08 September 2009

Dead Sea delights

Before heading off to the Dead Sea we checked out Karak Castle. It's another thousand year old crusader castle standing halfway between Shobak and Jerusalem. Si and I weren't too impressed with the castle but it did have some great views of the surrounding area which is the alleged location of Sodom and Gomorrah!

It was a fantastic drive from Karak, at over 1000m, down to the dead sea which is 400m below sea level, the lowest point on Earth. It's strange to think that all the boats in the world were floating above our heads! As you drive along the Dead Sea Highway you can see the salt crusting on the cliffs below.

Thanks to Si's Mom and Dad being very generous and giving us some money for a treat, we were able to stay at the very lovely Movenpick Resort and Spa. The hotel is very luxurious and set in large gardens which drop down to the sea and include four different pools.

We couldn't wait to get into the sea and try bobbing about. No matter how hard he tries Si can't ever seem to be able to float, however he floated like the best of them in the Dead Sea! It is a very strange sensation indeed, you literally can't sink. The water is up to 31% salt, 9 times that of normal sea water. If you were to get any in your eye or if you have any cuts it would be quite painful. It didn't mention in the guide books that 31% salt can also be rather uncomfortable on the more delicate body parts, so watch out! You can't really swim in the dead sea, if you try and do breast stroke the buoyancy of the water just flips you onto your back. As you can see below we did the time honored reading of the paper whilst bobbing about.

The hotel also supplied a big tub of mud. Dead Sea mud is supposed to be full of all sorts of minerals supposedly good for your health. I don't know about that but it was fun to get muddy and slap some on anyway.

We really tried to make the most of staying somewhere so nice. We sampled all of the pools, had some of the Movenpick's best ice cream, captured all of the free toiletries, soaked up the satellite tv, walked round in the robes and took our first bath in a very long time! We also thought they had left a box of chocolates in the room. Imagine our disappointment to open them and find dates, horrifying! We did however find a pillow menu. Yes, at the Movenpick you can ring housekeeping and choose between 10 different pillow types. Now that's choice for you.

We had a good meal at the resort's Italian restaurant and they served alcohol, but i think i must have the smallest glass of wine i have ever seen. However we made up for it at the buffet breakfast, we ate that much we doubted even the dead sea could keep us afloat! We were very sad to leave the Movenpick and head back to our normal backpacker type accommodation where even toilet paper, towels and sheets are sometimes seen as optional luxury extra items.

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