First stop- Masada!
Masada was the site of King Herod the Great's summer home. After Herod passed away, it became a safe haven for the Jewish rebels when they were under seige by the Romans.
We rode the gondola up to the site, which was no little deal for me, who is VERY afraid of heights. Once we got up there though, it was very worth it. The view was magnificent.
After Masada, we grabbed a quick lunch at an area mall, then headed to the Dead Sea for a swim!
Swimming in the Dead Sea was unlike anything I have ever experienced before. From the beginning we were warned that if someone was to drink just 8 oz. of the water, their kidneys will shut down and they would die from the high salt content. Because of the salt, nothing can survive in the Dead Sea- hince the name Dead Sea.
The next incredible part of the sea was how easy it was to float. Even the slightest tilt of your body had you floating as if you were on a life preserver.
Our final stop on our tour of the day was En Gedi. En Gedi is found in the Old Testament in 1 Samuel 23 and 24 when David is hiding from Saul. This is where David comes upon Saul in a cave and cuts off the corner of his cloak. When David presents the cloak to Saul, Saul sees that David is not intent on killing him, swears an oath of peace, and retreats.
Walking through En Gedi, you can certainly see why David would hide there. It is incredibly beautiful. The hike, which begins as a walk in the desert, ends at a lucious waterfall and fresh water pool. The water and time spent at En Gedi was refreshing. It was so neat to know that we were walking along the same area as the "Man after God's own heart."
After the hike, we headed to Petah Tiqwa to spend the night. It was our first night to sleep in individual rooms since the trip had started, so it was a nice (and air conditioned) change!