If Only We Had More Time

Avi, a former Pennsylvanian who made aliyah to Israel over 38 years ago, and our tour guide for today, met us at a street near our hotel as the pedestrian zone is inaccessible to cars. For the first time, we had pleasant weather and blue skies, maybe 60 degrees and the day just got more beautiful from then on. We started our drive out of Jerusalem and out first stop was at “sea level” (Jerusalem is appx 900 feet above) where there was a young Bedouin man and his father and their camel. After a bit of negotiating, we all thought we were just going to take a photo, but it turns out each couple got on the camel and we were walked around for five minutes, Then we took our photo – each couple cost 20 shekels.

Off we went to Masada where we were guided through the history of the site, learning about the people who made their last stand here and how they survived with their own food and water for about three years. Afterwards, we had lunch at the cafeteria and the food was acceptable, nothing more. We drove to Ein Gedi where we began to walk on the handicap-accessible path which shortly became dirt and rocks with some significant climbing. We got to the first waterfall and realized it was not suitable for Scott, so we headed back down to wait in the entry area. Our friends continued on, telling us later it was much more than they had bargained for, with steep inclines and places where the stones were slippery. However, the views of the waterfall at the top were stunning!

It was getting late by this time so we began our drive to the Dead Sea, to the Ein Bokek resort, a public beach. Because Avi’s company had agreed to have us listen to a few minutes of a spiel about Ahava, we didn’t have to pay the entrance fee – good deal! However, it was 4:15 when we arrived and we only had til 5pm to get in the water, shower off and dress again. The weather was sunny and warm, about 70 degrees, and it was quite a hike from the resort down to the sea, a couple of staircases and switchbacks. Finally we get down there and the water is definitely on the cool side, with lots of people speaking many different languages. I get covered with mud and Scott sat and then leaned back in the water. It felt good and after about 10 minutes we waited in line for a warm water rinse at the beach and then we showered off up top. Not nearly enough time and I wish we had skipped Ein Gedi in favor of more time at the Dead Sea. At the hotel, Frank and Jen and Scott went out to dinner at a cute Italian place called Piccolino and I went to sleep!

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