Baby, It’s Hot Outside!

For the majority of our time in Israel we stayed at this hotel – Prima Kings.  It’s a very nice hotel within walking distance of the Old City.

IMG_5338IMG_5182IMG_5184

Andy and I liked sitting on this terrace and people watching.  It was such a busy intersection right underneath us.  People are aggressive drivers and like to honk a lot.  Made for interesting entertainment.

IMG_5179IMG_5176

So, our last touring day.  We headed to the desert.  And, Baby, it was hot!  Notice the changing geography as we headed out of Jerusalem into the Dead Sea area.

IMG_5187

Date palms.  They use cherry pickers to get the dates at the top.  Donkeys mow the grass below.

IMG_5193

Camels by a gas station.

IMG_5191IMG_5190

Bedouin camps

IMG_5188IMG_5189

The terrain gets rocky and barren very fast.

IMG_5196 2IMG_5195 2

Kidron Valley below.

IMG_5198 2

IMG_5201IMG_5205

We arrived at Masada.  I didn’t know anything about this towering mountain until I toured it.  Such an interesting and unexpected place.  If you look closely at the photo below, you can see where the gondola reaches a station at the top.  You can take the gondola ORrrrrr you can climb that path.  What would you do in 100 degree heat?

IMG_5206IMG_5207

At the bottom of Masada at the visitor center.

IMG_5209

Getting ready to get on the gondola.  There were about 50 of us in it, all standing close to one another.  No air conditioning, so it’s good it went fairly quickly.  You can see some of the stairways leading up to the top.

IMG_5210IMG_5212

Whew, we made it!  What a view!  You can see the Dead Sea in the background.

IMG_5214IMG_5216IMG_5215

We learned about how this place was built as a palace and fortress for Herod and was later used as a fortress for fleeing rebel Zealot Jews after the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D.  Around 74 A.D. Roman soldiers were able to finally breach the walls of Masada only to find that all 960 inhabitants, except for a couple of women and children who escaped to tell about it, had committed mass suicide and burned all their buildings and supplies except for the food storehouse.  They wanted to show that their death was not caused by starvation.  It was so heart-wrenching to think that fathers killed their wives and children, and the men killed each other, ending in a suicide, so that their families would not end up as slaves, mistreated terribly.

I encourage you to read the signs I’m posting.  It is so interesting.

The Snake Path is the winding one up the side of the mountain.

IMG_5217IMG_5218 2

Here is a google photo of the top of Masada.

Israel-2013-Aerial_21-MasadaIMG_5220IMG_5221

Look at the model below that Sheila is taking in.  Can you imagine this palace being built on the side and top of that rocky hill?  Many slaves died building it.

IMG_5222

What an incredible view from the top.  The rectangular areas are where the Romans camped outside of Masada to get ready to storm it in pursuit of the Zealots living there.

IMG_5223IMG_5224IMG_5225IMG_5226IMG_5227IMG_5228IMG_5229

IMG_5230IMG_5231IMG_5233

The tiered palace on the side of the mountain.

IMG_5234IMG_5232IMG_5235

The birds are used to friendly visitors.

IMG_5236IMG_5239IMG_5238

IMG_5241IMG_5242IMG_5243IMG_5244

Entrance to Bath House.

IMG_5245

They had different rooms for cold, tepid and steam baths.

IMG_5248IMG_5249IMG_5250IMG_5251

IMG_5254

Huge cistern for water.

IMG_5256IMG_5257

Model showing how the water came down the valleys into cisterns and was gathered.

IMG_5258IMG_5259

More Roman encampment areas.

IMG_5260

The Synagogue.

IMG_5261IMG_5262

A boy’s bar mitzvah with family.

IMG_5263IMG_5265IMG_5264

IMG_5267IMG_5268

Animals for eating and for sacrificing were kept here.

IMG_5269IMG_5270IMG_5271IMG_5272IMG_5277

Headed back down.

IMG_5274

We drove along the Dead Sea again.

IMG_5278

Because the water level is so low, sink holes are popping up all over near the coastline.  It’s a big dilemma because water from the Jordan is pumped to so many other areas.  It can be very dangerous to walk in these areas because you can fall in a hole 10 to 15 feet deep!

IMG_5280

This road and tourist area were destroyed.

IMG_5281

It’s taking down trees.

IMG_5283

A family of Ibex!

IMG_5285

Coastline of the Dead Sea.  You can see the salt around the edges.

IMG_5287IMG_5288IMG_5289

More sink holes.

IMG_5290

Another tourist area destroyed.  Sue on our team said that she had swam there about 8 years ago.

IMG_5292

Baby palm trees planted.

IMG_5298

Next, we traveled to Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found.  Three Bedouin shepherds were tending their sheep in these mountains, tossed a rock into a cave and heard it hit something.  They went in to investigate and found some scrolls in jars, took them into town, tried to sell them to a dealer in Bethlehem who said they were worthless.  Later they were sold to a Syrian Christian man.

IMG_5294IMG_5296IMG_5295IMG_5297

Next we got to go swim in the Dead Sea!  What a trippy dip!  You get in and it feels like regular water but then you try to sit on the bottom and you only bob like a bobber.  You can’t sink.  If you get onto your stomach, you feel as if your face is going to go under, so you have to turn on your side to get upright.  In the deeper parts I tried to push my arms up in order to touch the bottom.  Couldn’t happen.  In the Dead Sea there is 10 times the amount of salt as in the ocean, so you are 10 times more buoyant.  You have to wear shoes here because the sand is SO hot in the summer and you can hurt your feet because of salt formations.  The dark clay at the bottom felt amazing and soft.  It’s no wonder they sell so many beautifying treatments from the Dead Sea.

IMG_5300IMG_5301IMG_5305IMG_5306IMG_5310IMG_5318IMG_5326

Back to Jerusalem where we met King George!  He is a shop owner who is an Arab Christian.  These Christians are persecuted by their muslim neighbors.  We were glad to give him some business.  He sold beautiful works of art made out of olive wood.

IMG_5329

Notice how Andy isn’t enjoying the shopping?  I think he’s worried.  The big nativity set in front of him is probably a few thousand dollars.

IMG_5331IMG_5332IMG_5333IMG_5334

My favorite piece.

IMG_5335

So, that was the end of our journey.  The next morning we got up at 2:45 am and had good, uneventful flights back home.

We now have Israel in our hearts, like never before.

I’m so thankful for this amazing team and for our fearless leaders, all a testament to the Holy Spirit’s power and grace.  I can’t wait to get back to Israel.

Scan 1

Thanks for coming on this journey with me!

 

The Lord gives strength to His people;
    the Lord blesses His people with peace.

– Psalm 29:11 (NIV)

 

The LORD bless you, O abode of righteousness, O holy hill!

– Jeremiah 31:23 (NIV)

 

Their descendants will be known among the nations
    and their offspring among the peoples.
All who see them will acknowledge
    that they are a people the Lord has blessed.

– Isaiah 61:9 (NIV)

 

Photos by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

 

View All

2 Comments

  1. Mary DuCharme July 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing the pictures of your trip. It brought back so many beautiful memories of our time in Israel. Glad you had such a good time after the rocky start!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s