Israel: Masada

On Wednesday, I did my only organised day trip, which combined Masada in the morning with a plunge into the Dead Sea in the afternoon.

The journey through the Judean desert led us past some real Bedouin tents (no photo stop, sorry). They didn`t look particularly homely from the windows of our tourist bus, but look at this!! A 2-day trip to Petra would have included an overnight stay in such a tent, but I didn`t want to do such a long and costly trip on my own. We also passed Jericho, which is supposed to be the oldest inhabited city in the world. It looked small; little more than an oasis. I would have loved to stop, but great to pass by, too. No photo stop, but I swear I`ve seen it 🙂

We reached Masada around 10.30am. You can walk up the path you can see in the video, if you don`t mind the heat (40 Degrees and no shadow), but like most, we opted for the cable car. I was fortunate enough to get on first and be able to film this amazing ride from this amazing perspective:

After a little more than 2 mins, we arrived at what was once the palace of Herode the Great. Rather helpfully, someone had drawn a thick black line (second and third picture, about 3/4 up the doors) on the walls to show what was original (below the line) and what was reconstructed (above).

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You could still see the tiles in his jacuzzi! By that time however, I had seen that cave in Bethlehem which (host had seen them with her own eyes!) contained the tiny bones of all the babies he had killed, so, truth be told, I wasn`t that interested.

There is however another story about Masada, which I find rather interesting: when the Romans conquered Israel, almost 1000 people hid in Masada, and when they realised the Romans were coming, they saw no escape. So to avoid slavery and torture, the men each first killed their own wives and children, and then each other. The Romans found them all dead. This story seems really important to the Israelis and their pride (probably also in relation to Palestine?), and it made me ponder about situations where suicide really seems the better option. I don`t think you can say point blank there is always a solution or help, and ending one` s own life is, as a rule, selfish and coward.

The water in the background is the Dead Sea, and the mountains beyond that are in Jordan. I didn`t realise we were so close when I pulled my phone to do a selfie and saw the following text:

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4 thoughts on “Israel: Masada

    • culbia says:

      Ich wuerde jedem, der in Israel urlaubt, unbedingt raten Masada nicht auszulassen. Es gibt auch Touren, die morgens um 4 Uhr anfangen, da ist man zum Sonnenaufgang dort. Kannst Du Dir das vorstellen? Ich habs erwogen, aber es siegte die Bequemlichkeit und war auch tagsueber traumhaft.

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    • culbia says:

      Personally, I deal well with heat, but not everyone does, and there was one woman I felt genuinely sorry for. At one point, I thought she was going to faint. There are some walls to sit on though, and you get a little shadow from them if you are lucky, so it`s not all in the blazing sun (but most of it is).

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