April 20th, 2010



I don't think any of us really grasped the scale of the ruins and restorations atop the mountain plateau of Masada. There are several massive buildings in varying states of reconstruction, and lots of excavated artifacts.

The lady at the entry warned us not to consider climbing up; she said it was "too much hot," even at 8:30am. With a forecast pushing 100, we took her word for it. Just as well! I'm sure we could have made it, but then would've been exhausted when we reached the top and it was time to explore.

A nearby tour guide was explaining that the Jews at Masada were being left mostly alone by the Romans, even though they kept hitting passing supply caravans and taking the supplies, and even though they were getting a resulting reputation for being pushovers. They left the Jews alone, the guide said, until one day they found the persimmon orchards at nearby Ein Gedi had been set on fire. Those were the source of the most popular and valuable perfume in Rome at the time. So, the guide was saying, you can mess with the Romans, but don't mess with their women!