Yes, since we were in Jerusalem…we started our morning at that same small coffee shop…if it’s not broken don’t fix it right? After coffee we went straight to the Jerusalem market. Today we are driving out to the Desert. We will be staying out there for a couple nights so need to buy some picnic type foods.
It was much less crowded at the market but still had several people purchasing their own items. We took lots of pictures and bought all kinds of goodies; fresh veggies (the tomatoes here are such a vibrant red), herbs, fruits, nuts, bread, cookies, halva (a dry, sweet, crumbly sesame based dessert), granola, fresh pasta noodles, and a couple of cheeses. With our arms full of stuff, we decided to stop for lunch before getting on the road. Candice and I went to a small vegetarian restaurant we were told about and ordered huge yummy salads with all kinds of sprouts, nuts and organic veggies. Giff and Ayal went to a street vendor who is known for what they call the Jerusalem mix…where they cook the hearts and spleen of the chicken mixed with beef and chicken meat…all tossed together and thrown in a pita-check out the video below.
We all finished our lunch, grabbed a couple of bottles of wine and got in the car to go straight to the Dead Sea. The terrain drastically changed from green trees and flowers to sandy dunes of the Judean desert. You could literally look behind you and see green and in front of you all sand. After a few hours of driving through all desert with only small little shacks here and there we started to see the sea. At first it was only glimpses but the closer we got the more beautiful it was…imagine seeing all sand-a light brown tone everywhere and then all of a sudden a large body of water so still it looked like glass and the atmosphere around it was so thick you could almost touch it. It was so beautiful and calming. The pictures in our slide show can’t even do it justice. It’s not really a fog above it…just thick air. This is the lowest point on all of earth at 1,385 ft below sea level. Almost nothing can live in the dead sea because the salt content is so high only a couple of types of bacteria and one algae. However for humans, the minerals seem to be very healing. People travel from around the world to soak in this water and heal skin ailments such as psoriasis.
We parked the car and entered the beach area, put our bathing suits on and went straight into the water. This is no ordinary experience. The water has such high salt content that you cannot get it anywhere close to your eyes…no dunking your head completely in and because it is so dense with such high mineral content it keeps you completely boyant…you float around whether you want to or not…it is really cool. It’s as if you have a floating raft under you but you don’t. We floated in our own spaces, kind of allowing ourselves to be serene and peaceful. There were large sandy mountainous type cliffs surrounding the dead sea and the massive body of water was both on the Israel and Jordan border.
After soaking in the sea we floated over to the mud area, past the big salt blocks in the water and walked up to the mud pit. The mud is supposed to be very healthy due to the minerals and is actually sold in masks and soap bars through cosmetic companies. We rubbed it all over us and let it soak in for a bit before rinsing. It was right around this point where Giff had some of the water from his hair drip into his eyes and couldn’t open them because it stung so much. Ayal took his hand and walked him with his eyes shut to a shower to rinse the salt away. Once the mud masks were rinsed off, we went for a quick dip in the sulfur pools located at the beach entrance which is also supposed to be very healthy for the skin.
After our spa day on the beach, we got back in the car to drive straight up the mountain right across the street from the Dead Sea. Once at the top, there was a gate…we were let in and shown our “room”. These ended up being a type of tent…the view was breathtaking…literally sitting in the tent and looking out, we were front in center of the Dead Sea from above. However…we didn’t realize this was a campsite of sorts. The tent had four flat camping mattresses laying side by side and that was really all there was room for inside. There were no pillows or blankets but luckily we had purchased food from the market so lit a fire, took out the food to make a spread and enjoyed the surroundings while we ate and drank wine together.
After creating our own entertainment on the mountain we went to sleep hoping one of the million mosquitos would leave us alone throughout the night.