A Trip to Jordan: The Dead Sea

The boys had their Spring Break late this year, since the break in Spain is really based on the Easter holiday (called “Semana Santa” or Holy Week in Spain), which was in mid-April.  The timing worked well for us to head to one place that has been near the top of my “to visit” list for a few years now – Jordan!  The country is full of amazing sites, it is far from anywhere we have been before, and is an oasis of peace in a volatile region.

Dead Sea

IMG_1420.JPGOur first stop was the Dead Sea.  It is only about an hour from the airport in Amman, so I figured that was a great place to go after an early morning wake up to fly from Milan (we flew from Malaga to Milan the previous night).  We landed before noon, and were at our resort, the Holiday Inn Resort Dead Sea, and checked into our room by 1:30pm.

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View from the balcony of our hotel room

However, the hour and a half between landing and arriving at the resort was quite a crash course in driving in Jordan!  We learned that lanes don’t really mean anything, speed bumps come up in the strangest places (the middle of the highway with nothing nearby) and without warning, and what google maps considers the “best” way to get somewhere may not be what we consider the best way (tiny winding potholed roads without signs and in the middle of nowhere weren’t really our preference – we’d rather take the slower route if that meant smoother driving).  Also, driving a rental car with 180,000 KM on it that could barely make it up some of the hills didn’t help things at all (more about adventures with our rental car later).

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Really, Google Maps!? Is this really the best way for us to get from the airport to the Dead Sea? Somehow, I think not!

But at least we got great views as we headed down to the Dead Sea (fun fact: it is the lowest point on earth – once we got into the sea, my phone showed us at 1,414 feet BELOW sea level.

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At least our crazy route gave us these beautiful views as we wound down to our resort

Back to the resort – it was full of pools, but of course, first thing we had to do was take a swim in the Dead Sea!IMG_1321But before we could get in, we had to cover ourselves in the magical Dead Sea mud, full of all sorts of healthy minerals. IMG_1337 (2)

Then we jumped into the sea to wash off and try floating.  Well, A and I did anyway.  N & L were pretty hesitant to try it, and C was in charge of photos.

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It really does feel strange. Standing up, it just feels like normal water, but if you kick your feet up and just relax backwards, your feet will come popping up and it does have a weird sensation of the water pushing you up.

Finally, we basically forced the other boys in (“this is your one chance in your life to do this! By the time you are older the Dead Sea may be dried up and you will never get the experience!*” “We are making you come in for your own good!”). *note, we later learned that, though the Dead Sea is evaporating by around 1 meter (3ft) per year (and you can see prior year’s water levels in lines on the beach), it will eventually reach an equilibrium at a lower level around 2400, whereby annual rainfall will maintain it at that (much smaller) level.

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Photographic proof he was in the water, but he was NOT happy about it. Even though he was very happy that the Dead Sea is too salty to support any fish, so he didn’t have to worry about that.
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He was testing the buoyancy of the water by remaining as tense as possible, but he did eventually relax and enjoy floating.

Meanwhile…..

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In the Dead Sea, it isn’t recommended that you get your face wet, so we didn’t spend too long in it, just long enough to float around a bit, then we left for the swimming pools.  Luckily there were tons of them at our resort, and we had one just about to ourselves.

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After some swimming, we ate at the poolside bar (food = just okay and pretty expensive), then went to bed early, since we were tired from our early morning.  The next morning, we left right after breakfast, because there was more of Jordan to see!! (and honestly, on the resort we were pretty removed and didn’t feel at all like we were experiencing any of the “real” Jordan.

Our next stop was the Dead Sea Panoramic Complex, which housed the Dead Sea Museum.  I love a good museum and this one was very small, but also quite interesting.  The Dead Sea is a pretty fascinating topic, both in how it was created (earthquakes, springs from below ground and from when the Red Sea was larger), where it is located (not only geographically separating Jordan and Israel, but also that it is the lowest point on earth), its salt and minerals in the water, and how quickly it is drying up.

The entire complex was 2JD (about $2.82) to get in (unless you are Jordanian, Arab or a child, then it is just 1JD), and it also included a walk and some fantastic views over the Dead Sea and a restaurant.IMG_1393.JPG

IMG_1402.JPGAfter the walk, we ate at the restaurant.  The food was decent and not too expensive (Jordan wasn’t cheap overall, so “not too expensive” to us was more than Spain prices but roughly the same as US prices).  IMG_1412.JPG

We spent our first 24 hours in Jordan at the Dead Sea, and after the trip was done, the boys mentioned it as a favorite of our whole trip. However, there was lots more to do, so after the Dead Sea we continued on towards Petra.

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