Saturday, September 23, 2017

Trip Day 21 - desert drive and Dead Sea floating

Official itinerary:
Judean Desert off-road adventure • Ein Gedi Nature Reserve
This morning, we embark upon an off-road adventure in the Judean Desert. We’ll ride 4x4 vehicles among stunning canyons, erosion craters, and dry riverbeds and experience the landscape up close. We’ll break for a picnic lunch in the desert.

In the afternoon, we head to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve, where we’ll visit its lush oasis and embark on a short hike. This evening we’ll enjoy dinner together at our hotel.

*  *  *  *  *

Thursday September 21

I woke up at 6 am, looked out of the window and decided I needed to take a photo. 



Our hotel is a pretty big resort. Actually it used to be two and is now combined. The other opens for breakfast earlier. 8 am is just too late. So that's where we are going. 
So much food but the bread is not so good. We are told that most guest are from Russia and catered too. Most of the help too and they are not friendly and helpful either. Not what we have experienced so far when everybody was so nice. 







We almost forgot. Today better not take this elevator. 



The group was devided into 4 jeeps, 4 in each and the driver. It was cozy in the back 3 across. We wanted to seatbelt ourselves but they didn't work too well so we gave up and decided the drivers should be really good anyway. And they couldn't go fast anyway. Our Jeep was a toyota from 1986. 



First and only animal during the whole trip was this lizard on a rock. Except for flies. 



James sat in front so most photos are from him. 
It started fairly wide and flat but soon turned into narrow lines zig-zagging around. 





First stop and get out. The leader explains to us the one side is just rock and the other side is salt. 
Since it hasn't rained for almost a year he pours some water over a rock and you can see it. It must look magical after a rain. 









 



The drivers are not going fast but we are bumped around quite nicely. 
Wait until I can upload the videos. Oh my ...





Another stop. What a view. We get the explanations of the Dead Sea situation. It gets deader every year. 



 







We drive and have a glimpse of the big plant which extracts the minerals. 





Another stop to look at Lot's wife. Old Testament. They were warned to leave Sodom before it gets destroyed but not to look back or would turn into a pillar of salt. Well, there she is. 





And some more bumping around. 


 


And then it was time for a picnic lunch. A nice shady place unter a tree. 



Somebody built a fortress on top of this and I think it was the Romans. 



Because they also needed water they built a dam to catch the water which pours down once or twice a year and stored it in cisterns. 



But our drivers had brought water, also in form of lemonade and a nice little picnic. 







And as fast as it had appeared it also disappeared. 



And then back to the hotel. 



I was fascinated by the salt crystals. Wished I could have gotten closer. 



Of course now was the really hottest time so we just chilled in our room, caught up on blogging etc. 
But then we had to do the "floating". We were not quite sure how to do it since we did have to walk across the street. It is easier for men. We had seen a lot using the robes provided by the hotel. So I did. With a plastic bag to keep some things like the phone (camera) dry and salt free. 
Looks ridiculous. 



James first. 





I asked him where his newspaper was. 



The water is amazingly clear. 



Once you are wet it's not so easy to trade jobs. The skin is funny. But it was my turn now. 





Gosh, I felt like a fool. I couldn't "unfloat". Couldn't get my feet on the floor and stand up. James had to give me a hand. Of course it is even more difficult when you start laughing. 

We managed to get rinsed off and relocated to the hotel pool. 

Of course the first thing James realized after he had jumped into the deep end was that he had forgotten to take his glasses of. It took three dives to the bottom of the 2 m. 







Dinner (I better hike that off next week).





Afterwards we had a farewell meeting because 2 from the group will leave before tomorrow's dinner. 







We talked about what we had done every day. The highlights. The lowlights. There was even a little test. We had fun. By now we are comfortable teasing each other. 

And this happened to be on my Facebook. Screenshot!



So appropriate!