Friday, 26 July 2013



Well, this is the day - departure for the Desert Experience.   8 a.m and we're off, picking up our Guide,
David (Dudu) Cohen on the way.  What a journey and what knowledge and information Dudu shared with us (details will come in my later notes when I have more time), but the ruggedness, isolation, barrenness of the wilderness was overwhelming.

Lots of stops before we arrived at our destination for the night around 4 p.m.   Our encampment was Bedouin style, photos show more clearly what this means than my description in words.  After a cold welcome drink (very welcome),   next on the agenda was THE CAMEL RIDE!   I've never done it before, and on the basis I may never do it again - you've guessed, it had to be done, somehow!   Not an easy operation, I don't know who found it most difficult, the camel or me.   Emily was sitting in front, and I sort of got on and the camel thought I was sitting comfortably so decided to stand up;   Uhuh big mistake by the camel as I was not sitting comfortably or safely so he had to be persuaded to sit down again for me to wriggle around.   He was not impressed, neither was I as the going up and coming down was really uncomfortable.   However, we finally had a nice long peaceful ride for about half an hour, but I soon found that getting on was a lot easier than getting off! With several 'ouches' and a lot of help from Dudu and others, I was finally off - the camel was probably even more relieved than I was.  Another adventure over.

Then on to a large Bedouin tent for the welcome Tea and Coffee ritual and some facts about Bedouin life before we were shown to our accommodation - wow - see pictures here.

Supper was 'finger' food, a lovely selection of kebabs, chicken, various salads, rice, couscous, dips, fruit, pitta bread, and lots of cool fruit drinks.   I have to confess at this point to being less expert with fingers than with chopsticks - if you've ever eaten Chinese with me, you can imagine it got really messy, but when in the desert .....

The light was going to fade fast, so we went to a space on the edge of the encampment for a time of reflection and meditation led by Shelley, a Sister of Sion from Canada, and Mark.   It was  a  beautiful time when we could reflect on the location at the moment but also our own desert/wilderness times - gone or current.   The chosen scripture and the song written by Mark were very.... well, here's the song, read it and you'll know what I mean.

To the desert I will take you.
Come with me and I will set you free,
n'shmah v'na'aseh. (Hear and do!)

In the desert, I will  lead you
safely through the struggles and the pain,
 n'shmah v'na'aseh. 

In the desert I will feed you.
You will see just what you mean to me,
n'shmah v'na'aseh. 

In the desert I have called you.
Trust in me and know that I am here,
n'shmah v'na'aseh.

In the desert, you may stumble.
Know that I am still with you through it all,
n'shmah v'na'aseh.

In the desert you will find me. 
You will know that mercy is my name,
n'shmah v'na'aseh.

Lots of personal desert reflection time, some alone time  ........  a bright full moon, and just the desert, except for the noise from the whole area of the encampment. 

It was too early to settle down to sleep so when Curtis said he had found a music event, coupled with us having lost track of a person, he and I set out to find the person but also visit the music event, found Harold on the way so we then  had a search and rescue team of three.   Couldn't find the missing person but reached the music event, video should be with the photos.   It transpired that it was a private BarMitvah party; a family from France had come to Masada for the event and this was the celebration!    Soon they discovered we were gatecrashers and politely explained the situation so we left, and returned to our tents which was home for the night.   I had made up my mind not to sleep - creepy crawlies, roaming donkeys and all that but the day got the better of me and soon it was 3.15 a.m. and I was awake, wandering and reflecting, ready for our early start at 5 a.m. to see the sunrise at Masada.  (Hadn't found the silence of the  desert  I had waited for - too many parties going on - nor the stars because of the full moon.) 


Started the day at 5 a.m. to go to Masada to see the sun rise.   Checklist:  silly sun hat, water, sun cream, radio receiver, and breakfast.   Coach driver overslept so we were a bit late leaving.   When we reached Masada I started the journey upwards but soon realised that no way would I ever walk to the top of that huge ramp with streams of people like ants stretching ahead.   No, there was only one thing for it, admit defeat and retreat.  Our coach had already left to drive to the other side of the mountain to collect our party there but Mark managed to get me a lift in another coach which was going to the same pick-up point.   Great relief to be able to sleep on the way, and then eventually to be reunited for the next stage of the explorations. Then, more sites, more climbs, more information - most of the rest of the day I managed to hang in there, and then the Dead Sea for picnic lunch and a dip.   Again see photos - apologies for not truly floating but I had great difficulty walking, even standing, on the pebbles, etc. and had to do the sitting down version!

Finally, tired, dirty (although we'd showered and swum and showered again), feeling a bit like a hippy we arrived 'home' with time to chill before supper.   What an amazing trip with an amazing Guide, is there no end to the wonders of the BatKol programme?


  1. I really feel I am sharing your wonderful spiritual experience. Thank you and God Bless

  2. Have just read out your post to Jan who sends her love

  3. Looking forward to seeing the pics of you and the camel! Difficult to believe that you are into the last few days of your trip but, what a great experience.