Sunday, December 4, 2011

Israel Adventure: Masada and the Dead Sea

On Tuesday of our trip to Israel we drove South from Jerusalem to Masada. Masada is an ancient desert mountaintop fortress. It was built by Herod as a royal residence, and later used as a place of refuge for Jewish Zealots who had fled Jerusalem after the destruction of the Temple. Click here to read more about the story of Masada and see an aerial view.

We decided to take the "snake trail" and climb to the top! It is called the snake trail because it winds back and forth, back and forth until you finally get to the top.
We're ready to go!

Can you see the trail? It's much steeper than it looks in this photo!

View from partway up the trail

Robert on the trail

There's Rebecca! We're almost to the top!
Soon after starting up the trail, I realized that I am very out of shape! I truly thought I might die on that trail! It took us about an hour to climb to the top, except for Haley, who reached the top about 20 minutes before the rest of us!
Haley at the top

Resting at the top. We were SO tired!
We felt so accomplished (and very tired) when we finally made it! After a little rest, we explored the ruins of Masada and took in the beautiful views of the desert and the Dead Sea.

Beautiful view! Dead Sea in the distance.

Inside the remains of the synagogue
We took the cable car back down the mountain, had some lunch, and drove to Mineral Beach on the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is so salty that things (and people) just float in it! All you have to do is "sit" in the water and let your feet go up, and you're floating. It was a strange experience. After we floated, we spread the black mud on our skin. The mud is full of minerals, and it made our skin very soft.
Elevation (in meters)
The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth!

Robert and the girls floating

Me and the girls floating

Black mud!
We felt very rejuvenated after our Dead Sea experience!

Coming up next...Temple Mount Sifting Project and Tower of David

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