From Jerusalem we drove about 50 miles towards the Dead Sea... all downhill! Our first stop was Masada, an ancient fortress, sitting on top of a rock plateau. We caught a cable car up to see it. It was first built around 35 BC as a palace for King Herod the Great, and later the location where 960 Jews in hiding committed mass suicide at the end of the first Jewish-Roman war. It is impressive how much of it is well preserved. There are also views of the Dead Sea. After Masada we visited Ein Gedi, which is literally an oasis in the middle of desert land. The whole area is so dry and so hot and there are these natural springs and waterfalls with people swimming in them. We saw Rock Hyrax (known as Dassie in South Africa) and Ibex, a species of wild goat. And finally we visited the Dead Sea. This was an interesting experience. Obviously I learned about the Dead Sea at school and I was really excited to get to see it, and swim in it. It wasn't really that great an experience. Where we visited (and I'm sure this was just the tour we were on), was quite a dirty little beach with rubbish and cigarette butts. It was part of a restaurant so wasn't a rural part of the sea but wasn't well maintained at all. The Dead Sea is 423 metres below sea level and is nearly 10x as salty as the ocean. The ground all around it is incredibly hard and if you don't have shoes to protect your feet in can take some time to make your way in. Once we were in it was fun... you literally float on top of the water. I've never felt anything like it. It is unbelievably salty though... you can't get it on your face on near your eyes. We did the whole mud pack thing and covered ourselves in mud which felt amazing afterwards...
Once I traveled
Along the shores of the Dead Sea
With a blind poet.
I wanted to describe the sights
And I was quiet.
We did our dead sea tour with Abraham Tours.