Wednesday, December 2, 2009

October 24-25 Masada, Qumran, Dead Sea, Mount Nebo...

We were headed to the Dead Sea but our local guide suggested we go first to Masada to beat the long line that usually form later in the day for the cable car ride to the fortress. We could have hiked to the top, but the prospect of walking an uphill, shadeless trail for a couple of hours or more was not a pleasant alternative to any of us LOL. After Masada, we visited Qumran to see the caves where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered, then down (way down, it is more than 400 meters below sea level) to the Dead Sea and back to our Jerusalem hotel at the end of the day.

The following morning we left Jerusalem and crossed into Jordan. We had to change bus and local guide at the border (probably one of the many subtle indications of the persistent "love, hate, and hate more" relationships between Israel and their neighbors LOL). We drove to the Baptismal Site at Bethany, which Pope John Paul II visited in 2000; then on to Mount Nebo, where Moses viewed the Promised Land, to the Church of St. George in Madaba thereafter and to Amman, the capital of Jordan, where we stayed for the night.





Note the trail below the cable car lines that leads to Masada, a fort built atop an isolated mesa-like rock structure where a thousand Jews resisted the Roman invaders for years. When they were finally overcome, the survivors decided to commit mass suicide rather than surrender.


I think these tourists lost their bananas because of the sun's heat. They are trying to knock down what was left of the wall at Masada! I did not asked them, but I think they are descendants of the Roman invaders out to finish the job their ancestors started LOL.


Trail leading to the caves at Qumran


Young Israeli soldiers on guard duty at Qumran National Park


The Dead Sea


Check out these girls giving themselves a mud bath that's supposed to have a healing effect on whatever their skins suffer from, except the effects of old age; otherwise, I would have been rolling there in my naked glory LOL.


Note some of the bathers floating on their backs because of the dense water. I did not test my bouyancy, I was worried about the effects of the the chemicals that have accumulated through eons in this water over my body if I can't wash them off pronto.

It says it is the lowest bar in the world (416 meters below sea level)!


Our Jordanian local guide and the bus we transferred to when we crossed over to Jordan. The bus was "equiped" with an undercover tourist police that traveled with us while we were in Jordan.




If I am not mistaken, this is part of the Promised Land that Moses was shown. Where are the trees and the vital source of water? I am not buying!




I can't resist taking a pic of this young Jordanian girl working on a mosaic "print"


The road leading to the Church of St. George in Madaba which hosts the famous mosaic map of the Holy Land.

16 comments:

Reena said...

hahaha. sayang, sana nag mud bath ka narin Sir Bert. :D

i like the mosaic. did you buy?

how much does the whole trip cost? i really wnt to go! pero priority ko ang egypt. hehe

dodong flores said...

I've heard of that story about Jewish resistants that committed mass suicide before they fell to the Roman Empire. So, that's the place pala...

You could have tested your bouyancy in the Dead Sea. If I'm there, I'll try it myself :D :D :D

I find those tourists trying to knock down the wall of Masada hilarious. Well seen...

Don't you have close up photos of those girls mud bathing? (just like the close up photo of the Jordanian girl) I'm curious, Hehehe...

I love all the photos...

bertN said...

Reena,if I can't persuade you from addressing me as Sir Bert, puede ba Sir Besa na lang (as in San Miguel beer) LOL. Tama na yung Bert. Matagal ko nang pasanin sa buhay ang pangalan na iyan, I'll miss it if people call me differently.

Did I buy? No, but my wife did and I paid for it (the usual story of my life LOL).

The cost of the trip? About 4 grands inclusive of airfares, travel insurance, all admissions, entrance,and miscellaneous fees, hotels, meals (except lunches) but excluding tips to drivers and guides. A bit on the high side but there were only 15 of us in the group that is usually 25-35.

You'll enjoy Egypt but if you are going to fly that far, you might as well include the neighboring countries in your tour.

dodong flores, I heard of Masada and its history that's why I wanted to see the place. It was worth it, even if I had to hike instead of ride the cable car to get there.

I would have taken a dip in the Dead Sea except I wear contact lenses and we were forwarned not to get any sea water in our eyes and if we do, to wash it off right away. That got me worried - I need my eyes to work at 100% efficiency to check out the girls in bikinis LOL.

How did you guess I took close up pics? LOL. I usually do but, at my age, I don't remember why LOL.

Reena said...

okay. sir besa nlng. hahaha...

i have to start saving for that trip! i want to see the pyramids, the mummies, all the temples,etc. sabi na nga ba, i should have taken ARCHaeology instead of ARCHitecture. haha. jk. :D

dyosa said...

I really enjoyed this entry! The photos were fab! I loved the landscape coming from the cable car. Sayang naman you didn't bathe yourself with mud and didn't try the Dead Sea water. Kung ako 'yan, gabi na nasa tubig pa rin ako. LOL.

Very nice chronicle of the trip. If I'll tell my mom about your trip, she'd go nuts. One of her dream destinations nya kasi itong mga pinuntahan mo. :)

docgelo said...

i remain curious about dead sea; lucky you that you've seen it but sayang you should have tested your weight over that hyperdensed waters, lol. i can't blame you either; btw did i miss out you mentioning the weather when you were there? with those almost naked people, it must have been good.

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dodong flores said...

Hahaha! I just guess because most photographers who own a telephoto lens are sidelighting taking photos with girls from afar, Hahaha...
As for the Israeli soldiers on guard duty at Qumran National Park, yes, they really look so young...

The Nomadic Pinoy said...

I'm surprised you didn't take the chance to test the waters - wasn't there any bathroom to rinse off the seawater? I wouldn't try the mudbath though.

bertN said...

Reena, you made the right choice of profession. There isn't much of a "market" for archaelogy in Pinas.

dyosa, no mud bathing for me. I do not want to look more beautiful than I already am LOL.

I'm sure your Mom will enjoy this trip immensely.

docgelo, the weather was hot but tolerable. I was afraid of the sea water getting in my eyes since I wear contact lenses.

dodong flores, with my point and shoot, I have to get a lot closer LOL.

The young ones are the best frontline soldiers of every nations. Mapupusok, madaling madiscipline and most of them think they are invulnerable.

The Nomadic Pinoy, they have bathroom facilities there but I still did not feel comfortable with my contact lenses on.

Missy said...

Ka Bert (LOL) I really enjoyed this trip ooopps your post. I feel like I went to the trip with you through your photos. I wish I could visit Jerusalem too maybe if we retire na hehehe (tagal pa nun). Hmmm pretty interesting to check yun bouyancy sa dead sea....sayang di kayo nagsample hehehe. Hindi ba boring yun tour guide o yun trip?

bertN said...

Missy, don't wait until your retirement. Do it whenever you can and, more importantly, while you are still young.

The trip was not boring at all, but some of the local tour quides were. They get carried away pumping you with so much information LOL.

Dennis Villegas said...

Really, your trip to the Holy Land is something to be remembered! Galing pa ng mga pics!
The Dead Sea is cool, no one will drown in it due to the density of the water!I love to go there someday.

bertN said...

Dennis Villegas, it is indeed hard to drown if you cannot sink because of the water's density LOL. However, I did not test if this is so LOL.

Reena said...

hahha..kakatawa naman. oo nga naman. did anyone drown in the dead sea?

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