We packed suitcases for our stay at the Dead Sea, loaded the bus (oh yes – ate breakfast) and began our journey south. Our first stop was the Belvoir Crusader Fortress – for many of us, it was the first time we visited this site. It is situated high on a mountain with a breathtaking view of the Beit She’an Valley. It is amazing to see the construction undertaken by the Crusaders – we can’t even imagine this type of building being built today – how did they move those heavy stones up the hill? From there we went to Beit She’an, Israel’s largest archeological site – another amazing construction feat! There is so much to see and learn in Israel. Here we concentrated on the Romans and their “social” activities – bathhouses, theaters and other things that we can’t mention in the blog – you will have to ask us when we get home! Beit She’an was destroyed by an earthquake and in one of the areas they have left the columns as they found them – fallen in the earthquake – it is quite an impressive sight to see.
Now…we are on the way to the Dead Sea for some R&R – we are all looking forward to warmer temperatures and sunny skies!
Artists in Arad – by Susan Horwitz & Frances Dvorchik – Toronto, Canada
So much for the sunny skies – would you believe that rain was forecast for the Dead Sea! Well, that didn’t stop our adventures. After a sumptuous breakfast, we traveled to Arad – up the mountain!! Temperatures were much cooler there – although our leaders told us to dress warm – some of us did not heed the advice! Who would think that we would find such talented artists hidden in this community? Two outstanding artists studios are located in Arad’s Industrial Park. The first was Gideon Fridman, who uses re-cycled glass to create sculptures. Quite extraordinary, and we had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with the artist – also a little shopping. Next, we went across the street to the most charming exhibit. It is called a puppet museum, but that does not adequately describe what we saw. Miri , the artist, makes large mannequins out of paper machie and she also sews all their costumes. She took us through the studio, explaining each character – what a talent and personality. She shares the studio with a bronze artist whose work is also terrific. Next was a short lecture on Arad and how this community – a development town built in the 1960’s began. Of course, we couldn’t leave this area without stopping at one of the factories that make the Dead Sea products. Who knows – we have been told that we will look at least 10 years younger – we have to try! Back to the hotel for that dip in the mineral pools – many of us have scheduled massages and other beauty treatments. After dinner, we enjoyed the hotel entertainment – songs and dancing! Who could ask for more? Maybe a little warm sun???
Masasda – by Susan Horwitz & Frances Dvorchik – Toronto, Canada
You guessed it – another cloudy day. Yesterday’s rains in Jerusalem caused flash floods in the Dead Sea area – closing roads and even Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. It is hard to believe that water can cause this much damage. But – Masada – oh – this is always so impressive. No matter how many times one ascends the cable car or climbs up the mountain it is still a breathtaking experience! One can almost hear the sounds of the Romans marching, the voices of the zealots deciding what to do and the quiet of the area when the zealots made their last stand.
Another afternoon of spa treatments –we are beginning to really enjoy this lifestyle!