The sun is rising over Jordan illuminating the Dead Sea below. Our alarm rang in the hotel on the lake shore long before. Linda and I borrowed Sheri and Alex’s car, racing to the lower reaches of the Serpentine Trail that leads up to Herod’s Masada. Seeing the sunrise from the Eastern Wall is a special treat for those willing to give up sleep to make the effort. While it was early October 1990, the air was warm as we climbed that ancient historical path. We reached the top just in time for this view. We were essentially alone up there. When the gondola opened, others joined us to see the riches of a fascinating past. Herod built himself the room with a view 1300 feet above the Dead Sea. Masada itself is just above sea level.
Later, after breakfast at the Hotel, we paddled around in the densest salt water on earth. Swimming was out of the question. You had to do the backstroke to navigate the surface.
Off to Ein Gedi to see David Falls in the barren desert on the Western Shore of the Sea. Ibex romped over our heads as we hiked up the narrow valley filled with tropical flora. It was a stark contrast of water and sandstone.
After a stop at a Kibbutz to pick up some soap we continued back toward Jerusalem. Linda commented that we had not seen any Camels anywhere. Moments later as we rounded a curve in the road we chanced upon the organized tour bus Camel Ride Stop. The owner was wrapping it up as his last gig left in the bus but agreed to give one more ride for the day. After that we went to Caesarium for a Boy Scout event organized by Kaynon, the middle son of the Rabino family.
That day began before dawn and ended long after dark with big events each moment that passed.
And, Israel’s tourism rate was down 97% due to the threat of war. We had the place all to ourselves. Other events included walking in (not on) the waters of the Kinneret (Sea of Galilee), eating St. Peter’s fish, and Yad Vashem.
Just the other day, we had a celebration luncheon attended by Catholic Palestinians who live here in Oregon. They commute between Klamath Falls and Ramallah. The view points are diverse and little understood.