Today I headed out nice and early and got the bus over to Jordon to visit The Masada Fortress and the Dead Sea. The journey took me out of Jerusalem and into the Judaean Dessert. We stopped off in the Desert at the Sea Level Point before descending down further into the desert. We passed by the Qumran caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were found. The Dead Sea scrolls were nearly a thousand different manuscripts discovered in the 1940/50's, most are Hebrew Scriptures.
We carried on all the way along the side of the Dead Sea until we arrived at Masada National Park. Masada (Fortress in Hebrew) is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau,It is located on the eastern edge of the Judaea desert, overlooking the Dead Sea.Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BCE. The siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of 960 people, the Sicarii rebels and their families hiding there.
We walked around the remains of the store rooms, synagogues, bathing rooms, 2 Mikveh's (a bath used for the purpose of ritual immersion in Judaism to achieve ritual purity) and more.
We heard how the Jewish rebels took refuge on the cliff top plateau of Masada towards the end of the Great Jewish Rebellion 66AD-73AD. In 73AD, after a nine month long siege, 15,000 Romans scaled Masada only to find that the 960 Jewish rebels had committed suicide rather than be captured and murdered by the Romans. Men, women and children decided it was more honorable to end their lives than wait for the Romans to take them.
Luckily we were only here a few hours, it's was 27 degrees, on the top of a mountain in the dessert with very little shade.
We headed back in the direction from which we came, you can only enter the Dead Sea from specific areas, massive sink holes make it dangerous to go in from just anywhere.
Upon arrival, there was some lovely views of the lagoon out to the distance but the real treasure was in the water.
It was hard work walking into the water as there is not sand or hard surfaces. Only mud... everywhere! So as you try and step in the water you are stepping into what is essentially wet mud! Some steps you would stay up, some your foot would go right down in the mud and essentially get stuck! It was fun watching everyone fall over!
Once you get a safe distance into the water to float, you float. There is no swimming allowed in the Dead Sea. As the salt content is so high it is vary dangerous to get it into your eyes.
You literally just float around and relax. I didn't really believe you could just float for that amount of time but I stand corrected!
The difficult part was trying to stand up! As soon as you try to even sit up you legs are taken out from under you and you fall backwards. However despite the laws of gravity not being on my side I really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere as well as the mud spa I gave myself!
Once it was time to go I headed straight to the shop to take my spa home with me before getting the bus back to Israel.
Sadly my time in Jerusalem has come to an end but I am looking forward to a bit of city life and of course the beach!
On arrival in Tel Aviv the bus dropped me a block away from my hostel. It was nice walking around in the city without the intensity! Checked into my room, 5 star compared to my last place! Sharing with an American girl from Pittsburg and a crazy lady, I forget where she was from! Time to settle in for the night!