The past two days have been days full of adventure and exhaustion. Wednesday we awoke early in order to get to Qumran by a decent hour. At Qumran we saw the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were located. It was incredible! There were rifts and canyons everywhere. Somehow the Essenes had been able to get from cave to cave. I can’t even imagine it. Shortly after, we went down to the Dead Sea, where we had some time of relaxation. The Dead Sea, being known for its salt content and mud, was definitely an adventure in itself. On the shore of the water, a thick black mud can be found. The mud was a smooth mud rich in minerals, therefore very good for skin and hair. Most students smoothed the mud to their skin. I actually covered my body and face with mud. After washing it all off, my skin was smoother than ever. The Dead Sea water is over 30% salt- we definitely avoided anything that could cause the water to get into our mouths or eyes. Whether someone could swim or not, anyone can literally float in the Dead Sea. We slowly walked into the water and sat allowing for the water to carry you. It was a fun adventure.
After we all were washed from the Dead Sea mud and salt, we got back onto the bus and headed toward the Bedouin desert. As soon as we got off the bus at the Bedouin camp, we went on a camel ride in the desert. It was such a fun experience! I have never ridden a horse, let alone a camel. I enjoyed it so much! That night we stayed in the Bedouin camp. We experienced their tea [sweet tea!], the coffee [like a rich shot of espresso], their food, and of course staying in a Bedouin tent. Every part of the Bedouin experience was amazing and I would not have changed anything.
The next morning, we awoke up at 4am. I was wide awake, while most of the group was still trying to wake up. I was excited for what was to come. We left the camp by 5am and headed to Mount Masada. Along the way we passed Israeli soldiers- new recruits- on their journey to Masada. Why would they be on their way to a mountain at 5am? New recruits in the Israeli army are required to walk all night from Jerusalem to Mt. Masada [a 3 hour drive] to watch the sunrise and learn the history of that mountain. Masada is known because of various attacks that occurred. It is a constant reminder to Israeli soldiers to fight to the end. As we journeyed on we reached the bottom of Mt. Masada. It was a steep incline- an old ramp used by the Romans. But within an hour we made it to the top. It was such a breathtaking scene. The sun was rising over the mountains in Jordan and glistened on the Dead Sea. The rays shown on the ruins of the fortress on Masada. Weary soldiers were making their way to the top. Birds were beginning to sing. The morning fog was fading. It was a new day; a beautiful day. The hike down was intense- a steep incline called the “snake path”. In all, we hiked up 1300 ft and down 1300 ft. We reached the bottom and ate breakfast. Afterwards we went on our desert jeep safari. It was very long! I enjoyed the trek across the desert, but it was chilly and too long.
All in all, the previous two days were amazing. I went to Qumran, the Dead Sea, rode a camel, stayed in a Bedouin camp, climbed Mt. Masada to watch the sunrise, and went on a desert jeep safari. It was a great time.