Israel 2014 Day 7: Climbing Masada at Sunrise
Oof! This day started off insanely early... at the glorious time of 4:15am!! We packed our stuff for the hike and drove 15 min to the Masada east gate. Masada in an ancient fortress, which the Romans took in the Siege of Masada. It is also a very steep and beautiful rock formation, and a very popular spot for tourists to visit when in Israel.
|Wow, it's early. 5:06am. Let's do this.|
|Ok, now it's 5:09am, we're awake|
|Let's start walking up the Snake Path|
|Up and up|
|My climbing girl|
|Watching the sunrise|
|Here it comes|
|Almost up now...|
|On the trail|
|A little sideways|
Water was necessary for survival for the people living here, but King Herod also said it should be used for other purposes too: hygiene, and even recreation (swimming!) There were some cool sites to see up there like the old synagogue. There was actual a Bar-Mitzvah happening in that ancient Synagogue when we were up there. History!
|Top of Snake Path|
|That's a better one :)|
|Fun water bucket exhibit where you can see how the drainage system worked|
|On top of Masada|
|Enjoying the view|
|Time to walk back down|
|At the bottom again|
We headed back to the hotel and changed and then went straight to the buffet breakfast!! Oh MAN that was awesome and perfect after our big morning schlep. They had 5% "white cheese", labane with tasty spices, egg salad, Safed 5% cheese, I got a tasty cappuccino, and there was AWESOME cheesecake.
|Breakfast time! Lots of fish choices|
|"Safed Cheese"... yeeeeppppp|
|Yoghurt and Fruit|
|Crazy awesome cheesecake|
|Huge tasty plate and a nice cappucino after a good hike|
|Better try some of that cheesecake...|
From there we hit the pool area, and chilled out for a bit. We had a nice swim and some good chill time in these fancy Cabana things they had up at the pool. Pretty sweet. The Cabanas had funny "wedge" pillows so you could sit up and read in them very easily! Fancy times. It was only 10:30am... and was already 32C!!! So warm. I sat in a Cabana and wrote my journal notes -- perhaps the best place ever for writing my journal!
|Cabines at the pool|
|The water was green today!|
|Wow, it's not every day you see a soldier in a McDonald's (at home, anyway)|
|That's my cup of tea|
|A Torah container|
|Well, this rocks|
|Hebrew written in a "Chinese style"|
|Nice Mezuzzah shop|
|All the hummus|
And of course, the Kosher McDonald's! (If you're starting to feel a trend here of me constantly talking about McDonald's, don't worry, I'm not obsessed with the place. It's just super awesome to see it in foreign countries and I always love how they localize the food to -- sometimes -- match the customs of the country. When I was in the middle of the Australian Outback in a town called Alice Springs, I went into a McDonalds there. It was a hot day, maybe 40C, and their schtick was "Tastes of the World." I still remember, for some reason they had "Indian Curry Puffs" there... in the middle of the Australian Outback. How odd. And the "McOz" burger comes with an EGG on it, cause Australians are crazy). Anyway, in Israel, the obvious difference for McDonald's is that generally, it should be Kosher to meet the customs of the local country. I took a photo there, and it reminded me of my time back in Buenos Aires a couple years ago -- Argentina being the only country in the world outside of Israel to house a Kosher McDonalds. So yes, that was fun. The difference here between this one and the one in Argentina was that it had a separate area for Milk products (as Kosher rules state you need to separate Milk and Meat products). There was a little side-window area for Ice Cream only, while the rest of the restaurant and counter sold meat burgers. And, of course, no cheeseburgers. :)
We found a Celio store, my favourite French shop that I found with Andrew Lam back in 2007 when we were traveling in France. It's sortof like a French Gap. It was fun and I got some boxers there. We also went to a grocery store, and they had a WICKED collection of Hummus and Tahini. Like an extremely amazing amount. I got two types of (Kosher!) Salami to take back for snacking on with everyone in the evening later.
After the mall, we drove home in good time to change nicely, and then head to Tomer's Bar-Mitzvah Party!! The fun continues! We headed to an event place where they were throwing the party and it was just fantastic. A beautiful, expertly planned setup with twinkly lights and games for the kids to play, awesome appetizers, tasty food, and very heartfelt speeches and slideshow. What a sweet, warm, loving family environment. Totally awesome. And, as always, everyone was there! It was all so much fun and I felt incredibly welcome. Great times!
|At the Bar-Mitzvah Party|