Israel Day Trip #2

Trip Start Dec 01, 2011
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178
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Trip End Jan 20, 2013


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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ein Geddi

 

Ein Geddi is a nature reserve.  One side of the road is wild and open with wildlife.  The other side is public to bathing in the Dead Sea.  Ein Geddi had some mountain goats that I had never seen before.  It was pretty cool.  Their horns were nearly 2-3 feet long on some of them and I found it interesting how they somehow climbed in the trees to get better leaves to eat.  I have no clue how goats climb in trees.  They are not monkeys and have no hands.  This side of the road is more or less a desert.  The Judean Desert is over here and the other side is the Dead Sea.  Swimming in the Dead Sea is one of the coolest experiences I have ever had (or should I say floating?).  The salt is very thick here.  You can see the salt building up on the rocks on shore and it is also very visible in the water.  The rocks in the water have built up salt and it is extremely sharp and can cut the feet, so they say you are supposed to walk in the water deep enough to sit, then lean back.  If you kick off the rocks, you will cut your feet.  I was quite surprised when I leaned back.  You really do float on the water.  You could possibly fall asleep
and not drown.  I’m not really sure if there is a lifeguard on duty here because you can’t sink.  We floated around this sea for about 45 minutes.  It was very enjoyable.  You are not supposed to get the water in your eyes here.  It can damage your vision very badly. 

 

Masada

 

Masada is an old fortress of King Herrod.  It is a 2 KM hike or 5 minute cable car ride from the bottom of the National Park.  We were here for a couple hours.  We climbed up the 700 step mountain to get to the top.  It was a good hike and gave us great exercise and the day was not cold at all, which was nice for being nearly Christmas time.  King Herrod had many fortresses back in the day.  Yesterday, we saw one in Herodion near Jerusalem, but it was not so impressive.  We saw this one today and I was more impressed with the view than the palace
at the top.  The view had the Judean Desert on one side and the Dead Sea on the other.  There was no doubt that this was an amazing place 2,000 years ago, but it has now been badly deteriorated.  It does still have the typical bathhouses, courtyards and dining halls. 

 

Qumran

 

Some ruins that had the typical courtyards, bathhouses and shops for making pots etc…  This site was famous for writing and making pots.  The pots contained a lot of scrolls and apparently the last known version of the bible was found here called the Dead Sea Scrolls.  The Dead Sea Scrolls are not here anymore and are in a museum in Jerusalem.  You can see the cave where the scrolls were found.  There are many small caves in this area where many artifacts were
found.  Apparently there were thousands and thousands of artifacts found in this area.  
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