After a week of dining in some of Israel’s finest restaurants, meeting a number of inspirational business women, visiting the Biblical Zoo and the Design Museum, and so much more besides, there is one highlight which stands out above all else: the desert.
Rescue workers who patrol the region drove us through the area by jeep. For all its stunning scenery, the desert is also presents considerable dangers to those wishing to explore it. As we said goodbye our driver he was alerted to an incident near the spot we had just visited where assistance was needed.
The intensity of the heat meant we could only spend a short time outside, but that time was spent sitting in a ravine, eating fresh watermelon being serenaded by a French singer who had joined our party. I can think of no better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, or any afternoon in fact.
From there we visited the Ein Gedi kibbutz and botanical garden before experiencing the Dead Sea, and it really is an experience. For some, the Dead Sea - the lowest place on earth - is a place to relax and, literally, float.
Or, if you’re like me, you’ll lose your footing on the salt sea bed, then lose a shoe, and manage to float for a couple of minutes, in less than elegant fashion, before struggling to stand and make your way to the shore.
The Dead Sea - the world’s largest natural spa – is an exceptional place yet it is one that is under treat; the sea is shrinking and could dry up completely in the next 50 years unless a solution is found. As a result the tourism department is keen for visitors to vote for the Dead Sea as one of seven wonders of the natural world.
It would be such a shame to see it disappear altogether. And also, as I bore anyone who will listen about my visit to the Dead Sea, repeatedly, no doubt for the next couple of years, I’d like them to know the place I’m talking about before they insist I stop going on about it.