Israel – Dead Sea Tour

Daniel and Jacqueline from Gomio, Ryan from HostelBookers, Dave from Clink

Daniel and Jacqueline from Gomio, Ryan from HostelBookers, Dave from Clink78

Towards the end of 2012, I was hanging out at the ‘Gomio World Hostel Conference‘ in Jerusalem. As I flew in a few days prior, I managed to meet a few of the other early arrivals and check out the sights of Israel. You cannot go to Israel and not see the Dead Sea! I remember being a young boy in Australia, hearing about tales of my friends parents floating on ‘magic’ water while on holiday… with water so salty it stung the eyes… and mud so rich in minerals it soothed the skin. It’s one of the sights that has been on my bucketlist for the longest time, so I was wrapped to finally get the opportunity.

As the majority of conference delegates were staying at Abrahams Hostel (the host property), they were kind enough to organise any tours we wished to participate in. They have a full tours desk inside the hostel – check out their tours operation and choices here:

The Dead Sea is the lowest spot on the face of the earth, and a natural health spa. Abrahams do a half day tour, which was a popular option for many delegates – a great half day escape! Trading in the cold start of winter in London for a warm sunny Dead Sea experience was definitely a highlight of the trip. Abraham’s Tour Bus takes you there and back, it’s an easy cheap option… you take a lunch or can buy snacks there. The driver doubled up as a bit of a guide and told us a few tales of Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip and points of interest along the way – including the Mount of Olives and its churches.

The drive isn’t too long (40mins) and once there, it’s pretty much free time to lounge in the sun, have some mud fights and float in the Dead Sea! I definitely recommend to swim out over the rope buoy barriers and into the lake properly, as you really do get a better outlook as to just how big the area is. You can even see the bordering country – Jordan… and its tourists enjoying the same day you are on the other side of the lake. The lake is huge and we saw just one small part of it – nothing fancy, just a chilled spot with minimal fuss…. it was kind of ‘non touristy’ in a way – no built-up hotels or health spas where we were, which made the experience seem a little more natural, as mother nature intended.

Dip in the Dead Sea

Dip in the Dead Sea

Here’s 10  cool facts I learned about the Dead Sea:

  1. The Dead Sea is a saltwater lake – not a sea
  2. The Dead Sea is 3 million years old.
  3. Water flows into the Dead Sea from streams and rivers, but does not flow out.
  4. The climate of the Dead Sea region is sunny, warm and dry all year round.
  5. The high mineral & salt content of the water make it impossible for fish or plants to live
  6. The Dead Sea is one of the saltiest bodies of water in the world (33% salinity)
  7. You lay on the surface and float – you can’t drown. The high salt content makes you buoyant
  8. Egyptians used mud from the Dead Sea in their mummification of the deceased
  9. The minerals in the Dead Sea all naturally occur within our bodies.
  10. The unique salt in the Dead Sea treats acne, psoriasis, hives, cellulite, dry skin, dandruff, stress & muscle aches….and much more.

I had a great time in Israel and only wish I could have spent more time checking out the rest of the country, its sights and some kibbutz’s. I did mange to get across the border to Jordan to see Petra too… but I will leave that for another post!

You can reach Jerusalem by an airport shuttle bus from Tel Aviv – the most common way. I flew with Easyjet

Superbude St.Pauli Hamburg – photos

Hamburg's very cool hostel and hotel - best place to stay in town!

Hamburg’s very cool hostel and hotel – best place to stay in town!

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Best Value Cheap Hotels

Easter is already here – missed out on a sneaky trip?! Well how about you start to plan where you’re off to later this European Spring or Summer and snap up some cheap accommodation pronto! These hotels have been voted by HostelBooker’s customers, over the last two years, as being the very best value hotel accommodation on offer. From design hotels, boutique hotels, no frills hotels… hotels doubling as premier hostels – all bases are covered,  in all corners of the globe…. city breaks, beach escapes. Which will you choose?!

Western Europe

Superbude St.Pauli

Superbude St.Pauli

Eastern Europe

Fusion Prague

Fusion Prague



North America

South America

Africa & the Middle East

This is just a small handful of excellent value hotels around the world – if you have a recommendation, I would love to hear from you! Happy travels 🙂

PLUS Berlin – photos

Amazing, huge hostel in an old textiles university

Amazing, huge hostel in an old textiles university

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Tearing down the remainder of the Berlin Wall?

Berlin Wall

Huge news coming out from Berlin the last few months was regarding the plans for the destruction of the remainder of the ‘East Side Gallery‘ section of the Berlin wall. Can you believe it?! When i heard i was shocked, but not surprised…

I was recently in Berlin for ITB again… the last two years I have happily stayed wt PLUS Berlin, which is just a few minutes walk away from the East Side Gallery. Great location, right near Kruezberg and hot clubs like Chalet and Berghain/Panorama.

Berlin Wall

While I was there, my good friend living in Berlin was telling me how these German property developers wanted to build river side apartments, right where the wall is. So, that was that – the wall was meant to be coming down, much to the disgust of many locals. An uproar was of course brewing back then (a month ago), so no surprise when at 5am this morning, when two hundred police turned up to ‘protect’ the developers (builders doing their dirty work) and protesters – it quickly filtered through to news around the world. Especially when a chunk of the wall was removed!

Berlin Wall

I don’t personally know all the details…but I can’t help think – wtf?! What are these guys thinking of starting the process of demolishing a unique part of Berlin’s history. Something that has become a major tourist attraction.. something that has brought art to the community and city… colour to grey… life to oppression. Is it simply better to erase and forget the dirty history for some, rather than having to be reminded of it daily? I think for the majority – NO!

Berlin Wall

Leave the damn wall alone. It was already iconic when it stood, a legend when it fell…. and now the remainder is an institution. Why plan to put it in a museum somewhere, or in a ‘retirement’ art park elsewhere in the city? Why not let it live where it has stood, live where it belongs… where visitors from Berlin, from Germany, who are connected in some way to its history – can come and visit and reflect. Where tourists and history buffs can wander freely, can touch the wall of former division, take photos of the iconic images in natural settings. Why make way for ‘gentrification’ and erase an important part of WORLD history. An important freestanding tourist attraction and multiple human interest story.

Berlin Wall

I will be watching the news keenly for how this story unfolds… and my friends and clients in Berlin will be keeping me up to date of course. I can’t image visiting Berlin and not driving or walking past a hugely relevant piece of its history.


Berlin can be reached by Ryanair or Easyjet

GENERATOR Hostel & Hotel Barcelona OPENS! – photos

Generator Barcelona OPENS!

Generator Barcelona OPENS!