For all the high-resolution photos from the Dead Sea: Click Here
The road from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea is a wild and winding one, filled with intermittent security checks, gas stations with camels you can ride, Arab, Jewish and nomadic Bedouin villages and more as the big capital city turns into the dessert. Nice and clean roads help with the smooth hour-plus ride and the scenes are absolutely breathtaking. Commonly referred to as “the Dead Sea” due to the high concentrations of naturally-occurring salt in the water prohibiting any animals from living in it, it is the lowest point on Earth and a unique and stunning place to visit.
The high concentration of salt makes you so buoyant you can float for days on the water. You wouldn’t want to, however, as the salt stings and burns everywhere! PRO-TIP: Men don’t shave your faces, ladies don’t shave your legs. Any open cuts or nicks will leave you stinging like nothing else. Also be sure to NOT dunk your face under the water. Your eyes will snap shut and you’ll be begging for fresh water to rinse them out.
Huge chunks of salt lay at the bottom so make sure you don’t cut your feet! You can pick up chunks as large as a basketball all around the Dead Sea. It’s really something to see. So after you get your float on, your skin will feel velvety smooth and it’s time for the famous Dead Sea Mud Bath. It’s supposed to be amazing for your skin, not so sure about that but it does feel great. After the mud dries, head back to the water to carefully (read: carefully) rinse it all off. There are fresh water showers all around the beach so hit that afterwards to get all the salt off your burning body.
After you rinse off the mud, you’ll feel baby-skin smooth. People come from all around the world to the Dead Sea for its healing attributes and the uniqueness of it all. I’ve been several times and each time I go it’s as good as the first time. Just make sure you rinse all over (ALL OVER) when you finish there. About 2 hours is good, as once your… private areas… start burning you’ll be aching for a cold shower. Next time I visit I plan on hitting it from the Jordanian side. The Israeli side has been developed much more however I’ve heard great things about hitting the Dead Sea from the east side of the sea.
For some high-resolution photos from the Dead Sea: Click Here
Tel Aviv has a magic and charm so great that I lived there for several years! A bustling and growing city located on the Mediterranean Sea, the sprawling mass of buildings and cars make it hard to believe that this entire area was swampland only 100 years ago. For a traveler passing through, Israel’s economic capital is quite pricey and the food and lodging is something you’ll have to plan for. The nightlife is incredible but you’ll have to spend your money wisely as a round of drinks for four can cost around 120 Israeli shekels ($30 USD) or more!
Awesome weather year-round makes Tel Aviv a perfect spot to spend a bit of time (with the partial exception of the ‘winter’ – basically half of January and February). Contrary to what you’ll hear daily in the media, Tel Aviv is incredibly safe and women routinely walk late at night through the entire city usually without any problem. As with all big cities, of course you should exercise caution and cab it if you must. Domestic crime other than petty theft or opportunistic thievery is quite rare (definitely don’t leave a bicycle unlocked!) which is a huge plus for extended stays in this city.
Tel Aviv is a huge vacation spot for tourists from all over the world. A day on the beach and you’ll hear Hebrew, American & British & South African and Australian accents, Russian, French, Arabic, Spanish, Italian and more! It’s considered the most inclusive city in the Middle East for all religions and is considered the Gay Capital of the Middle East. The annual Gay Pride Parade is really something to see even if that isn’t your persuasion. Parties around the clock keep everyone entertained and coffee shops are buzzing all day long.
I could write for days on the Bauhaus architecture that lines the city, on how Tel Aviv is a capital for world high-tech and startups, on the parks and incredible food… the list goes one. I’ll post more in the months coming up but for now I’ll leave you with some of my favorite cell phone shots from around the city.