Mélange Accessibility for All Magazine October 2020 | Page 116

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welcome area , there are escalators and elevators and the lines move quickly . After you arrive on the next level you must purchase a ticket for the cable car ride to the top . If you have a disability , there is a special ticket counter to purchase your ticket but it is very crowded and directional signage is difficult to find . For the very brave , you do have the option to hike very steep and narrow trails to the top . We took an elevator to the cable car entrance . Each car fits about 50 people . Space is a premium but anyone with a disability is given priority boarding and moving from the platform to the cable car is level and safe .
Ascending Masada in the cable car was breathtaking ! The jagged rocks that form the foundation of Masada seem so close you could touch them , and the Dead Sea and Jordan were clearly visible . We reached our stop in just a few minutes . Once you exit the cable car you follow a wooden pathway built on the side of the mountain up to an archway carved into the rock . As you move through the archway you are taken onto a somewhat paved pathway covered in small gravel . A little tricky possibly , so be careful .
From there , hiking on the pathway to the top takes some time , some energy , and maybe a little help . Thank goodness I had back-up with my tour mates . They certainly got their aerobic exercise as we pushed hard to the summit . Once there , it was well worth it ! We were literally standing on ancient ruins of the Palace of Herod in the Judean Desert ! You can see for miles in every direction and for those who know and embrace this historically important place , I have to admit , they , like me , would need to close their eyes for a few minutes and imagine what it was like to have lived back when Masada was built . It is believed that Herod built Masada over a ten-year period using palms from the valley that helped to form a giant ramp from the ground to the top of the mountain .
We spent a couple of hours touring the mountain and then ate lunch in the cafeteria-style restaurant on site . There is also a very large gift and souvenir shop with many different items for sale , including plenty of beauty and health items from the Dead Sea . You can navigate most of the sites on Masada by using the paved pathways with caution as some are very steep . There are a number of areas that are not easily accessible and others that can be reached with some help . When coming to Israel , Masada is definitely a place you must visit .
We left Masada and then ventured to Ein Gedi for a quick drive through to see the David Canyon Nature Reserve and then drove on to a hostel just north of Ein Gedi . We stopped for a quick tour of the facility which overlooks the Dead Sea . The manager told us there were 18 fully accessible rooms , accessible dining hall , and grounds . A beautiful , accessible property !