After a good night’s rest and breakfast buffet (very vegetarian) at the Prima Kings Hotel in Jerusalem, we board our mini bus for the 1 hour drive to Dead Sea. We end up using a seaside resort by the name of Kalia Beach for access to the Dead Sea. From the parking lot it is a long way down to the actual water; I understand that the Dead Sea has retreated more than 60 meters in the past years. The Dead Sea is about 430 meters below sea level and considered to be the lowest above water point on Earth, There is a full bar and restaurant at the top near the restrooms and changing rooms. A few Euros get’s you a towel, so that was easy, and I proceed down and down the stairs and platforms to the current “beach” area. The temperature is already around 92F and it is a hot day! Luckily there is some tent like covered areas a few feet back from the water.
I get ready to enter the mineral salt Dead Sea and surprisingly the water temp is comfortable but finding a good route into the water around the shale rocks and soft mud takes a few minutes. As promised you cannot sink and you float above the water with your feet sticking straight up, as it is almost 10 times more salty than the oceans. The real challenge actually happens when you want to stand up again and have to force your lower half of your body down into bottom to stand up! There are indeed warning signs to not float on your stomach as the risk to swallow some this “bad” water is riskier and could be very bad for you. Right at the edge of the water is a fresh water shower to immediately rinse off! Many people believe the mud has minerals good for your skin and face, so you could see several of my travel companions do so. Looking around there is not much to see, just the far shore in the distance is the country of Jordan.
We only have a few hours to enjoy the Dead Sea, so after about 30 minutes in the water I feel like it is enough and head back to the top for clothes changing and a cold beer!
Our drive back through the West Bank and along coast of the Sea of Galilee is interesting and we are headed to an Israeli Kibbutz for lunch near the town of Tiberias. What is a Kibbutz? A Kibbutz is defined as communal farming communities that were started in 1909 and there are almost 300 of these scattered around Israel. They produce a lot of the agricultre used for the country and exported to other countries. It provides a location for families to live, work, educate, and eat communally. We were treated to a very nice buffet lunch that provides a nutritious meal of salads, chicken, and fish dishes. All very good!
Back on the minibus we head to the city of Nazareth (now we are in Palestine) which includes the Church of Annuciation and St Joseph. The Basilica of the Annuciation is where Gabriel the Angel appeared before the Virgin Mary to tell her that she was to concieve and bear the Son of God, Jesus. The courtyard in front of the church is a collection of mosiac murals from many countries around the world. The access to the place below the Basilica of the Annuciation is very narrow, small, and crowded. As I think back, probably the place where I contracted the positive test on my Covid test the last evening? Every religious significant place in Christian history has a large church of Basilica built on top of the site, making it difficult to get to that exact spot.
We travel back to the coast to meet the NCL Jade in Haifa, it’s next port made overnight. I reflect on this 2-day “Path of Jesus Adventure”, as I will call it, and I come to realization that the interpetations of the Bible, the Koran, the Testaments, the Torah, and any other religious writings all started here in this very interesting country we now call Israel! Whatever your religious beliefs might be, it is a definitely worth a trip to this country and the travel back in time.