Shalom! We are now continuing this blog to Day 5 of our journey here in Israel. Like I said, this is a Semi-DIY trip, which means part of this trip has tour packages involved. Israel is a huge place and most of its National Parks aren’t easily accessible to public transportation.
So here is where you would need a hostel that offers tour packages. Thankfully, Abraham Hostel has those! You can book them online or do it on the desk front (that’s what we did). Since Abraham Hostel has three branches be sure to check carefully where, when and what tour you’ll be booking if you are doing this online.
We booked the Masada Sunrise which also includes a trip to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and a Dead Sea swimming experience. 👌👍👌👍
I’d just like to add how thankful my family and I are to the tour desk guide, Miss Alisa who patiently helped us with the tours and discounts we availed. She was all smiles despite our questions and she guided us fully and thoroughly. Also to Sassi our tour guide and driver who gave us background history on the places we went to and for safely bringing us back and forth to our tours.
*Take Note: Eat your breakfast at the hostel room or on the way to Masada. The hostel’s free breakfast isn’t available until 6:45am. Pack your lunch for the trip or bring extra cash since you can buy your lunch in the stores near the area. Bring a HUGE bottle of water. Emphasis on HUGE. For other details visit Abraham Tours.
Masada Sunrise Hike w/ entrance fee
Our tour begins at 3:00AM sharp. I should tell you, I sleep like a sloth. Sleep is my thing and I hate waking up early unless it has something to do with adventure. :):):) And so despite my grogginess at that time we managed to be early at the lobby for around 30 minutes or so.
The drive to Masada took around 2 hours or so. But I slept soundly through it. You may also ask for the wifi as the hostel’s van offers a free one. As soon as we reached the area, Sassi gave us the instructions to be back there at 8AM. He also gave us the tragic background of Masada.
Masada used to be one of Herod’s fortress. Complete with food and water system, anyone at those times could survive for years in it. During those times, the Jews fought against the Romans. Sadly, the Romans won over them diminishing most of the Jewish population. Some 500 plus Jews sought refuge in Masada and survived for years. When the Romans found out about it. They sent their battalions to capture them.
However, Masada is quite a hard place to conquer. It’s steep slopes proved to be a challenge to the Romans. It took them 3 years to build a ramp. And as soon as they arrived on top, out of the 527 population only 7 where alive. Five children and 2 women. Some claimed that the Jews committed suicide. But Judaism strongly disapproves suicide. It it said that there were people assigned to kill one another. The tragedy of Masada stands today as a reminder that the Jews would never again experience that.
It was sad to hear that so many had to die. But I am glad that despite this tragedy. The Israelis look to it as a reminder to standfast and never let it happen again. Afterall, history was written to teach the present.
And so our hike began. It was a grueling walk up towards the peak. I tried walking fast only to weaken me further. How I wished the cable car was open at that time. Whew! 😫😫😫 But reaching the top was amazing. How such ruins were preserved are truly marvelous. I, especially love how some parts of the painted walls were kept. Now, we didn’t really last that long there as we have to hurry back to the car. And we were 15 mins late. 😑😑😑
Ein Gedi Nature Reserve w/ entrance fee
It took us around a few more minutes to arrive to Ein Gedi. Before we reached the place, our tour guide told us that almost every year the Dead Sea is draining. 😦 And because of it, sinkholes pop out like mushrooms out of nowhere which is the danger when travelling in that area. Sinkholes that could swallow a whole previous resort too. 😈
Anyhoots, nothing happened bad as we reached the area safely. If the place sounds familiar to you it is mentioned in the Bible as the place where David hid from King Saul. It is where David even when he had the chance to kill Saul didn’t smite him as he was God’s anointed leader. Ein Gedi today is a beautiful oasis in the parching desert, a haven for animals too.
We only stayed for around 45 minutes and Dad took a bath at the falls. We also ate our packed lunch and head out to our next adventure.
Now for our tour’s finale, *drumrolls* the Dead Sea! I am really excited for this one and kept on thinking of what sort of tricks I could do while staying afloat. But the guide pierced that happy bubble of mine when he told us that Dead Sea is 10x saltier than your average sea/ocean. Also, it’ll cause you that bit of raw and sore feeling on your skin after a dip. 😐
Around this time it was 12nn when we arrived and I wasn’t really used to swimming with the sun smiling directly on me. But this is a once in a lifetime oppurtunity so, why not?! Haha. I put on my bathing suit and got myself oiled from head to toe. Oiling to protect my skin from feeling raw and my hair from the dreaded salt.
There were signboards of Do’s and Dont’s so I was really careful. We don’t want accidents to happen after all. We had a few floating escapades around, then we decided to cover up ourselves with mud and hurriedly wash off. I wasn’t able to oil the private parts and they sting bad! 😭😭😭
Then we went back to the hostel tired but happy from an all day trip. It was worth every penny or in our case, peso. 🙌🙌🙌 Thank for accomodating us Abraham Tours!
Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!