Masada and the Dead Sea
My heart skipped a beat and I gasped at Masada when I took in the incredible views from the top of a lookout point. Surrounded by deep canyons as far as the eye could see, I was awestruck.
Home to Herod’s Palace, Masada’s breathtaking beauty is certainly worthy of royalty. Some hike the winding trails to the top but I took a cable car (gondola). I felt like Indiana Jones as I descended the steps that took me into the bottom of one of Herod’s cisterns. The deep reservoir was dry and spacious and once held rainwater for Herod’s kingdom.
Today, bar and bat mizvahs take place at Masada and I don’t think the sweeping landscape setting can be beat.
No trip to Masada is complete without a visit to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth (417 m/1440 ft below sea level) that also has the highest water salinity. My fellow food bloggers and I slathered ourselves—and one another—with mud and it was so much fun. Is there a better way to get in touch with the land than to slather wet earth all over yourself? I think not. When it was time to rinse off, we floated in the Dead Sea, giggling as we experienced the water’s incredible buoyancy.
Last stop: Jerusalem
Jerusalem is a holy city that’s been destroyed, rebuilt, captured, and recaptured throughout history. It’s the home of significant spiritual sites for Jews, Christians, and Muslims.
Within the walls of Jerusalem is the Old City, where you’ll find Arab, Jewish, Christian, and Armenian quarters. There’s the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, commemorated by Christians as the location of Jesus Christ’s tomb. There’s the Temple Mount and its Western Wall (the Wailing Wall). It’s the holiest of holy places for Jews, and the site of the Foundation Stone where it’s believed the world was created.
While navigating the stone paths in the Old City, there were throngs of tourists milling about the alleyways. It’s easy to lose your way here, so I was especially grateful to be accompanied by our tour guide Avigail, who has an awesome sense of direction.
The Mount of Olives
The group and I gathered at a lookout point with a view of the Mount of Olives, the site of the world’s most in-demand cemetery plots. According to the Jewish faith, it’s where God will begin to resurrect the dead on the Day of Judgment. There are over 150,000 Jewish graves there. It was a prime preaching location for Jesus Christ and believed to be where he ascended to heaven. And according to the Muslim faith, it’s believed to be the place where the righteous and the sinners will be divided.
While touring the holy sites in Jerusalem, I felt an unmistakable intensity from the faithful who gathered to pray. It’s interesting to me that although people may be simultaneously praying in close proximity, each have their own life stories, their own beliefs and their own relationships with their Gods.
I found it settling to see all this spiritual activity happening peacefully before my eyes. Religion can divide and unite people all at once and when it brings us together in compassion, understanding and a sense of community, it’s truly a beautiful thing. See more photos of Masada, the Dead Sea and Jerusalem in the photo gallery below.
With all this talk of sightseeing and friendships, you didn’t think I had forgotten about the food, did you? That’s worthy of whole other post. Get ready to feast your eyes on some of the favorite foods I ate with What and where to eat in Israel.
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
- Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
- Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
- Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
- With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
- Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
- Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
- Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
The comments on this page are not provided, reviewed, or otherwise approved by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered. Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.
Editorial Note: The editorial content on this page is not provided by any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.