...and much of what it has to offer.
Thursday – October 7th, 2010
Today was a great day!!! It was Dead Sea, Ein Gedi, Masada Museum, Ahava Store, Jerusalem, dinner at Gabriella’s, Ben-Yehuda Street, and home to Tel-Aviv Day!!! And crash. Okay but more about the day…
We started off early, and headed straight to the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea had absolutely no marine life in the waters and nothing grows around the shores. It is the lowest place on Earth and the saltiest body of water in the world – and when you get in those waters, pray you didn’t shave that morning! We parked our tiny Fiat sized vehicle and headed to the beach, minus the white sands. Everyone entered slowly to let any cuts or scrapes expose themselves and finally drifted away. It is physically impossible to sink in the Dead Sea due to the density of the water from the salt and minerals. Therefore, you sort of float there like a buoy and just lounge. Just be careful and don’t get your face in the water, you’ll regret that decision quickly! Heather got ONE tiny droplet up her nose and her sinuses burned all day and I got ONE tiny droplet IN my eye and had to throw the contacts away. It burned so badly I could easily put that on my top-5 list of most painful moments in my life!
Noah ventured off to find us our Dead Sea mud and found what he described as a honey comb of small holes dug by adventurous people. He started a new hole and added the water and we smeared it all over our bodies. Kathie and I created nice mineral masks and we were all lucky enough to have a picture taken.
Cleaning ourselves became our top priority. We got ice and clean with a fresh water shower and had some lunch at the local lunch joint. Our next stop was Ein Gedi which is a natural spring and the main water source for all of Israel’s drinking water. Additionally, all the salt they leech out of the water becomes Israel’s main exported product. A small hike to the natural falls and you can swim in the naturally fed springs of Ein Gedi.
For those of you that know me, I took lots of photos. And while we were in Ein Gedi National Park we saw Iberian Ibex, Rock Hyordes (spelling?), and some neat European bird species of which I’ve yet to identify. The Ibex were very cool because we were there during the rut so the enormous black male was herding his harem of dusty colored ewes. Pretty cool.
Our next stop was Masada Mountain. It is such a beautiful and daunting view from below that you can’t help but gasp. It’s a huge mountain that was home to the horrendous battle of the Romans v. the Jews. There are two ways to access the top of the mountains, hiking or a cable car. Unfortunately, my dad’s knees don’t like those kinds of hikes and I like him more than getting to the top of that mountain. So we decided to take the cable car, but we showed up some 10 minutes after the last one departed. As sad as we were to have missed that we did spend a wonderful day swimming in the Dead Sea and the Ein Gedi springs.
So we wandered through the Masada Museum and learned all about the way of life of the people living on Masada before the Romans invaded. Unbelievably, they were living quite the cushy lifestyle for being isolated in the desert.
Our last stop on our tour of the Negev desert was to head back to Jerusalem and have a wonderful meal in the Old City. On our way we stopped at the Ahava store, the source of all Dead Sea mineral Ahava products in the world, and spent a little dough. But their stuff is sooo worth it! But on to Jerusalem, we ate at a wonderful restaurant called Gabriella’s. It was hands down the BEST meal we’ve had the whole trip!!! The food, the service, the ambiance, the people watching on the cobblestones, and the wonderful family together, was amazing! We wandered onto Ben-Yehuda Street (different than the one in Tel-Aviv) and just watched the scene. Thursday nights are the American equivalent to Friday nights, in that ANYONE who’s ANYONE is there to be and be seen! I took some great photos and some even funnier videos. We finally left late that night and headed home to Tel-Aviv, I was pooped but Noah continued on to be with a friend.
Off to the sack…good night!