J left to buy groceries for our trip this morning. A cooler and beach towels. We made sandwiches, snacks and packed for 3 days. It didn't help that the washer/dryer takes 3 hours to do one load 1/3 of the size of our home loads:) By 1:50pm we were on the road...only 3 hours after we had hoped!
We plugged our first destination into N'avi...our Israel GPS. It has this great feature that avoids areas we want to avoid for safety reasons...except, that when it asks- do you still want to avoid the area, because I am going to send you that way...it doesn't re-route. It stops all together!
This was a "feature" we didn't realize until we were lost in the middle of Jerusalem!
I must say the kids were amazing! They had this imaginative game going on with each of them having their own worlds...with portal's into Bob's "String World" which was under attack- they were coming to help him. J wondered when it would all end in a world war...but they did REALLY well, for hours.
We made it to the Dead Sea - Yam Ha'melach by 4:30pm. We had a few options that the tour book said would still be open.
One was Kalya, a name I fondly and remember from my childhood visits to Israel. We decided that is where we would go.
I remembered it as an amazing water-park over looking the dead sea. It was the first time I was introduced to the fantastic word... "Glitch Glatch" - water-slide!
I remember taking Lolo and Unc on the slides. Carrying the tubes up with them...waiting on line...and as we came down the slide taking in the breathtaking views of the Dead Sea below...and Jordan across the way.
What a shock it was for me to see what we saw! I didn't see the bungalow on the side of the road, nor the oasis I was expecting..nor children and their tubes on the ladders.
There emptied out shells of huts- without doors or windows, there were some trees- but far from the oasis of soft grass and palm trees...but worse yet were the abandoned ladders and water-slides...sadly standing tall the way they did 18+ years ago...but the shiny yellow and blue slides looked worn and dilapidated...the ladders looked broken and dangerous.
We continued passed the park of yesterday to the area by the sea. It was pretty- and had a beautiful view...they were even building new shops and spa...but it wasn't what I had expected.
Thank god I had not put any expectations out there for the kids. I told them what had been, even pointed out the slides...but we moved on to our destination...and the ONE place Puppy said he wanted to go- INTO the Dead Sea!
We made our way down, explaining the rules to the kids. The view was breathtaking!
The Dead Sea is below sea level - this bar on the way down to water was -418 meters!
We all immersed. Bean and I were the only ones not to partake in the mud...sometimes I really do think she is my kid:)
After we had had enough- 45 minutes later we climbed back up the steps for a much needed water and ice cream break.
A few hours later we are all now bedded down for the night in the Masada Youth Hostel at the foot of Masada. Our alarms are set for 4:30am so that we can do the climb in time for sunrise.