Monday started out with us waking up at the Almog Kibbutz. The Kibbutz that we stayed in was fairly nice and modern. We left the Kibbutz and took a drive to Ein Gedi, an oasis in thw desert where we hiked up a mountain and went swimming in a natural freshwater spring.
After visiting Ein Gedi, we took a short drive to the Dead Sea. Once we arrived, everyone was really anticipating going into the water. As soon as we reached the beach, everyone quickly put their bags down and went into the water. Once I went in the water, I was amazed that we all floated. It was probably one of the weirdest feelings in the world to just be laying back and floating on water. The water did burn a little bit on our skin and really hurt if it got into our eyes or mouth. After getting out of the water, everyone’s skin was very oily and full of salt. This was definitely one of the highlights of my trip.
After experiencing the Dead Sea, we went to Masada. We arrived at Masada about 2 in the afternoon and ate lunch there first. After eating lunch we watched a short video on the history of Masada. Then, instead of spending 2 hours hiking up the mountain, we all took the cable cars up to the top. The cable car was packed tight with about 100 people, which was a little scary since the sign said max capacity 80 passengers. On our way up we had a great view of Masada and of the Dead Sea. After reaching the top, we walked around and learned about the history of Masada and what took place there.
Feeling exhausted, we all boarded the bus and headed to the Bedouin tents, where we spent the night. There were about 15 large tents with a canvas on the bottom, covering up the sand. We were given a mattress (which was a canvas-covered piece of foam) and a sleeping bag. We listened to a resident of the Bedouin tents tell us about his culture which was very interesting. After learning about the Bedouin culture, we had dinner. The dinner, which was pita bread with rice and chicken, was very good. Once we all got settled in, we went on a little walk to an empty piece of the desert still in the Bedouin tent complex where we sat down and just looked at the stars in the sky and the atmosphere around us. It was very easy to see a lot of stars because there are hardly any lights in the desert. I know everyone really enjoyed sitting and looking at the stars.
Monday was a very busy day and everyone was exhausted by nighttime but I know that everyone enjoyed every second of the day’s activities. I’m definitely not looking forward to leaving Israel.