Masada and the Dead Sea
On Thursday we took a trip to Masada and the Dead Sea. Masada and the Dead Sea are located in the Southern part of Israel. But before I talk about them, I want to start with our bus ride down there.
To get to Masada we drove right next to, and even through at some points, the West Bank. I want to share some of the photos I took from the bus on the way down.
These are apartment buildings that were being financed by the Saudi government for Arab-Israelis and Palestinians living in Israel. The project was stopped and now they sit vacant, like a ghost town:
This is the wall that divides the West Bank from Israel:
This – at the top of the hill – is one of the Jewish settlements in the West Bank:
And this is an example of a lot of the makeshift shacks that we saw along the way that Palestinians are living in:
With the social aspects of the post done, we get to the fun stuff. We arrived first at Masada. Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judaean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea. Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada. According to Josephus, the Siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire towards the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of the 960 Sicarri rebels and their families hiding there.
We got there too late in the day to hike up the mountain, although there were some extremely dedicated people still hiking in the heat. We took a shuttle car to the top. The view was amazing. We could see out over the Dead Sea to the mountains that mark the border with Jordan.
After Masada we made our way back to the Dead Sea. We stopped briefly to see the factory that the Dead Sea minerals are extracted at and put into the different beauty products that they sell.
Once at the Dead Sea we all changed into our bathing suits. There were a crazy amount of people on the beach. The rocks on the beach were so hot that I burned the bottom of my feet getting down to the water. Regardless, the Dead Sea was easily my favorite part of the trip.
You literally float in the water! There is so much salt and minerals in the water that it holds you buoyant at the surface! It was amazing! We also went and covered ourselves in the Dead Sea mud, which is supposed to be great for your skin. Our skin was so soft afterwards and I swear it erased some of my sunburn that I acquired earlier in the day.