We crossed the border back into Israel and took a quick detour into Eilat to dip our toes into the Red Sea. While standing on the beach, looking to our left we saw Jordan. Looking to our right we saw Egypt.
Then we headed north to the Dead Sea and one of the highlights of our Israel trip. The Dead Sea is the saltiest sea on Earth with over 33% salinity and the lowest point on Earth at 400 meters below sea level. The high oxygen levels and minerals in the water make it popular spas. And bobbing like a cork is fun!
I was afraid that it would be novel rather than enjoyable, but in fact we loved floating and relaxing in the calm salty waters our first day. We stayed all afternoon bobbing in the water and soaking up some sun. While we received loads of warnings about the salty water causing small cuts to sting, it wasn’t that bad. However, the bottom of the sea is coated with sharp pointy salt crystal that really hurt to walk on. Top tip for dead sea visitors — bring some type of shoe to wear in the water.
The windy second day stirred up some waves that made it a bit tougher to relax in the water. You do not want to get the water on your face as it stings your eyes and lips. So we took our photos and then opted for the mud masks — from head to toe. The mud is supposed to have properties that make it attractive for spa treatments. It certainly did something — it is incredible how soft out skin felt. The hype about the dead sea treatments can’t be just hype.
While at the Dead Sea, we stayed at the Ein Gedi Kibbutz. A kibbutz is a commune and is a popular way of life in Israel. People have freedom to choose to live in the commune, unlike in communist nations, but as a part of the commune, they share in the work and belongings of the community. The kibbutz has morphed over the years, and many now cater to tourism.
Ein Gedi is actually an oasis. In the middle of the desert, there is a patch of lush green with waterfalls and pools. We hiked up in the afternoon for a dip.
We spent a night in Tel Aviv in between Nazareth and Petra and finished our trip with another night in Tel Aviv. Heading back from the Dead Sea, we took the highway through the West Bank. We didn’t venture to any Palestinian towns, but saw the fences and roadblocks imposed on the borders. It really left me with mixed feelings. We also some great signs while driving through the desert warning us of camels!
Back in Tel Aviv, this time we headed into town first. We visited the art museum where we saw pieces by Piccaso, Monet and Van Gogh and others. We ate frozen yoghurt Israeli style with fresh fruit toppings, wandered through the market and found an nice sidewalk restaurant for lunch. Then it was too the beach to catch our last rays, dip our toes in the Mediterranean one last time and watch the sunset on our Israel trip.