The campers headed to the oldest city on earth, Jericho, on Muawad’s bus. Sunblock, caps and plenty of cold water were on our checklist today as the heat of the Jordan valley is renowned for it’s harshness. We arrived at Aubergine hotel, a local community/tourist center where we met with our guide Ashraf; a young man who settled in Jericho to preserve its heritage by hosting groups to visit the lowest city on earth (258 meters/846 feat under sea level). Ashraf had a quiz prepared for the campers with riddles and questions based on what they were about to see that day; so we separated into our groups to solve the mysteries.
We first all got on the hantours (horse carriages), the local transportation vehicles used mainly for farming but also used for sightseeing for visitors of the city. From Aubergine hotel we rode to Hisham’s palace, one of the main historical landmarks of Jericho. Built during the Umayyad period the palace was destroyed by a major earthquake in 747/8 and was discovered in the 19th century by Dimitri Baramki and has since been a major site for Palestinian and Islamic heritage.
We took the horse carriages back to the hotel where we had a hearty lunch cooked by the local butcher shop. This was followed by a treasure hunt based on the riddles Ashraf gave us about Jericho and Hisham’s Palace where team Zaytoun won the prize. Luckily they were generous enough to share it with all the campers.
After an instructive morning we all changed into our swimming clothes and headed straight to the Dead Sea! One of the most unique bodies of water on earth, the campers had a chance to unwind a bit in the sun or in the shade. They lathered themselves in the famous Dead Sea mud known for it’s cosmetic properties and floated around in the salty mineral water of the sea to finish the day on a relaxing note.