I’ve just spent the past 24 hours exploring the southern end of Israel–the Dead Sea, the small towns around it, Masada and En Gedi, to be precise. We started off in Tel Aviv and did a major loop; what I’ve learned is that the beauty of the desert in the Middle East is similar to the majestic scale of Death Valley and related areas in the US, only here, there’s Greco-Roman history going back thousands of years overlaid on the remarkable landscape.
The little cottages we stayed in in a small settlement at the south end of the dead sea had an understated luxury that appealed to me (cotton sheets, natural wood floors and walls), but the flowing bushes and trees blooming so assidously at what truly was the edge of the desert were what caught my attention the most. And then there were the sand dunes we climbed, and the brilliant night sky, the constellations in places I wasn’t used to seeing them above, and the right bowl of the desert, the towns miles away and the brightly lit tennis court beyond the trees at the edge of the settlement at our feet.
Masada was amazing as well-The Roman forts, the Jewish camps, the scale of it all at the top of the rocks was as awesome, in its own way, as Macchu Picchu, though not as spiritual.
And did I mentioned floating in the dead sea with Renee like two little bobble heads?
Some somewhat random observations from a tired brain:
- Israeli men remind me alot of New Yorkers, both sexes.
- More people seem physically fit; there are fewer ads for junk food, big portions, liquor.
- Checkpoints are everywhere, and everyone welcomes them.
- It’s a small country, but with big energy and drive.
Tomorrow, we explore Jerusalem; later in the weekend, the high tech pieces start to fold in. Meanwhile, the travelogue will continue.