Sunday, 6 May 2012

Dead Sea, Masada, En Gedi, Qumeran, Jordan, Jericho and finally Jerusalem

This morning started out beautifully, as we did have to check out of the hotel until 10:30 am, which is quite nice as we've been leaving at 8am every morning so far on the trip. My Grandparents and I went down to the Dead Sea at 7:!5am, and floated for a little while. This is an experience that not only do I think everyone should experience in their life, but I also think is so difficult to truly explain to someone. You literally do float. I tried to swim out farther from the shore but it's hard to propel my body when all that is happening is it is being pulled up to the surface. The water is so full of minerals that it feels extremely oily to touch. It was simply magnificent. After this, as today is Sunday, there was a Church service. I opted out of this and instead took this time to stroll along the shore of the Dead Sea and spend some time on the Internet. 

We checked out of the amazing resort at the Dead Sea and drove to Masada, a mountain. It's hard to comprehend the drastic changes in the landscape here. I mean, in many of the photos I've posted there is luscious wilderness and green plants. The Dead Sea, and Masada are in the middle of the desert. We took a cable car up to the top of Masada and visiting the ruins in the absolutely sweltering heat. It wasn't too hot at this point, as it was only noon. We returned to the bottom where we had some lunch, which was decently good, and spent some time getting some souvenirs, as well as my Grandparents bought me a pair of Israel sandals. 

We drove from here to En Gedi, an oasis. It was simply amazing, to be driving through the middle of the desert and come to this patch of green and life, with a small waterfall. And by small, I mean probably twice my height tall, and only emptying into a tiny little spring that I could wade in, and I was wearing pretty long shorts. 

The next detonation was Qumeran, which is the location of where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. I wish I could say that I spent some time in these ruins, but it was so insanely hot that my Grandmother and I found some ice cream and shade, and sat there for twenty minutes or so while Grandfather took some photographs of the ruins.

From here we went to the Jordan/Israel border, at the part of the Jordan River where it is believed that John the Baptist actually baptized Jesus. It was amazing because we were standing on one bank of the Jordan River, and only five or six meters across on the other bank were other people, but they were standing on the country of Jordan. Amazing how close all these countries that are trying to  destroy Israel are. This was a very short destination, as it is a border and we needed special clearance to get here. 

We got back on the road again, and drove for thirty minutes to the next location. On the way we got a look at the Palestinian city of Jericho, which I wish I could visit. We drove until we reached Abraham's Tent - slightly like a "Medieval Times" style set up, with actors playing the part of Abraham and some of his friends as they exercise their hospitality. There were camel rides here, but we chose to allow the others as we have a three hour camel ride up Mt Sinai to look forward to, which most of the others will not do as they are not going to Egypt. It was here at dinner that I talked to the most lovely older couple from New Zealand, who after this trip will be heading to England to see their two month old grandson named Rhys. They are so lovely and so old. I just love old people.

We left this place overlooking the city of Jericho and the desert and made our way to Jerusalem. I love that the houses along the way all face towards the city. One thing that was really interesting was that Pastor Jonathan pointed out to me as we were driving the Valley of Shadows.. I'm sure everyone knows the line "As I walk through the Valley of the Shadow…" Interesting!

Anyways, we arrived in the city of Jerusalem to the nicest, largest and newest hotel, where for the first time, my Grandparents and I are located on the same floor! This means less distance for me as I always meet them at their room so we can go places together.

Being here makes me feel like an old person - I mean, it's 9pm and I'm rushing to get this all typed so I can go to sleep. Tomorrow we have a really early morning and I'm starting to feel like I might have a bit of sun stroke, I'm really not feeling well, so early bedtime and hopefully I'll be well tomorrow. I can't post any photos with this post unfortunately as the internet here in the hotel sucks. Oh well.

Hope all is well xx

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