day 3 in israel
For those wondering based on the title of this post, I'll start by saying this: no, you did not miss a day! Yesterday's post was technically travel and day 2, but I listed it as day one because it marked our first official day of travel. So, to help me stay organized, I switched to the technical count.
We started this morning with another 6:30 breakfast buffet which was delicious as always. Buffets here are so much better than at home! A few different kinds of eggs, loads of vegetables, fruit, breads, and a delightful yogurt bar. Since I'm not usually a morning person, knowing the goodness that awaited me made waking up a little easier.
After breakfast, we piled ourselves and our luggage back onto the bus for our second full day of site visits and a hotel change.
Our tour this morning started with a stop at Ein Gedi for some teaching on the woman at the well, and waterfall hikes. There's something extra special about witnessing a waterfall in the middle of a baren desert! It was a good climb-- though thankfully not as rough as yesterday.
Not pictured here is the presence of the ibexes (essentially mountain goats). They didn't get close enough for me to capture today, though I did get a few shots yesterday. They just prance their way up the rocks without a care in the world!
From Ein Gedi, we made our way to Qumran for a buffet lunch and to see the caves in which the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. It's amazing to see all of the excavation and remains, including several ritual baths! In the picture below, you see me with cave 4 in the background. Cave 4 is the cave that held the most of the discovered scrolls. More of the park has now been opened for additional hiking and exploration, as it questioned if perhaps more scrolls might be found.
This picture also captures the Whisper, which is a pretty great piece of technology that allows our leader to speak into an earpiece and have his voice transmitted direct into our ears through a certain channel. Since Qumran was especially busy today, that was super helpful!
Our final stop for the day was Kalia Beach, Dead Sea "the lowest place on earth." While there are many spa retreat resorts available on the Dead Sea, we went to this beach instead. Many of our group walked down to the beach to experience the Dead Sea float, followed by caking ourselves in the mud for the skin benefits. The floor of the sea was very slippery in some areas, often creating sink holes. I found one such sink hole and ended up with a lovely skin cut/bruise from it--with the salt, it stung! Other than that, though, it was a good experience and I'm glad I did it.
Between the hiking and the Dead Sea experience, I've thought a lot these last two days about how much of the trip I likely would not have enjoyed, or even missed, had I not had my bariatric surgery. My body is now physically more capable, and, more than that, my head is in a much healthier place. To truly be able to enjoy these times AND post pictures of them? Priceless!
By the end of the day, we're all beat; thankfully, the sun begins its descent around 4:15, so we have the sunset to watch while letting our bodies and minds relax (and nap!). The picture below was taken on tonight's drive from the Dead Sea to Golan Hotel in Tiberias, where we will stay until Tuesday morning (11/15). Tomorrow we begin with many of the Jesus stories!