Old City
Market, Ben Yehuda & Shuk
Garden of Gethsemane, Bethlehem
Caesarea, Tiberias
Capernaum, Cana, Nazareth

DAY - 9
Masada and Ein Gedi
Family pictures
Swimming in the Dead Sea
East Jerusalem and Bethlehem
Last day in Israel
The police pulled us over because Lucas was in Melissa's lap.  They were happy with this arrangement.

Then we headed to the Dead Sea.
A short stop for photo ops.

Mimi on a camel with Lucas.
Next it was Aidan with Lucas.
Aidan wasn't sure about the height, but Lucas loved it!
A camel smile!
Masada is an ancient fortification in the Southern District of Israel situated on top of an isolated rock plateau. It is located on the eastern edge of the Judean Desert, overlooking the Dead Sea 12 miles east of Arad.

Herod the Great built palaces for himself on the mountain and fortified Masada between 37 and 31 BC. According to Josephus, the siege of Masada by troops of the Roman Empire at the end of the First Jewish–Roman War ended in the mass suicide of 960 people – the Sicarii rebels and their families hiding there.
At Masada there are two options to get to the top.  We didn't take this one (a very long walk).
We took option #2 - a short cable tram ride to the top.

The Dead Sea from the top of Masada.
Roman Wi-Fi.
The ramp built by the romans for the siege of Masada.
Gideon and Samuel made it to the top!
King Lucas.
Chris showed the boys how rain water was collected and stored in the cisterns.
It was a long walk down to see these painted columns, but we all made it.
The steps back to the top.
Remnants of the Roman camp where they stayed while the ramp was being built.

Mimi with Dead Sea in Background. The mountains on the opposite side of the Dead Sea are in Jordan.
Lunch, then off to Ein Gedi.
Ein Gedi nature reserve is one of the most important reserves in Israel. The park is situated on the eastern border of the Judean Desert, on the Dead Sea coast, and covers an area of 3500 acres.

The elevation of the land ranges from the level of the Dead Sea at 1,388 feet below sea level to the plateau of the Judean Desert at 650 feet above sea level. Ein Gedi nature reserve includes four spring-fed streams with flowing water year-round. Together, the springs generate approximately eight hundred million gallons of water per year. Much of the water is used for agriculture or is bottled for consumption.

The reserve is a sanctuary for many types of plant, bird and animal species. The vegetation includes plants and trees from the tropical, desert, Mediterranean, and steppian regions, such as Sodom apple, acacia, jujube, and poplar. The many species of resident birds are supplemented by over 200 additional species during the migration periods in the spring and fall. Mammal species include the Nubian ibex and the rock hyrax.

The Ein Gedi national park features several archaeological sites including the Chalcolithic Temple of Ein Gedi and a first-century AD village.
The lower water falls.
The trail kept going, but we didn't!! 
Gideon and Samuel at Ein Gedi.
Heading back to Jerusalem.

Lots of palm tree farms along the road to the Dead Sea.
It was HOT near the Dead Sea (1388 feet below sea level - the lowest place on earth).

Swimming in the Dead Sea