Before leaving Tel Aviv, I called Avis to find out if their Tel Aviv offices had a minivan like the one I ordered. One of the facilities did, so I exchanged the the massive nine passenger vehicle for what I had ordered (Mitsubishi Grandis). It did take a couple of hours to complete the transaction of checking in the old car, chasing down the new one, and get it packed/ checked out. We got out of Tel Aviv around noon.
On our way to the Dead Sea, we stopped in Jerusalem to check Leora and Fred into the Little House in the Colony hotel. It was really a cute setup and in an area with nice restaurants. The front desk, Liat, was very helpful with suggesting a place for lunch and explaining how to get to the Dead Sea. After eating at Saffit, Susie, Pearl, and I jumped into the car and continued our trip to the Judean Desert. Unfortunately, the roads through Jerusalem did not point to the Dead Sea, but to towns along the way. After about fifteen minutes of leaving Jerusalem, I turned to Susie and said: ‘It seems like we are not heading east. In fact, it seems like we are heading north’. After which we approached a checkpoint marking the entrance to Ramallah. We did a quick U-Turn and quickly figured out how to better understand the Israeli signs.
We arrived in Ein Gedi around 5 PM. There was enough time for a quick dip in the pool and dinner in the dining hall. The meal was great and we got to hear what Gabriel did with my folks and Ronnie/ Lara. They had gone to the resort for doing the mud experience and floating in the Dead Sea. They also went for a walk to see the spring at Nahal David. After dinner, we hung out and had a beer listening to music from Bolivia (Israeli woman and her partner from South America). It was relaxing and comfortable with the evening being dry and cool.