A view climbing down towards Herod's Palace, Masada
Well, yesterday morning we woke up at 4 am like good little tourists and drove to Masada, where we hiked up the "snake path" 1500 feet (400ish meters) in time to see the sunrise over the Dead Sea. Gorgeous, but also crazy. It was 35 degrees (90F) at 4:45AM!!! Yikes. We hiked around the site (it’s the fortress where the last Jewish rebels finally fell to the Romans in 70ish AD. We don’t have the guide book with us right now and we’re terrible at history. Anyhow, it has ruins and great views of the Dead Sea and the desert. We got the cable car back down shortly after it opened at 8AM and continued south down to Timna National Park.
Timna National Park : Solomon's Pillars, red sandstone cliffs.
True to form for Israel they had a great map with a suggested driving tour, suggested hikes and coupons for a free coffee and colored sand filling bottle activity at the "lake" they’ve created in one part of the park. It’s small, but has unusual desert sandstone formations and is also the oldest known site of copper mining – dating back to 6,000 years ago. It has some Egyptian carvings too, but not enough to impress us in the heat (45C – 110F – OUCH). The car AC couldn’t even keep up. It was 35C/90F in the car. Soon we gave up on walking to the sites and just saw what we could from the car. Carefully timing opening the window so we were ready to take the photo and then close it in a hurry! We drove down to Eilat and got a taxi to the border.
The beach at Coral Bay Hotel, Aqaba, Jordan
Crossing into Jordan was easy, but took a while. You have to go through multiple security checks – but they really barely look at you when you’re obviously a tourist. Everyone was very helpful and friendly. About an hour and a half later, we’d walked into Jordan, and took a taxi to the resort we’re at now. It’s right on the Red Sea, with a nice beach and great coral. It’s also got a lovely pool. Which for some unknown reason they kick you out of at 6pm :(.