Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Israel Other than Jerusalem

The Dead Sea, Masada, Qumran, the Israel Museum,  "the wall" and checkpoints dividing Palestinian neighborhoods from Jewish settlements and . . .  Oh yes, Tel Aviv !
We saw the Dead Sea

The Lowest Place on Earth

and toured Masada where we learned about the 960 Israelites who took refuge from thousands of Romans atop the 1,400 foot plateau retreat once built by Herod the Great.

Cable Car to Top
Store Rooms
Northern Palace
Roman Bath House
"Terrible Resolve", The Ten Lots
In  AD 72 the Israelites were able to hold off the soldiers for approximately 2 years, but when they were certain to be overtaken and captured into a life of slavery, they chose rather to commit mass suicide. The ramp which the Romans constructed out of sand and stones still stands against one of the cliff sides.

The Siege Ramp
Next we saw the excavation site at Qumran where the Dead Sea Scrolls were uncovered just as Israel was getting it's statehood.

Essenes' Quarters

Cave No. 4, Scrolls First Discovered

Back tracking a bit to the day before, we were able to view portions of the original scrolls at the Shrine of the Book in the Israel Museum.

Shrine of The Book

Also we enjoyed numerous works of sculpture in the museum's zen-like gardens.

On the drive back to Jerusalem and later when driving on to Tel Aviv, we passed through Israeli checkpoints. There we saw sections of the wall that divides the land in two.

Our last stop was in Tel Aviv on the sea. We enjoyed a totally fun packed day on the beach.


The  Mediterranean air was warm, the service was friendly, the beach was utterly crowded with sun worshippers on lounge chairs, and the music was upbeat and modern.  We had a wonderful day in the sun; an unexpected ending to our stay in Israel.

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