Taking it Easy



After some difficult weeks in which my OH was obliged to attend to structural damage to property of ours caused by an incompetent contractor working for a neighbor, I managed to persuade him to book us a weekend in a hotel by the Dead Sea, so that I could recover from that stressful time.

My ploy worked, and we were able to spend a couple of days on holiday from our hectic retirement schedule (courses given and attended). The hotels along the shore of the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth, offer a myriad of relaxing and invigorating treatments and delights, ranging from salt- and fresh-water swimming pools, the sea itself, as well as spas that offer all kinds of pampering designed to make the individual feel relaxed and rejuvenated.

The waters and minerals of the Dead Sea supposedly have all kinds of medical benefits, and in the past tourists from all over the world would come to experience the special ambience and treatments. I encountered very few foreign tourists on this particular weekend, though that doesn’t mean that they weren’t there, perhaps in other hotels.

The region has undergone extensive development in recent years so that in addition to a great many hotels there are now beautiful promenades and beaches providing shade and amenities as well as readily accessible paths along which sporty types can be seen taking their early-morning exercise, or simply walking, whether singly or in twos or threes.

Another feature of life by the Dead Sea is the plentiful food on offer in the hotels. The staff attending to the guests in the dining room of the hotel where we were staying were in evidence wherever one turned, clearing plates away, cleaning the tables and the floors, and providing service with a smile at all times.

Our room was spacious, the bed comfortable and the hotel showered us with treats, ranging from a bowl of fruit to chocolates, a cake and a bottle of wine. The view of the Dead Sea and the Mountains of Moav on the other side was a fascinating backdrop to our brief vacation, and the ever-changing scenery of the mountains constituted a challenge to my attempts to paint them, ranging from an indistinct blur in the morning to a spectacular pink and gold glow for five minutes in the afternoon reflected in the water as in a mirror. I tried to capture the effect in paint, but I fear that I failed miserably.

Nonetheless, it was a decidedly well-fed, rested and relaxed couple that drove back to Jerusalem on Sunday morning --  in stark contrast to the tense wretches who had made their way down to the sea on Thursday afternoon.