May 9

It was a big travel day today, leaving Ma’agan in Galilee and traveling to Tamar, south of the Dead Sea.  The Ma’agan resort is really a remarkable place, well worth a long visit if you ever visit the Galilee.

We drove south along highway 90, with our first stop at Qumran.  The temperature at Qumran is usually blazing, but it was low 80’s today with a gentle breeze.  We were able to take a slow walk through the site, stopping for a long time at the shade area at cave 4 for questions.  The breeze made it so nice we could have stayed longer, but for some, the gift shop is hard to resist.

After Qumran, we drove to En Gedi for lunch.  It was more than a little expensive (apologies!) but as we were told, the restaurant has not changed their prices, our dollar had lost value.  My last trip there were four shekels to a dollar, now we are at 3.2 shekels, some locations were on giving three shekels.  Our buying power is therefore greatly reduced.

After lunch we walked down to the Dead Sea at En Gedi.  The water is deep there and the color is quite blue.  Some the students climbed on what appeared to be a jungle gym for a few pictures, but it turned out to be an unused sun umbrella and we got yelled at.  No harm done, and they got a great picture.

We hiked the wadi David, otherwise known as En-Gedi. The walk is pretty easy, although there are a few flights of steps which might be challenging for some hikers.  The highlight is the waterfall at the back of the canyon. There was a nice breeze cooling us so we hung out there for a long time. Since it was after one pm when we started, there were not many other tourists, making it a real highlight of the trip.

The drive to Tamar was uneventful, although I always enjoy the view of the Dead Sea.  We had a great dinner, Kate had barbecue chicken for us, and it was excellent!  I chatted with several of the students and they already enjoy the life at Tamar.  There is nothing quite like life on an archaeological site.

Tomorrow we head to Arad and then Masada, with a quick dip in the Dead Sea in order to find out where we have cuts and bruises.