IMG_4048Today we traveled down to the Negev Desert. We are heading for En Gedi, and a place called David’s Falls. This is an oasis in the desert. It’s very hot again – over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. We hike up to the falls and the water is absolutely refreshing and very much needed to keep us cool!

We hike up higher and higher though what could be called a rough trail. There are three principle falls to visit, and eventually we reach the last and largest fall – David’s Fall. It’s really nice – we don’t want to leave.

After our time at En Gedi, we go to Qumran for a look at the Esseian village. This was a group of separatist that left Jerusalem during the Second Temple Period to establish a  communal society dedicated to the preservation of the Word of God. They called themselves “Sons of the Light”. Many scholars believe that John the Baptist was a member of this sect of Judaism. Qumran is the place where the famous Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered by a young shepherd boy in 1947.

We get a look at the caves as well as the excavations of thier village. After our tour of the site, we ate lunch in the cafeteria and shopped. This location is famous for their assortment of Dead Sea products – which only makes sense, seeing as the Dead Sea is literally right down the road.

After our interlude at Qumeran, we went to the Dead Sea for a “float” – no swimming to be done here. We enter the briney water as the air temps break the century mark – which is very hot to be in a salt brine! To be safe, we limit our time. But it is a unique experience that no one will forget.

After our float, we head back to the hotel for dinner and much-needed showers. After we had eaten at the hotel, some of our group opted to explore Mamilla mall, close by our hotel via the Sheeps Gate. It’s a lively sight, packed with families even at 10:00 on a weeknight. We drink in some of the local vibe as we wander through the cooler streets.

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