Traveling south along the shoreline of the Dead Sea from Lido Beach always brings back unforgettable childhood memories. Then, weeks after the Six Day War,I visited the Lido luxurious Jordanian hotel at the northern end of the sea. A road was paved to Ein Peshcha and it was possible to enjoy an immersion experience of the freshs spring water merging with the salty sea waters. The sweet salty connection etched my memory. The blue sea was then full and impressive. Great memories.
The Dead Sea is shrinking
Since then so many years have passed and the sights of childhood are left only in mind. The sea is shrinking and dries at a frightening speed. In the northern section it can hardly be seen and only when approaching Ein Gedi and the road winding up the ridge, a more optimistic picture is obtained. If the road had been paved in recent years, it certainly would not have had to be turned up. It was possible to continue south at a lower location on safety concrete piles. The tranquility, the wilderness, the colors of the blue sea with the drying salt are breathtaking, but so sad.
During my studies at the Hebrew University, when I lived in Jerusalem – my hometown, the escape east to the Dead Sea was frequent. The choice was for Jericho to wipe hummus and slide in the narrow concrete canal of the Uja Stream, or south to Ein Gedi for a hike in Nahal David and Nahal Arugot streams. Today the first option does not come up at all. The territory is in the hands of the Palestinian Authority and no one is willing to turn a trip experience to a question mark. Ein Gedi remains a popular option. Excursions to springs, streams, water ponds and tiny waterfalls in the heart of the arid wilderness were frequent and full of happiness. Later came the visits and stays in Ein Gedi kibbutz, which I always preferred on a stay in the Ein Bokek hotels.
David water fall – Ein Gedi
This week I returned to Ein Gedi with my partner, who was born in Israel in the Sharon area, but it turns out that she is not familiar with this area. Full of excitement I returned to walk in familiar districts. The Nature Reserves Authority has made the visit to Nahal David an amazing experience, accessible to almost everyone and special in nature. The ibexes that used to hide away from sight, walk around with no fear and their quantity is quite large. A variety of small waterfalls await everyone to enjoy the cool and fresh water. A compensation for the disappointing sign forbidding immersion in the pond of the rather powerful waterfall of David. Not many years ago we used to bath in the cool water enjoying the water falling on our shoulders.
The ibexes that used to hide away from sight, walk around with no fear
The car climbed on the winding road to the kibbutz on the way to the hotel. Same curvy road. Loud noise from the Industrial chicken houses was a childhood memory. Years later the chicken vanished and rusty houses remained. This week the rusty structures disappeared and only their concrete ramps remained. A strange sight.
My beloved hotel remained, scattered over large areas dipped in greenery, with ancient baobab trees and desert flowers. A real oasis. The room where we stayed was clean and compact with an adjoining garden, overlooking the arid mountains. Meals in the hotel’s dining room remained as they were. Rich and basic. Who needs more? In the morning we enjoyed shakshuka,a salad and an outdoor coffee while the view of the powerful mountains leaves us speechless.
My beloved hotel remained, scattered over large areas dipped in greenery
I was looking for the old bus painted blue to hop on on the way to the hot springs and the beach , to enjoy the sea water and smear mud all over our bodies. The purpose is to be photographed on camera with Agfa or Kodak films and wait a week for the prints. Today, occupying a state-of-the-art iPhone the photos are instant, but the bus is no longer there for years . Its out of service due to old age. Ein Gedi hot springs are temporary closed. Tourists from Europe, that need the dead sea for their skin psoriasis do not come because of airport covid 19 restrictions. Since the sea has receded further east, the Kibbutz faces a difficult economic challenge for the future
. Born in the ossis – General Manager Tom Geva
I was looking for Zalman’s cactus farm, an initiative of kibbutz member Zalman Dagmi. I loved enjoying the variety of plants in his compound. Unfortunately the farm is gone as well and the plans are now scattered all over the hotel and the kibbutz, branded as a botanical garden. Nice.
The spacious swimming pool in the shade of the trees and at the foot of the mountains remains the attraction I really missed. On a sunbed overlooking the dying sea and the mountains of Moab I was contemplating on my fortunate unforgettable vacation that connects past and present.
Guests can stay in the hotel for days to unwind, enjoy relaxation and peace of mind at reasonable prices driving back home charged with energy is a wonderful gift.
Photos and video by Motti Verses