I’ve been so looking forward to this post! Today I’m going to share with you our exploration of Masada and the Dead Sea! Eeee!
Masada may be a place you haven’t heard of. I hadn’t, but it is quite fascinating! Masada is the ruins of King Herod’s escape palace, and it is ridiculous in a lot of senses. First, who has a palace built specifically for refuge? A paranoid person would be my guess! Secondly, you would think a place of refuge would be covered or hidden, at least small, right?! Masada, though concealed into the mountainside, is airy, open and spacious! No detail was left undone. There were storerooms with months worth of food supplies, a cistern water system, even a dove nesting coop! Below are photos of those areas…
These were storerooms. A certain percentage of a site needs to be left in its natural state to be a part of UNESCO. The left hand side of the storeroom is one of those areas.
On the left, is the dove coop, on the right is the cistern. Below is the line that goes around the entire palace. Anything below the line is in the state it was discovered in. Anything above the line was built up to what researchers thought it would have been.
Masada was quite interesting, but looking out at the Dead Sea from up there made me want to be in the water!
A saddening fact about the Dead Sea is it is drying up. It is believed that in Herod’s time the water came right up to the palace…clearly, not the case now from the above zoomed in photo. Sink holes are seriously threatening this beautiful body of water. In the photo below you can see a giant one formed. The sink holes have compromised much of the surrounding area deeming many entrances to the Dead Sea unsafe.
You know the Dead Sea is lowest place on earth – 1,388 feet below Sea Level! Here we are at Sea Level 🙂
Swimming in the Dead Sea is one of my biggest Bucket List cross offs to date!
What an experience! Floating in the water is quite surreal…I mean you lift your legs and up your body goes to the surface with no effort at all! Even more spectacular though is the view! Majestic mountains surround the deep blue water making the experience of floating all the more memorable with the picturesque landscape.
I can float in any water with effort, but Patrick cannot. He genuinely believed that he wasn’t going to be able to float in the Dead Sea, but guess what, even this big guy floated! The Dead Sea is the real deal y’all!
Patrick and I drank the Kool-Aid and put the Dead Sea mud all over our bodies. When in Rome…er, when in Israel 😉 It’s supposed to have great health affects. Many hotel spas in the area use the mud in their most therapeutic treatments.
Though an amazingly cool experience, you don’t want to experience it for too long. I couldn’t believe our tour only allowed an hour and a half at the Dead Sea, but honestly, you don’t need much more than that in the water (I would have liked more time in the area to take it in and explore the shops though) The salt is pretty harsh on your skin. I hadn’t shaved in 5 days, yet my legs still looked and felt like I had gotten horrible razor burn. Thankfully, it faded quickly. The salt is so crazy that this formed on my skin after getting out and getting dressed!
If you plan to go to the Dead Sea, be aware that the salt forms up on the bottom of the lake and along the shore, making it kind of a dangerous surface for stepping. Patrick and I both incurred a few painful scrapes. In the contrary, some areas are mud pits that will swallow your legs right up! This happened to me – haha! I was up to my knees in mud! I found the easiest way to get in the water was to crab walk in, then float once the water was deep enough.
At the Dead Sea, they have showers in the water to wash all the mud and salt off of your body
They also have locker rooms with real showers – haha. I purposely didn’t let my hair get wet in the showers because I wanted to come home with some killer beach waves for our dinner that night…big mistake! My hair was still wet and just disgusting feeling after the 2 hour drive back! You aren’t going to get fabulous beach waves from the Dead Sea!
TIPS FOR VISITING THE DEAD SEA
- Be prepared that you have to pay for a locker each time you open it. There are only lockers at the entrance, none on the beach.
- Be aware that the salt forms up on the shore and on the bottom on the lake, so there can be some really sharp places. Wear water shoes if you can!
- Be aware of the mud! Mud pits will swallow your legs right up making you sink knee deep in the mud!
- Do put the mud on your body! Its allegedly very healing and therapeutic for you, and a staple for the #deadseaselfie
- Shave as far in advance as you can! Your skin will burn – mine still did 5 days after shaving!
- Don’t drink the water!!! You might be curious, but don’t be…it’s that bad! Patrick splashed me and it was awful!
- I found it most effective to crab walk into the water to avoid the salt buildup and mud pits. As soon as I could I just floated the rest of the way out 🙂
- Don’t stay in the water too long, and don’t allow the mud to try on your skin, both can be hard on your skin.