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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Israel! The Dead Sea & The Negev!

(Note: my lapse in blogging has been due to an epic computer crash which disappeared  over 10 years worth of our business, government, legal, and personal emails, files, and documents. We had paid and relied on Carbonite to back us up, but they lied. They took our money, repeatedly stated our computer was backed up, but didn't do it, and when we and our tech attempted to work with them to recover our documents and files, told us to lump it and hung up on him twice. In our opinion they are criminals, and we are advising everyone we know: DO NOT USE CARBONITE).

As readers of this blog know, Dan & I spent a glorious month in Israel in March and April of this year thanks to Dan rather miraculously winning us tickets from American Associates of Ben Gurion University of the Negev!  My first Israel blog posts were about our days in Tel Aviv, our excellent "foodie" cooking and architecture tour of Tel Aviv and Jaffo with Israel Food Tours, our Israel Railways train travel to Beersheva and our day at Ben Gurion University. From Beersheva, we drove our rental car thru the glorious mountains of the Negev desert down to Ein Bokek on the Dead Sea, basically my favorite place in the world! I have Psoriasis, and 30 days at the Dead Sea clears it totally (as well as healing rheumatoid arthritis and other ailments); when I lived in Israel I tried to spend a month there every year. When I was a soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, the Army even sent me to the Dead Sea for 30 days! I hadn't been home in 15 years, and it was a joy to be able to share the Dead Sea and its healing air and water with Dan! Driving through the Negev, we discovered, to our delight, that every gas station now has an espresso machine and makes Cafe Hafouch, a.k.a. cappuccino!
We spent 3 nights at the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea in Ein Bokek, and the high-floor room we had, with a glorious balcony overlooking the Dead Sea, was wonderful! This was one of our "splurges", as I wanted to be in a hotel right on the Dead Sea beach, so we could truly enjoy the little time we had to spend there, and the Crowne Plaza is one of the few that offers that. I booked this hotel stay with, which had the best deal I could find. This was my first time using Priceline, and I was scared! The booking was paid for in advance and nonrefundable, and I had visions of turning up & having the hotel deny I'd made a reservation, but everything went perfectly, the service at the hotel was wonderful, and I must say I was impressed and will use them again!

Soldier's Memorial overlooking the Dead Sea

Roadside Memorial

Dan, on the road to the Dead Sea...

The Negev...

Elisse & Dan in the Negev!

The Dead Sea, The Negev

The Negev

Spectacular view from our room at the Crowne Plaza Dead Sea

Floating in the indoor Dead Sea pool!

Sunrise from our balcony...

From our balcony...

Dead Sea canal thru the Negev...

Cleopatra & Marc Anthony!
Dead Sea Mud at Ein Gedi Spa Beach

Floating in the Dead Sea!
Lunch at the Ein Gedi Dead Sea Spa!

Dan & Mrs Lot!

Gas Station cappuchino breakfast!

Moonlight on the Dead Sea from our balcony...

The room we had was lovely, and I still dream about the sunrises and sunsets from our balcony! Oh, to have 30 days there to clear my skin again! The first thing we did was go floating in the indoor Dead Sea pool at the hotel, quite a novelty for me, as when I was last at the Dead Sea the hotels didn't have indoor pools! Dan had never floated in the Dead Sea before, and so for him this was an extraordinary experience- there is truly nothing else like it in the world! We had wine in the evening on the hotel's balcony overlooking the sea, and the next day we went to the Ein Gedi Spa, so we could do the mud, a la Cleopatra! (The free tubs of mud that used to be along the sea side are no more :-( and the Spa was the only place I could find that still had them). We spent a wonderful, relaxing day there, floating in the sea & enjoying the beach, having lunch outside among the flowers followed by massages, and giving ourselves full-body "facials" with the famous Dead Sea mud!
We stayed at the beach until the very last "train" back to the spa, as I couldn't bear to leave- I wanted to spend as much time as possible soaking up the healthy goodness of the Dead Sea!

Elisse, in a state of Utter Bliss...

Next: Masada!

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