Jerusalem, the Dead Sea, and the border.
Israel Travel Blog› entry 2 of 2 › view all entries
October 15th, 2008 – by: jlchatham
The next day we ventured out of the old city and headed towards the Mount of Olives. Along the way we stopped first at the tomb of Mary and then at the Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus was betrayed by Judas and arrested. There are eight olive trees that stand in the Garden that supposedly bear witness to the event, but it's doubtful that those trees are actually 2,000 years old. Again, the idea and tradition are stronger than fact, though, and both places were filled with sightseers. After a stiff hike up the Mount of Olives we were rewarded with a wonderful view of the Temple Mount and the Old City so we spent some time making funny pics with handstands and the like.
On our third day we hopped on a bus and headed to Ein Gedi, a little hole in the wall on the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is a very long, narrow lake that divides Israel and Jordan with mountains running along both sides. The Dead Sea is the lowest spot on Earth, over 400 meters (1100 feet) below sea level. It also has the highest concentration of salt in the world, making it uninhabitable. We eagerly hopped into the Sea and were quite amazed. The water feels so thick that swimming can be difficult and it is impossible to sink! It's a crazy feeling. When I had my legs under me, my shoulders still remained above water and I was unable to sink any further than that. We spent a good amount of time just floating and "swimming" around on our backs (the most efficient way of moving around in the water). We eventually found some dark mud and covered ourselves in it as this is a popular "mineral" mud bathing thing to do.
We left our hostel at 6 am the next morning to proceed to Eilat, the border town between Jordan and Egypt (and where we were stuck for two days when we arrived in Israel). Upon arrival we headed straight to the Egyptian Consulate to get our visas. I had been worried about this all week because I was afraid of not getting there in time and having to spend yet another day doing nothing in Eilot, but we were in and out in thirty minutes and at the border before 12:30.
Today shall be spent wandering through the corniche, lying on the beach, and probably snorkeling. Tomorrow Jiyoung and I are planning to climb Mt. Sinai (the Moses and Ten Commandments one) in the dark (!!) and arrive at the summit in time to watch the sunrise (if we don't fall asleep first!). We'll have to see how that works out.
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