Since it has been a long long time since almost all of us rode together, no destination was more fitting than the site in which according to tradition the Israelites crossed the Jordan river and Jesus was baptized by John. We all met near Latrun for some morning coffee. Some of us needing it more than others. Exhibit A: Not a morning person. Exhibit B: Not a morning person. Oshik demonstrates the size of his bike We left Latrun and rode to the northern shore of the Dead Sea. Our first stop was at the fuel station. Oshik looks frustrated. We stopped next to the abandoned Jordanian hotel. This hotel, used to be on the Jordanian side until 1967 war, was consodered to be one of exclusive Hilton's hotels in the Middle East. During the war it was abandoned, then used by the IDF (suspiscully called "The Hilton post"), then abandoned again and now standing completely closed. Our plans to have a view of the surroundings from the rooftop were abandoned as well, so we went next door to the (guess what… abandoned restaurant. During 1973 war an Israeli reserve soldier who was stationed at the abandoned restaurant painted the entire Madaba map across the wall of the restaurant. In the past the sea level was high enough, and water reached the restaurant's stairs. A small part of the map Amir found a new job as the bartender The hotel as viewed from the resturant The Dead Sea is in the middle of the Great Rift Valley, here looking on the western part of the rift, called the He'etekim cliffs. Where we're going now?? Yoav riding close to the borders fence. Jordan is in the background. We left the old restaurant and rode to see the Monastery of St. Gerasimus at Deir Hajla. In the monastery there are cabinets that contain the bones of monks who died. Amir decided to contribute a little for Jesus. We left the monastery and went to see the old lavra. Entering the lavra Inside the lavra We left the lavra and headed to Qasr El-Yahud. The site was closed since 1967 war, surrounded by mind fields and remains of battles. Lately, the Israeli Nature & Parks Authority decided to open the site for visitors. It is very important to take the time and get lost... We arrived to Qasr El-Yahud. The Jordan River Pilgrims of the Israeli side Pilgrims on the Jordanian side Soldiers on the Jordanian side Soldiers at the Israeli side Idiots on the Israeli side We wanted to make some tea, but we were told that it’s not allowed. So after Aviv gave up on getting the two soldiers married (to each other), we left. On the way out to the main road we stopped by an old monastery. Each one of us did different things: Oshik took pictures. Yoav checked if he blends with the wall. I went inside. Amir cuddled with his Transalp. Matan rode around in circles. And Avi looked scary. Aviv found a well that still has water. This is how things looks at the interior: Meanwhile, this is how things looked at the the exterior: Finally Eldad and Avi came out and we were on our way to a coffee break. Local Palestinians watching After we finished our coffee we said goodbye to Amir and headed out to Ein Hajla. There were lots of different paths, so we got a bit scattered Oshik wonders where the hell Avi is going Yoav doesn't even notice that Avi is going the other way After a short while we all converged on the same trail and moved on. Ein Hajla contains several ruined clay buildings. Despite the fact that those building are made of clay, the heat and very little rainfall contribute to the preservation of the buildings. We wondered among the ruins for a while. Then we left Ein Hajla and headed back to the road via the Monastery of St. Gerasimus. It was yet another great day riding and a great way to welcome Avi’s AT back from the dead. more adventures in the Holly Land you can read here . You are also welcome to explore the full photos galleries: Aviv's, Avi's, Matan's and mine. Credit for most of this text goes to Leviathan, who has much greater sense of humor (as well as writing abilities) than me.