We rented a car in Jerusalem and headed toward the Dead Sea. After a brief stop at Quamran, where the Dead Sea Scrolls were discovered, we headed to Ein Gedi Nature Reserve. The reserve is situated in the around an oasis in the desert mountains, and has several waterfalls that you can hike, with pools to swim in. It was so refreshing to take a dip in the fresh spring water after a hike through the 100+ degree heat! We also had our first sighting of the plentiful ibex that inhabit the area, and visited an ancient synagogue situated in the reserve as well.
From Ein Gedi we headed straight to the Dead Sea for dip in the water - if you can even call it that. Consisting of over 30% solid material, the sea has a very strange, almost oily consistency. It's also hot. Because we went in during the evening, the surface of the water was actually cooler than its depths. And, you definitely float in it - in fact, it is almost impossible to push yourself beneath the surface. If you stand straight up in it, you don't sink much past your nipples. Also, become acutely aware of any minor cuts or scrapes you might have in the salty water. It was a fun experience, but I am not sure I would want to spend much more than the 20 minutes in it!
Coming back from our float in the Dead Sea, we made the unpleasant discovery that our car had been robbed. They somehow forced open the passenger side door and took Gil's camera and all of the cash from his wallet. Since literally all of our belongings were in the car, we consider ourselves lucky that they didn't take anything else.
We wanted to report the robbery to the police (the locals we spoke to say this happens daily), so we embarked for the town of Arad where we spent the night getting over it.
The pictures in this posting represent things we did, but were not taken by us.