Continuing our fourth day in Israel, we said goodbye to Kibbutz Haon Guest House on the Sea o Galilee, saw the traditional site on the Jordan River where Jesus was baptized, then drove to the dessert. Yep, there it was that dessert that I have always pictured Israel looks like. Masada. I was actually at Masada. This seemed more like a fictitious place. I mean this huge fortress built on top of a mountain. Wow!
When we arrived or shortly before we were told we would either have the opportunity to ride up to Masada via the tramway or we could hike. It was hot y’all, and I wasn’t prepared for this so my decision was easy. I had visions of hiking in Alaska. The tour guide really recommended we not hike unless we were in good shape because we were short on time, and it was a very hot day. I passed on the hike, but at the last minute Jason decided he wanted to do it.
He went off with the group that would be hiking. Everyone else was supposed to get lunch before riding the tram up, but I looked around and they were already gone. I had a panic attack! Jason was gone, and I looked around and didn’t see anyone I knew. You know when in panic mode real slips away and you react in fantasy. It’s so strange. All of a sudden I was thrown into this throng of people in this foreign country, and I was going to get mugged, shot down, lost…I don’t know. I stopped and just tried to breathe and think. Normally in life those things are automatic, but in a panic attack they take real effort! Finally, I noticed some familiar faces from our tour. They were all eating and chatting happily. Everything was okay. I would live! Ha ha! You know it’s the only place I don’t remember the food. I was scared to death.
After lunch I followed the group to the tram. What a view! There are the trails for the people walking up the mountain. As it turned out, Jason had a hard time with the climb in that heat. Later he said he was glad I didn’t try it. A couple of ladies that did, did end up sick and barely made it all the way up. Yes, I was glad I hadn’t done it, but I WAS glad to be on top.
Masada is the place where the last Jewish stronghold against Roman invasion stood. Next to Jerusalem, it is the most popular tourist destination in Israel. Herod the Great built the fortress of Masada for himself between 37 and 31 BC. It included a wall around the plateau, storehouses, large cisterns that filled with rainwater, barracks, palaces and an armory.
The Storeroom complex. I found it interesting that the Jewish people are not fond of the story. Some 75 years after Herod’s death, at the beginning of the Revolt of the Jews against the Romans in 66 a group of Jewish rebels took Masada from the Romans and took refuge there. In 73 the Romans breached the wall. Once the Jewish people realized that the battering rams and catapults would succeed in breaching Masada’s walls, the leader of Masada decided that all the Jewish defenders should commit suicide rather than being captured by the Romans. Only two women survived because they hid.
Next? Floating in the Dead Sea.