Once we crossed the border back into Israel, we headed for the Dead Sea, a lake with so much salt content that it’s practically impossible to sink, and we ended the day in Tel Aviv, a large, populous city on the Mediterranean coast.
The Dead Sea
It’s known as the Dead Sea because there isn’t any macroscopic aquatic life in the lake due to the high levels of salt in the water. The high levels of salt make it super easy to float in the water – it’s literally impossible to sink. It was kind of tough to hang out in the water though – February is not a good time of year for lounging in the water.
The Dead Sea is located between Israel, Jordan and the West Bank. Theoretically, one could swim from one side to the other without worrying about drowning, but it is a lengthy 15km swim. Not something I’d try, and besides, there’s probably patrols that would stop people from doing that.
The mud here supposedly has health benefits because it has an abundance of certain minerals. We saw people spread the mud all over themselves to reap the benefits of the mud. I tried a little bit on my hands and arms, but the mud just dried out my skin a lot – yeah not doing that again…
From the Dead Sea our tour took us to Tel Aviv. What took me by surprise was how much of a beach city it was!
We spent our day in Tel Aviv on the “Shabbat”, the Jewish day of rest, so a lot of places were closed. But we did find some nice meals though!
This is shakshouka, dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce, olive oil and spices. It tastes really similar to tomato sauce, but the poached egg makes everything so much better!
This is a beef tagine, a dish originating from North Africa, but it’s also common in Israel. The name tagine is cooked using a special pot of the same name. Tagines come in many varieties, but they are often savoury stews served with couscous and other vegetables.
And of course, there’s hummus! It’s savoury dish made from cooked, mashed chickpeas blended with other aromatics. The place we went to advertised itself as “the second best hummus in Tel Aviv”. So… what’s the first best hummus in Tel Aviv? I still don’t know the answer, but maybe it’s the one that’s homemade in a local’s home? This is literally the best hummus I’ve ever had, and I’ll compare all the hummus I eat in the future to this one.
That’s pretty much it for Tel Aviv and the Dead Sea – and our two-week trip! We headed to the airport three hours early (Ben Gurion Airport is notorious for having really strict security). There were multiple checkpoints and at one point, a member of the airport security staff asked us to follow him and as we walked he asked us some questions and let us go. The staff checked every nook and cranny of our bags and all of the electronics we had on us before letting us go. From there, we began our journey home.
Photos: Tel Aviv, and the Dead Sea