Hot Springs

Dead Sea Travel Blog

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This is where the scrolls were discovered
One of the most memorable experiences during my vegan Israeli odyssey was soaking hot springs and then cooling off in the dead sea in the nude late at night under the clear moon and starlit sky.

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.
A ritual bath for the Dead Sea Sect. The men would walk through this at certain points in the day to spiritually cleanse themselves.
More on that later..

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.
Start my slowly walking backwards into the sea and lower oneself into the water by bending the knees until the current of the water can be clearly felt. Then slowly lean back and bring the feet up.. While serenely floating under the moonlit sky I could feel the warm and cool currents move and swirl beneath me and was very fortunate to see two shooting stars above me. the whole experience was simply divine. I did not want to leave.. I still close my eyes and try to feel the cool evening breeze against my body as I hop between the cool sea and hot springs.

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.
I think the DS would have been great with a suit on as well, but the moment would not be nearly as exhilarating as it was bare.

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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Environmental earthsite specific sculpture
I loved loved loved the Dead Sea area of Israel!!

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.
To get to the beach itself you will need to walk down a short stoney hill and through some desert shrubbery. Along the way it will be easy to spot several remains of bonfires from earlier visitors. Sadly the litter is also easy to notice.... and not very hippish!! The beach itself was gorgeous!! There was a clear view of Jordan from across sea and the water was full of movement (from what I was told I the sea is usually dead calm). There were some very interesting mud formations created by the sea that could easily be described as sculptural. One formation in particular possessed a feminine essence, kinda reminded me of the primitive "venus" carvings from our earliest ancestors. Be careful when walking around the beach. There were some muddy areas that were easy to step and slip in if your not paying attention, though slipping in mudd can be quite fun :P.


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..




The mud formation that reminded me of primitive "Venus" carvings
Before leaving the Dead Sea area of Israel my friend and I stopped at the Qumran National Park to have a view of where the Dead Sea scrolls were discovered and to walk around the village ruins of the Dead Sea Sect, A hermit community thought to be responsible for writing and later hiding the scrolls. The Qumran National Park is small and interesting to see. When the weather is nice I believe you can then walk past the ruins and closer to the area where the scrolls were actually discovered. However due to the rains in Jerusalem causing possible desert flooding, the outside area of the ruins was off limits. The whole experience didn't take too long since we opted out of the guided tour (I was never one to follow crowds and pay attention to guides).
mud formations created by the sea
Most of our time was actually spent talking to one of the employees that I had met the previous night at out CS host's home. I did get some decent photos of the area and hopefully the next time I visit I will be able to walk and explore the area past the ruins...

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:

http://www.parks.org.il/ParksENG/company_card.php3?CNumber=853401
This is where the scrolls were dis…
This is where the scrolls were di…
A ritual bath for the Dead Sea Sec…
A ritual bath for the Dead Sea Se…
Environmental earthsite specific s…
Environmental earthsite specific …
The mud formation that reminded me…
The mud formation that reminded m…
mud formations created by the sea
mud formations created by the sea
A tire left behind by an earlier v…
A tire left behind by an earlier …
Israeli Dead Sea shore line.
Israeli Dead Sea shore line.
A lovely rainbow in the background…
A lovely rainbow in the backgroun…
Mud patterns
Mud patterns
mud patterns
mud patterns
beach shrubbery
beach shrubbery
The cute little drink stand locate…
The cute little drink stand locat…
A view of Jordan.
A view of Jordan.
Me standing near Lots Wife
Me standing near "Lot's Wife"
Dead Sea
photo by: cotton_foam