Sunday, March 02, 2014

Blogging from the Holy Land, Part 7

Today was an optional day: Masada, Qumran, and the Dead Sea.  We all opted in.

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:
When we had seen all the wildlife there was to see, we headed for Masada.  You can 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!

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