I have never been what you might call a typical young traveler. I’m not really interested in clubbing, the local bar scene, or feeling the vibe. I don’t do things spontaneously, I don’t just “see where the night will take me”, instead I plan, I scheme and I make little schedules and I honestly truly love doing that, I really enjoy it, I get so much pleasure out of anticipation. And I like museums, I seek them out, I reveal in dusty rooms of art and archaeology, in architectural tours and city walks, in churches, mosques and temples (depending on the country, of course). And I like old stuff. Really old stuff. Take for example, Tel Aviv. What’s in Tel Aviv? Well, not much, really. It’s a fresh faced baby of a city, all done in poured concrete and Middle-East-Does-Bauhaus movement and it’s, frankly, rather boring. Well, I mean, it has night life, student life, and a huge population, but other then all that, it’s boring. Jaffa, the oldest part of the city, was a popular port for thousands of years, but now it’s in disarray, filled with crumbling buildings and falling arches. Surrounded by walls created by the Ottoman Empire in it’s once beneficent glory, Jaffa now sits sadly in the shadow of Tel Aviv, staring out onto the Medditeranian, reminiscing about when it once ruled the waves. So while the other people on my trip whined about how little time we got to spend in Tel Aviv, I was relieved to leave. New construction makes me face itch.
But old stuff? Old stuff floats my boat. And no where did my jaw drop as constantly and delightedly as Jerusalem, but I have to tell you, Masada came close.
Masada is a cliff, essentially, very near to the Dead Sea, South of Jerusalem. It’s located on the edge of the Eastern Desert, so the climate is less then merciful, and it’s the site of King Herod’s summer palace (for when the winters of Northern Israel are just too much to take). It was also the last stronghold of the Jewish rebels who fought the Romans in the first Jewish War (66-73 CE). Having lost Jerusalem and witnessed the destruction of the Second Temple (which is, incidently, were the Dome of the Rock sits today), a handful of rebels under Eleazar ben Yair, also known as the Sicarii Rebels, held out against Roman troops led by Titus Flavius (son of Vespasian, who would eventually become emperor of Rome) for over a year until the Romans finally broke through the thick walls of the citadel. When they entered the little city they found 960 bodies. Only 7 of the people living in Masada chose not to commit suicide at the thought of becoming Roman slaves. Isn’t history amazing? See, who needs clubs when you have ruins!
You can read about all this in observer/historian Josepheus’ account, The Jewish War, or you can just cheat and watch the movie, it’s your call.
Enough about the past. Check out my awesome shorts!
I made these using a pattern from the 40’s, which is actually rather appropriate because in the 40’s young people flocked to Masada as an inspirational site of Jewish heroism in the face of oppression. It wasn’t excavated properly until the 60’s. Thank goodness it never rains there, because how else would all those objects have survived?
The pattern is Simplicity 2017 from the 1940’s. I bought it on Etsy from SewingWithMissDandy and I absolutely love the pattern. I plan on making it again, maybe in navy, but for my trip through the desert and back in time, I thought that a tan linen would be my best bet. They are extremely comfortable and I have to say, I love the high waist, I think it makes them look more formal and dressy. You have to be careful what you wear on top, though, because the fabric can bunch and make your stomach look more sizable then it is, a fate I don’t know if I entirely avoided. Sigh. The only change I made to the pattern was the addition of a zipper, rather then snap fasteners. Linen was an excellent choice for Israel. Of course, the shorts winkled like hell, but I steamed them in the shower and that seemed to help, and I blended right in with the environment, don’t you think?
Of course, not a single one of these photos actually comes from Masada. Sigh. The best laid plans….