Dead Sea Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
The hot springs didn't look like much from the main road at first and driving down a rocky dirt path in a small non 4 wheel drive car to get a bit closer for the short hike down a rocky ledge was an adventure in its own right. My dear Israeli friend accidently stepped in a huge and very deep mud puddle and I was sure that we were going to fall through the ground. I noticed what looked like vast open spaces beneath the rocks we were walking on and there have been an issue of sink holes appearing through the area for the past ten years due to the draining of the sea for commercial uses.
The hot springs were about 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees fahrenheit). You can feel every little nick and scratch in your skin tingle and burn as you step into the spring and squish through the hot mud under the water's surface (be careful that you don't slip on a rock or get the water in your eyes). the view from the springs was fantastic. We could watch the headlights of cars driving along the road on the Israeli side and the flickering lights of the small shore towns located across the sea in Jordan with out being noticed by anyone. It was like going to our own personal outdoor spa.
After soaking in the hot and somewhat muddy springs we then braved the chilly air to walk the 25 feet to the Dead Sea itself for a cool down and a lesson in how to properly float in the DS from my friend.
interacting with nature is always amazing but being free of clothing during the interaction brings the experience to a whole new level. Shedding the many layers of clothing, in my opinion, is like shedding the many layers of stress and negative social burdens imposed on our daily lives while bringing us closer to the environment.
Please note that my friend and I were the only ones there and far away from peering eyes of more conservative people. As much as I would love for people to walk around naked in public, I fully respect that many individuals are very conservative and may feel deeply uncomfortable with public nudity. Therefore I don't recommend stripping off around unknown persons, but if you should find yourself alone or with those of similar thinking then go for it!! :P
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My fellow vegan traveler and I couch surfed at a nearby Kibbutz and spend the day and part of the evening exploring the are shore line of the Dead Sea. It was an amazing experience. I was particularly amazed with how much vegetation was growing in the desert surrounding the sea. Small organic farms were successfully growing various veggie goods. I have seen plenty of vegetation growing in arid climates in the states, but the vegetation growing in the Israeli desert seemed to be more lush and alive.
We first drove along the shore line to what is commonly referred to as "Hippie Beach". entrance to the beach is located on Rt 90 just before the security check point. There is a SMALL section for parking and a little drink stand run by a cute little elderly man.
When we went there was no one hanging around. Mostly because it is winter over there and the weather was chilly with small rain showers.. I can imagine that the beach would be a hot spot during the warmer months. Very pretty site to explore and photograph. What I really liked about the beach is that it wasn't attached to a hotel like the beaches located further south. Though the Hotels are very nice looking and I am sure they are a real pleasure for a stay. I personally think that a more natural then commercial experience at the sea would be far more invigorating and memorable then the luxury of expensive hotels and resorts..
For additional information about the park please check the following site: http://mosaic.lk.net/g-qumran.html
After leaving Qumran National Park we headed to Masada.. However we were TEN minutes late for the last tour to the top of the mountain.. Very sad.. I would have really liked to have seen the ruins of Masada's desert fortress, but I only have myself to blame. I took to long in getting up and ready for the day, plus I forgot that it was Friday and most national parks close early so people can observe their sabbath customs.. The surrounding area was beautiful and still worth the trip :P. I will just have to add Masada to my list of things to do during my next Israeli Odyssey :P
You can check out the following site for information regarding the history and significance of Masada including park hours so that you won't be an idiot like me and miss a really cool experience :P: