Weekend at the Dead Sea, Masada, and Ein Gedi!

One thing that every tourist or foreigner must do in Israel is hit up the Dead Sea for some mud and floating. After all, it is the lowest place on Earth at 423 meters/1,338 feet below sea level! *Fun fact: in Hebrew the Dead Sea actually translates to The Sea of Salt (ים המלח). The term “Dead Sea” was a Roman saying that just so happened to stick.* It took me almost 4 months to get there, but last weekend I finally did! This trip was unlike any other trip I had taken around the country though, because WE RENTED A CAR!!! Guess who got to drive…I’ll give you a hint…it was ME! I love, I mean REALLY love driving. Going without it for this long has been rough. I know I go to school in Madison without a car, but every now and again I find ways to snag one from my friend’s cars to go grocery shopping off campus or whatever. I can’t do that in Israel, but finally I got to drive and it was great!

For those that don’t know, Israelis drive like maniacs. Speed limits and lane separations are considered suggestions that most people ignore. Using your brights to flash at people to signal to move happens as they approach your car from behind, not after about a minute like we see in the states. A lot of my friends didn’t want to deal with that nonsense, but I was all about it. So we drove down to the Dead Sea, and it was great!

Originally I was only planning on being with Steph, Conor, Meghan, and Julia – we all rented the car together. But it turned out that 8 others: Benny, James, Brett, Rachel, Emily, Brittany, Aaron, and Ariel also were going down there too! So we met up with them and the 13 of us hung out the entire time. The 8 of them got down to the Dead Sea earlier than we did, so they had already finished their mud and swimming before us. However once the rest of us got there, we wasted no time and got body deep in mud asap!

And after we got all muddy, we of course had to rinse off!

I could only handle the salty water for so long. After we got out, we rinsed ourselves off and then set up camp for the night. There were other people and families in the area as well, but we just kept to ourselves and made a little circle of sleeping bags with all of our stuff scattered around them.

Little did we know, we’d be attempting to sleep through massive amounts of wind. Wind + desert = sand EVERYWHERE! I woke up and my face was full of sand. It was in my eyes, mouth, nose, ears, and hair. It was great (sarcasm).

We got up DARK and early, considering it’s still dark at 4am. We packed up all our stuff and drove over to Mt. Masada to hike up the snake path and see the sunrise! We got to the top of the mountain around 5:30am, but could not see the sunrise until about an hour later because it was a very cloudy morning. It was still beautiful though, and the cool air made it not so unbearable. We hung up there for quite awhile because there is much to see other than just the sunrise. Here me and Conor were standing along the edge when Rachel snapped a photo!

From there we hit up an Aroma cafe close by for some breakfast, since we were all in desperate need of some food and coffee since our day had started at 4am. After that, we went to Ein Gedi and hung out in the Ein Gedi Nature Reserve and National Park for a few hours! I had never been there before, and it was really nice to walk around there. There were also some pretty sweet waterfalls and natural springs that we were able to swim in. That was super refreshing, because it was soooooo hot down in the Negev.

I don’t have any pictures in the water or with the waterfalls, but here is Aaron and I right after we got out of the water!

That was my weekend down south in the Negev! It was a ton of fun and I’m really glad I found time to go to the Dead Sea and Masada. I hope you enjoyed reading about it!!

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