just in front of the famous Western Wall (Kotel), dating back to the Second Temple, destroyed by the Romans back in 70 AD.

In the afternoon we were taken to the Holocaust museum, Yad Vashem. It must be the saddest place we have ever been to. To try and understand Israel, you have to visit both this places.