Masada and The Dead Sea


There were four things that left an ’emotional’ impact on me the first time I came to Israel: living on a kibbutz, walking from roof to roof in old town Jerusalem with stray cats, swimming in the magical Dead Sea and hitchhiking north to south and then back again.

I went to the Dead Sea today, which included a stop at Ein Geidi, an oasis near Masada and the caves of Qumran.

Masada was not what I remembered.
Nor was Ein Gedi or the Dead Sea.

What happened was the inevitable – tourism. Western style tourism that is. Is there any other kind? With tour buses, strong metal fences to keep you gated in and a trolly to take you up and down. We hiked Masada’s Snake Path way back when – it was the only way to get to the top. Today, it feels more like Aspen — the $7 lemonades, $2 postcards and $20 entrance fees. And countless air conditioned buses arriving in droves.

But like most breathtaking wonders, even with renovations, gates, modern stairs and restroom signs, you find yourself turning your head just the right way for a moment. And there’s that second moment where you hear the silence.

The moment you move into that place, you need to get creative with your thoughts and images right away. My first were of Herod the Great in 37 BCE looking across the voluminous desert from his fortress. And then again, in 66 CE, when the Jewish-Roman War began.

I imagined hiding in one of the 66 CE bedrooms, that were about the same size as my childhood bedroom and every bedroom I’ve ever had in England and New England bar one. In other words, small. Where were the closets? A woman has to have closets, even Iudaea Lucius Flavius Silva’s wife needed a closet.

When you get to the top and feel the historical awe of it all. It wasn’t identified until 1842 and not excavated until 1963, which included the remnants of a Byzantine church dating from the 5th and 6th centuries CE. 5th and 6th centuries you say to yourself and look away, across the desert, away from the buses and climbing tourists, the cameras, the ice cream cones and sun hats.

I gave a playful glance to the trolly driver, a 30 something year old Israeli man named Amir. My colleagues didn’t even notice. Silence on the way up, noise on the way down.

Below are shots of a fabulous journey along the desert road from the southern tip of the Dead Sea. Israel’s roads are easy and since the country is so small and all the signs are in English, Hebrew and Arabic, the odds are with you. Zohar junction, take a left and you’re getting close.

We rented a zimmer, opened a bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon from Ella Valley’s wineyard and took in the sounds of active crickets and birds full of energy in the night.

IN the Dead Sea (am I the only one who thought it was cool to keep the oily salty water all over my body for the entire day without a fresh water shower?)


The Ein Gedi which on some levels has turned into the Fort Lauderdale of Israel. Yet, these salt deposits and mineral formations are hard to ignore.



At the top of Masada


On the Masada Jerusalem road


Children in that in between space between East and West Jerusalem



A Bedouin on the Masada Jerusalem road






Dead Sea Action


Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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