Sunday, November 2, 2008

A day in the desert

We’ve broken the dry spell in Israel!  We’ve just heard that region where we were caught in a storm a few days ago received the highest rainfall in 60 years! 

For a day we were uncertain whether we could get to Masada because waterfalls, and subsequently streams, had begun to flow in the desert and it was cut off.  However after a couple of rain-free days the way was clear and we shook out the shorts and lily-white end-of-winter legs, packed the sunscreen and swimmers and set off for the Dead Sea, Qumran and Masada.IMG_7014 The light grey area on the rocky cliff in this picture is where water periodically flows when the rains come.

Qumran was hot, even at 9am, and it seemed inconceivable that anyone could have lived here.  Yet it was home to the Essenes in the 1st century BC.  Midst the ruins of their buildings are many ritual baths and I’m sure the Essenes must have looked forward to their twice-daily dip as much for cooling as for ritual cleansing.IMG_7019 IMG_7013 IMG_7044

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