Jerusalem at last
We are now catching up this blog and this is the last day travelling to Jerusalem. We headed off a bit early from the Dead Sea but there is one last wander along the beach in the early morning to catch sunrise. Now, whilst I am sure that there were just ordinary folk like me down there at 6 or so in the morning there were also a few egos bursting out. A couple of couples giving themselves a mud rub down before washing it off (interesting sight this) and others sort of strutting around in the water catching the early morning rays of the sun. Probably all very beneficial for the soul and ailments.
The Dead Sea is actually going to rise significantly over the next little while, it is currently at a quite low-level. Some resorts which were built on the shoreline 20 years ago are now several hundred metres back from it. Now this is not due to global warming. Israel is moving quickly towards relying on desalination for its water requirements rather than drawing it from the Sea of Galilee. Consequently, water needs to be released from the Sea (which is currently quite high) and let flow down the Jordan River into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is expected to rise by some 20 metres because of this. It will inundate infrastructure and necessitate the relocation of some of the newer hotels that have been built close to the current shoreline. There may also be some impact on the mineral content and salinity of the water.
Reality gets me back to breakfast and then the bus to Jerusalem with stops at a place called Ein Gedir, then Qumran to see the location of the cave system where the Dead Sea scrolls were found, and finally Jericho before winding up the road to Jerusalem.
Ein Gider is a nature reserve based around some steep gullies rising up from near the shore of the Dead Sea. Animal life ‘abounds’ in this area and the gullies are green and cool with waterfalls and pools. Israel’s animal ‘mascot’ is the Ibex, a deer like animal that blends very neatly into the rocky landscape. It is relatively common here. Fortunately, we were able to see a small group of these up on the slopes.
Jericho sits within the control of the Palestinian Authority so we had to go through a check point and change guides for a short tour of the Jericho Tel. Jericho is arguably one of the oldest cities in the world dating back 7-8 BCE. We lunch at the Temptation restaurant which monopolises a great location below the mountain and wilderness area where Jesus was tempted by the devil. Hence the name Temptation Mountain. Leanne was disappointed that we didn’t have the time to go up the cable car to the mountain top to get a real good view of the area.
Following lunch it was back to the bus and on to Jerusalem which we reached late in the afternoon of 12 April.