Monday, 21 March 2016

a long weekend in the desert



We spent a long weekend in the desert in the South of Israel.
It was a nice break, the weather was not too hot and we enjoyed some nice walks.
Above you can see us on the edge of the "small crater" – it was already late afternoon, very windy but worth it.


We spent the nights in a field school- a nice, quiet and simple place. It would have been nice to sleep in a Bedouin camp although on weekends it can be a not-so-nice experience- especially if you have a huge group of loud, egoistic people that don't care about the environment and have no manners…


Anyway. We hiked in the "river" Pratsim with it's soft stone that turns into white, floury powder. The kids loved it. There were even some flowers growing and some dragonflies although we did not see any water.


On the second evening we made a nice, guided night walk with lanterns. It was beautiful and exciting for the kids to walk in the dark, hear explanations about birds and stars. I thought that we need to buy some lanterns and do more night walks. Lanterns are so much better than flash lights- giving a soft light and don't dazzle, allowing the eyes to adjust to the dark.



On the last day we went to Massada- the ancient desert fortress that Herod built. We took the cable car up and wanted to walk down the narrow, winding snake path- but after walking around the ruins for more than 2 hours the smallest ones were too tired, so we went down also with the cable car. The kids were quite interested, tried to imagine the palace that was there, marveled at the beautiful mosaics.



There is a great legend about this place. It is not really historically proofed- at least not everything- but I am amazed how deep this story is rooted. The Zealots on the mountain that tried to fight of the Romans and when it was clear that they will lose they chose to commit suicide in order not to become slaves. Even if it is true- I fail to see the heroic part. It is a sad story, a story of desperation. But then it depends on how you look at it and who tells you the story. The story could easily be turned around and be told as the story of the "heroic" Romans that fought the "lawless terrorists" on the mountain…

Whatever- I am always impressed how they could build such a place in the middle of the desert on a plateau that is hard to climb. The bath-house, the palace with it's vivid colours that you can still see today, the water cisterns…


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