If you didn’t notice the elevation profile from yesterday’s ride, scroll down a bit and take a look at it. Notice the elevation we are at now? The Dead Sea is just shy of 400 meters, about 1,300 feet, below sea level. This is the lowest point on earth (and tomorrow we have to climb out of here!).

Yesterday we cycled past the turn off for Masada, and today we backtracked north to see it. We didn’t feel like cycling back in the heat, so we decided to take the bus. Well, the bus came and it was jammed full with people heading back to Jerusalem from Eilat (I suppose) so the driver would not let anyone board. In fact, one couple boarded with their bags through the rear door, and the driver spent the next few minutes yelling in Hebrew at them. Finally the man exited the rear door and walked up to the front door to talk to the driver. After a few more minutes he stepped off, the driver shut the door and started to drive away. Well, the wife was still aboard with their bags so the man started running along banging on the door, and the wife was yelling inside the bus, until the drive finally stopped and the wife got off the bus with their bags.

After that bit of excitement, we bargained for a ride on a sherut (shared taxi). Actually, the second sherut. The first time I bargained a bit too hard and he left without us. He offered to take us to Masada for 100 shekels and I offered him 50, then he left. The second sherut driver also offered 100, I countered at 70 and we agreed on 80.

Masada is amazing. All by itself it almost would be worth the entire trip to see it. The complex is much larger than I imagined, and a lot of the ruins remain. From on top of the plateau the camps of the Roman legion that besieged Masada are clearly visible, as is the massive ramp they built to finally reach and then breach the walls of the fortress.

Dusk is approaching and it’s cooling off a wee bit, so I think it’s time to head to the beach for a float in the Dead Sea before dinner. Bye for now.