Southern Desert

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A lot of the fun things to do in Israel are out in the desert, so Or borrowed a car and we made our way there.  The first stop (after picking up supplies at his home village just outside of Tel Aviv) was Masada.  Masada is the site of an ancient palace on top of an isolated rock plateau in the desert overlooking the Dead Sea.  It is best known for the violence that took that place there in the first century AD.  The Jews and Romans had been fighting for a long time and the jews took refuge in this remote cliff-top location.  The Romans left them alone for a while, but eventually they decided that the jews needed to be exterminated.  The Romans forced their own jewish slaves to build a massive ramp up to the top.  Sensing their own doom, and not wanting to shoot arrows at their own jewish brothers building the ramp, the entire population committed mass suicide.  It’s a beautiful but haunting place.

Afterward, we drove up to a remote location in the desert and set up camp for the night.  We had a fun time watching the stars and sharing stories over a bottle of wine and a traditional nargileh (flavored tobacco) pipe.  I set up my camera and tripod to do some experiments with taking photos of the star trails.  In the morning, we got to see the sun rise over the Dead Sea while Or prepared a traditional Israeli dish of Shakshouka (eggs poached in a tomato sauce with onions, chili peppers and spices).

Then we drove to the nearby Ein Gedi Nature reserve where we hiked between several waterfalls and swam in a series of cascading pools.  Along the way we saw some funny animals called Hyrax that look like a cross between a rabbit and a rock.  We hiked up to some secluded caves with views over King David’s Waterfall and then we made our way back down to the car so we could drive to the Dead Sea.

+Gallery
  • Looking Out Over Masada
  • Caitie Loves the Audio Tour
  • Into a Pit
  • Masada Landscape and the Dead Sea
  • Masada Landscape and the Dead Sea
  • Camping In th Judean Desert
  • Camping In th Judean Desert
  • Camping In th Judean Desert
  • Camping In th Judean Desert
  • Camping In th Judean Desert
  • Camping In th Judean Desert
  • Camping In th Judean Desert -- Star Trails
  • Sunrise Over the Dead Sea
  • Camping In th Judean Desert
  • Sunrise Over the Dead Sea
  • Sunrise Over the Dead Sea
  • Camping Shukshuka!
  • Hyrax!
  • Tree Hyrax!
  • King David's Falls
  • Or Hates Water
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Posted: December 13, 2012

Author: Adam and Amanda

Category: Blog, Continents, Israel, Middle East

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