TRAVEL WRITING

There is a growing market for these features.  All airlines today have their own magazines for passengers, detailing where to go and what to see in their particular destinations, and most are written by freelancers.  If you have a particular place in mind that you’d like to write about, send the editor of the appropriate magazine , an outline of what you have in mind. Give any qualifications you have for writing it,  any specialised knowledge or experience.   Do your research carefully, if they show interest.  This is one travel feature I had published a few years ago, about Ein Gedi – a beautiful place in Israel which is  where I live.  El Al Magazine featured it for several issues:

FIND  MAGIC  IN   EIN GEDI

If you are familiar with the most beautiful love poem ever written, the Biblical “Song of Songs”, then you’ll know that Ein Gedi is the oasis King Solomon described:

 

“My beloved is unto me as a cluster of henna flowers in the

vineyards of Ein Gedi.”

 

The name means “Spring of the Kid”, the animal we know as the ibex which can be seen roaming in the valley.   It is a world in itself, and easily accessible today, being only an hour’s drive south of Jerusalem.  It is in the Judean Desert on a plateau, overlooking the Dead Sea which is the lowest place on earth (420 metres below sea level).  It has been described as “a slice of heaven” where the air is pollution free and dry; there are 330 sunny days a year, the temperature soaring in summer but never colder than 10 degrees in winter.

This summer fires destroyed much of the beauty of the Nature Reserve, but the plentiful water supply is slowly bringing it back to life.  The water bounces from rocks to riverbeds, fills the crevices to become clear, blue pools. This wealth of water comes from the rainfall on the Hebron mountains to the west of Ein Gedi.  Water from the springs flows the entire length of the reserve.  Towering above are brown-red cliffs, bare like the landscape of the moon.This tropical oasis is home to trees such as Jericho balsam, moringa and acadia, as well as shrubs and unusual bushes and grass.  The Dead Sea Apple, or Apple of Sodom grows here too, named for the city God destroyed together with Gomorrah which were located nearby.

 

Nowhere else in Israel is there such a wide range of wildlife. It is  paradise  for bird-watchers … the bulbul, the blackstart (shahor-zanav in Hebrew); sand partridges, Tristam’s grackle and the raven can all be found here.

You can also see ibex and coneys and the occasional leopard and wolf.  The coneys are small  animals with short ears and legs and no tail.  The male ibex has long horns that are bent back and rounded at the ends. The female’s horns are shorter.  The ibex is the official symbol of the Nature Reserves Authority.

 

Kibbutz Ein Gedi is distinct from, and situated on the edge of the Reserve.  Before the founding of the kibbutz by a group of young army recruits in 1956, Ein Gedi had not been inhabited for 500 years.  The first dwellers lived there in the Stone Age 5,000 years ago.  The kibbutzniks  made vegetable gardens and date plantations and raised turkeys.  They soon learned that they also had natural treasures in the black mud, hot sulphur springs, the Dead Sea and water that promoted feelings of tranquillity, health and peace.

 

So they founded Ein Gedi’s Country Hotel.  Today you can enjoy the Spa, restaurants, Botanical Gardens and hire 4 x 4 desert terrain vehicles, as well as buy arts and crafts in the many souvenir shops.  For archaeology buffs, there is Massada to the south, the Qumran Caves to the north which housed the Dead Sea Scrolls, and there is a Byzantine Synagogue with a wonderful mosaic floor.

 

In the Ein Gedi Botanical Gardens there are 800 unique species of trees and flowers and such exotic Biblical plants as Myrrh and Frankincense, tropical plants from the rain forests, date palms and unusual cacti.  You can have a guided tour (free for guests of the Country Hotel). Included in the modest entry price is a film about the settlement and information on the flora of the Gardens.

 

The Country Hotel focuses on the natural, healthy life.  There are both indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and all the rooms are located on ground level in the fabulous gardens.  You can even rent their “Romantic Room” which has a private Jaccuzi.  All guests have free entry to the Ein Gedi Spa. Available also are many holistic treatments to balance mind and body through the use of therapeutic plants, minerals, nutrition, meditation etc. There are facials and massage and, at the Spa, Peeling, Mud Wraps and Reflexology.

 

Ein Gedi also offers a choice of restaurants …. Pandak Ein Gedi on the public beach; the Botanical Gardens’ Restaurant which is buffet-style and kosher; nd “At Haya’s” also in the Botanical Gardens.  This is a private home that accepts only 8 guests and must be booked in advance.

 

The Jewish village of Ein Gedi was inhabited in Biblical times, destroyed and rebuilt many times over the centuries.  It is where King David hid  in the caves from King Saul  who pursued him with an army of 3,000 men.

 

Today it is a feast for the eyes and the senses, a place to be rejuvenated and feel peaceful and tranquil in the pure air of the Judean Desert.

__________________________

Some things to keep in mind. Assume the reader is new to your destination and wants to see the best attractions in a limited time. Detail the best area in which to stay, the best time of year to arrive, and any special local events.  If you can supply photos, you increase your chances of acceptance.

My new novella “Searching for Sarah” is now available on Amazon; or from the publisher Chaim Mazo (Chaim.Mazo@gmail.com) or direct from me at dwaysman@g.mail.com  Be in touch for details.  I always enjoy your comments, and am available to help with your writing problems.  Happy writing!

 

 

 

 

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