Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pilgrimage Destination: Ein Gedi, Israel

Wonderful story about the oasis of Ein Gedi in Israel from the

Ein Gedi is a place whose burnt-red crags and incongruous pockets of greenery can make you feel as if you’ve landed, Charlton Heston-like, on some highly cinematic planet. In fact, you have. Ein Gedi is the planet of the epic Biblical past. The niches in the cliffs are where David hid from his enemy King Saul, and the rocky paths are where Saul hunted for him. The vineyards of Ein Gedi produced glorious henna flowers that the singer of the Song of Songs compares to his beloved.

Our plan was to spend two days exploring the Ein Gedi oasis with a guide who had once been the director of the field school there, which is run by the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, and one night camping in the desert nearby. It was June, and the guide had assured me that we’d cope with the desert’s incandescence by hiking in water and hiking by moonlight. Friends raised their eyebrows. I hoped he was right.

The drive to Ein Gedi from Jerusalem took us past the Dead Sea, the lowest spot on earth, which has a bright and slightly creepy turquoise cast. This is partly because the water is framed in red by the surrounding mountains, partly because it is supercharged with salt and other minerals.

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1 comment:

kannan said...

Beautiful picture!