On the way to Masada, our guide, Munzer, insisted on a detour to Ein Gedi to see the ibexes and the hyraxes. I have never seen or heard a grown man so excited about wildlife. But here's a hyrax:
read more about it, because it's far more complicated that I have time, space, or brain power to explain. It's essentially the Mother of All Herodian Palaces that then became important in the Jewish Revolt. It's also a bear to climb, but I did it anyway because it was there.
Since I climbed instead of listening to the lecture I missed a great deal of the historical significance, but I needed the climb for my mental health. Here are some other pictures that I took, though:
When we finished at Masada we spent some time in Qumran. It's right on the Dead Sea with lots of caves for hiding, so overall a good choice for the Qumran community. Here's Cave #4
We ended our day at the Dead Sea, coating ourselves in black mud and floating around, but NOT DRINKING THE WATER! Eight ounces of Dead Sea water can kill you. It's a nice float, but not someplace I'd need to stay all day. Definitely worth the trip, though. After a shower and dinner it was time for bed!