Friday, April 11, 2014

13th and Final Post - Friday/Saturday, April 11/12 - Petra, One of the 7 Wonders of the World, and Amman, Capital of Jordan

Outstandingly Beautiful!
How can you describe this impenetrable fortress of the ancient Nabateans? The first half mile is open pathway and the hills and rocks start getting higher around us as we descend toward the Siq. The Siq is a narrow, slot canyon, with towering walls of red rock that snakes about a mile toward the main canyon of Petra. Coming around the last bend the sudden first view of the Treasury takes your breath away.
From there there is an amazing number of buildings and tombs carved into the red rock walls.
Some of the hardier in our group managed to climb clear to the Monastery.
On Saturday, our last day, we got to leave Petra late morning for our drive to Amman, the capital of Jordan. Amman was formerly called Philadelphia and we visited the 5,000-seat Roman Theater, still in use.
Some of the best views were from the Citadel on a high hill above Amman.
After driving through a neighborhood of very nice homes, we concluded with a typical dinner at a local restaurant before heading on out to the airport for our 1:25 a.m. flights!

Our group gathers on the hotel terrace to start the trek into Petra.

LaVerne  peaks around the carriage driver on the way down into Petra.

Entering the Siq

Maie says, "I'm here in Petra!!"

The Siq narrows

Our Bedouin friend Sala'ama offers donkey rides up to the Monastery

Wow - a picture without tourists!

First glimpse of the Treasury

The Treasury

Dixie and Dave in front of the Treasury

Bedouin lad on his donkey

A little postcard saleswoman

Grandfather plays for the kids

Camels in Petra

The Theater

Royal Tombs in Petra

A few hardy souls in the group made the hike up to the Monastery. It's a fairly long walk in addition to the 900+ steps each way! The views of the Monastery and all directions from up there make it worth it!

Rob and Mitch on their Camels in Petra

View of Wadi Musa (Petra) from our Hotel

Wadi Musa (Petra) built in the rocks

Shawbak Castle, from the era of the Crusades

Hunting for agates on the hill above Shawbak Castle

Welcome to Amman - organized chaos!

Everyone has a cell phone! 

Amman - 5,000 seat Roman Theater

Aly, LaVerne and Ruth find new friends

This little boy performs for us with his soccer ball.

Philadelphia through the ages

The crowded hillsides of Amman

Houses are all built of local limestone

Shopping for spices in the grocery store

Jordanian woman baking bread in the traditional style

Our farewell dinner is served - just about everything you can imagine in a Jordanian meal!

Mark celebrates with a local hooka pipe!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

12th Post - Thursday, April 10 - The 'Real' Baptismal Site, Mount Nebo, Madaba

Most people don't associate Jordan with too many of the Biblical sites, but the country is second only to Israel itself with places of Biblical significance.
We started off at the Jordan River at the spot where Elijah was taken to Heaven in a whirlwind - across the Jordan River from Jericho. Right near there is the spot where experts are quite sure John the Baptist baptized Jesus. Today there are several churches on the site.
We drove up out of the Dead Sea Valley to Madaba to see the floor mosaic, and then to Mount Nebo where Moses looked across into the Promised Land and then died.
Late evening we arrived in Petra where we are looking forward to our exciting day tomorrow.

The Chef at Moevenpick Hotel makes wonderful creations for breakfast.

View from our hotel across the Dead Sea to Israel

Mosaic of Elijah being taken up to Heaven

Elijah's Hill, where he is thought to have been taken up to Heaven

The site where John baptized Jesus

Mosaic of John baptizing Jesus

Looking across the Jordan River from the Jordan side to the Israeli side.
This is about the closest you can get to seeing people across the international boundary.
Of course the guards on both sides of the border are not far away!

Orthodox Church at the Baptismal Site

Barren Wilderness as we leave the Dead Sea

Camels and Bedouin Tents

Produce Market in the town of Madaba

Streets of Madaba

Mosaic in the Church of St. George in Madaba

Mount Nebo, where Moses died. Fadi explains the area to us.

The windy road from the Dead Sea up to Mount Nebo

Lush Green Fields near Madaba before we drive to the desert again

The Jordanian Desert as we drive south to Petra

The sun drops behind the hills just as we enter Petra.

Petra Guest House - our home for the last two nights of our tour