bethlehem to dead sea to red sea

{i’m trying to cram all the pictures i can into each post so i don’t go on and on and on about our time in the holy land(although i kind of want to because it was so so so awesome!). so today here’s a bunch of photos from the judean wilderness down to the red sea, and tomorrow i’ll post photos from our two days in petra! then, it’s back to london :) buuuut, before all the pictures – i want to share another gojanegive page!

my sister saydi is fundraising for refugee aid by conducting portrait photography sessions in boston, new york city, london, and salt lake city over the next few months. saydi is a talented, sought-after family photographer and captures stunning images - this is a huge bargain and an opprortunity to donate to a very worthy cause. check out her gojanegive page and sign up for a photo shoot! if you don't live near one of those four locations, you can still donate any amount to receive saydi's top ten tips for taking fantastic portraits. 

aaaaand….we’re back to the holy land…!} IMG_0955
^^ the highlight of our drive through the judean wilderness along the dead sea. one of those slices of time when the world around you is so supernally beautiful you can hardly stand that it’s real! ^^

after leaving jerusalem, we drove into the west bank to bethlehem. like many other christian pilgrimage sites, bethlehem doesn’t feel quite like you’d expect it to back in the time of jesus :) bethlehem is a bustling arab city with a church standing in central “manger square” as a monument to the place where the christ child was born. when we went in the church of the nativity, there was a long service of chanting and incense spreading going on down in the “grotto” – believed to be the built over the spot where jesus was born in the stable. so, we wandered the market streets of the city for a while before returning to the church to get a glimpse of the relics there when the service was over, and consider the birth of the saviour.

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^^ a mosque at one end of the street and a church at the other. ^^
^^ maybe the most delicious strawberries i’ve ever tasted! ^^
^^ and ian got some candy :) ^^
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^^ me at the very spot considered by some to be where jesus christ was born + the two of our outside the church of the nativity. like many churches in the holy land, it’s a bit ruinous and surrounded by busy streets.

and then we were off on our road trip through the judean wilderness. don’t you just love this sign (of which there were several) we encountered along the way?! <<

our first stop along the dead sea was qumran, where the dead sea scrolls were discovered! it was interesting to learn (re-learn) about the deeply religious people that lived at qumran and the incredible artifacts they left behind.

click through to continue reading..!

^^ there are so, so many caves n the rugged hills surrounding the ruins of qumran. ian scrambled up the trail for a bit while me and baby boy relaxed under the warm sun :) ^^
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^^ on the right is the very cave where the most significant dead sea scrolls were discovered. ^^

our next stop was the incredible ancient fortification of masada. herod the great built palaces for himself on this spot between 37 and 31 bc. masada, amazingly perched on a desert plateau, was the last stronghold against roman invasion. it fell to the romans after stunning capture that involved crazy stratagem and a mass suicide of of nearly one thousand jews who would rather die than become slaves. masada is a fascinating place to visit due to both its history and geography, and we loved exploring there!

^^ ^^ taking the cable car up to the top of the plateau. ^^ ^^
^^ overlooking the dead sea. now that is wilderness! ^^
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^^ a model of what masada once looked like // herod’s “northern palace” cascading down the side of the mountain ^^
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^^ there are several dovecotes like this one at masada. ^^IMG_0903IMG_0915IMG_0916
^^ blurry picture, but this water cistern is astonishing! ^^
^^ we walked down instead of taking the cable car back, so we could enjoy the views for longer on the descent. ^^

after masada closed for visitors, we went for a a little dip – a little float, really!! – in the dead sea. i was so excited to watch ian experience this wild sensation! his reaction was pretty great :) it’s just so foreign and cool to completely float in the water. it was a beautiful (although chilly!) evening and we had a lot of fun bobbing around.


then we set out to drive to the town of arad, where we were sleeping, and we caught the sunset over these salt deposits at just the right moment. when we caught a glimpse of this scene, we immediately pulled over and spent some time admiring some unreal, unique beauty.

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the next day we continued our drive south to the resort town of eilat, which sits right on the northern tip of the eastern arm of the red sea. the underwater life at this place is aaaaamazing – outrageously colourful fish and coral and incredibly clear water. it was a really windy and quite chilly day, but we still grabbed some snorkel gear and took a peak under the sea. by the end of our thirty minute snorkeling session, our teeth were certainly chattering! but we were blown away by the vibrance and beauty (which cannot be captured in underwater photos!!). after we snorkeled we sat on the beach and enjoyed the scenery and watched the dozens of kite surfers move at remarkable speeds and do insane tricks.

^^ my hair is awesome. it was so windy! ^^
^^ i mean! check out the colour and clarity of that water! ^^
^^ a scene from strolling along the boardwalk that evening. ^^

the next morning we crossed the border into jordan! to be continued…


  1. What a trip of a life time. I have loved following you and your husband on this exquisite, fascinating and inspirational journey. I can see why you wanted to go back and take your husband to see the magnificence and blessing of these places many of us have only read about in books or the Bible. I appreciate you taking the time to document for others to experience. Thanks.

  2. That first photo is my absolute FAVORITE. It is SOOOOO beautiful!
    Incredible colors and you two look fantastic! I would frame that one. :)