Yesterday I was faced with my first day off since arriving so decided to head out and see some of the sights on offer. Using my trusty Satnav, I punched in “Dead Sea” and headed off down Route 1. Having been told before that it was only an hours drive, I was surprised to see that it was 180km but assumed the time suggested had just been a casual suggestion. Off I trundled before realising that I was heading wayyy down South, turning and coming all the way back up North again. It turns out the Israeli Sat-navs have an option to avoid that nasty Palestine country. Just when I thought that damned GPS couldn’t annoy me any more, it finds a new way.
Anyhow, trundling towards my destination, I passed a sign for Masada and remembering senior photographer Marco Longari‘s advice of places to see, I opted to go and check it out. Having passed warning signs informing me I was entering a dead end, the twisting road led me 20km across the desert, without passing a single car on the way. Let me say, after driving like this for 15km, you start to instinctively have flashes of “The Hills Have Eyes” or at least start looking out for the odd “Tusken Raider“.
Anyhow, after driving on a stretch of road that car advert makers dream of, I arrived at the end of the road and the fortress ruins of Masada. Perched on the top of 400m cliffs sit the ruins of palaces, homes and storerooms that were the scene of a siege by the the Roman army. Surrounding the mountain-top fortress, the Romans eventually got through the defences in 73AD to allegedly find all 936 people inside dead, having chosen to kill themselves rather than surrender. Bummer. The Roman garrison site where they planned their entry during the three month siege is still visible (below, left) from the top of the mountain. It must be quite a feeling to have a whole bunch of soldiers camped within shouting distance for three months, watching them prod and probe the walls of the fortress every day as they try to get in. Sheesh..
Anyhow, back on the road home again, the newly defeated satnav gave me a much more sensible 90km route home, even throwing in a camel-train as way of apology.