Monday, April 6, 2015

In the Footsteps of Moses

The adventure continues.

The next part of our adventure required us to travel all day. It is only 4-5 hours of travel time to Petra from Amman however we stopped along the way at some significant sites. We will spend the entire day traveling.

Our first stop was at a highway truck stop. When Nader first suggested we stop there for breakfast, I was hesitant.  Really? A truck stop?

However when we arrived I immediately understood how unique and truly “local” this was for breakfast.  It was jammed with Arabs and the food was fantastic.

Locals seemed to really love this place.
They had bread of every size and variety.
Cookies anyone? 
The bakery was overflowing with all kinds of breads and sweets. It was difficult to choose so D and I took several types of sweets and shared them.

For coffee, D and I decided to have the local favorite Turkish coffee cooked on an open flame. Not only was it a show to watch, it was also loaded with caffeine.  I have linked the words "Turkish coffee" above to a really interesting and insightful video about Turkish coffee.

This was a show - he made coffee one cup at a time while we watched. Later in our travels we realized that this was the normal way to make and serve Turkish coffee.  We sampled it from many locations over the next few days.

What whimps - McD coffee.
To cook a cup of Turkish coffee you put fine ground coffee in a small pot with hot water then bring it to a boil over an open flame. Immediately the mixture is served in a small cup. It is so strong you really have to cut it with some sugar.

DW and ES opted for McDonald’s coffee.  What whimps!

We traveled on to Madaba, a lovely village in the hills. There we toured the “Church of the Map.” This gave us some historical references about the area where we would be exploring the next two days. Along the way we spent some time in a mosaic workshop and walked out into an olive grove.

The church was filled with truly amazing mosaics.
Here is a close up of the feet showing the individual tiles. 
Here is DW inside the church. She is looking at a mosaic map created originally as part of the floor of a Byzantine church, built during the reign of emperor Justinian, AD 527-565.  
DW is a landscape architect so the olive grove was of special interest to her.
Here is our selfie in the olive orchard. 
D and I purchased a finished tree mosaic like the one this artist is creating.
Our next stop was at Mount Nebo.  My research said that the West Bank city of Jericho is usually visible from the summit, as is Jerusalem on a clear day. Sure enough, we could make out those areas in the far off distance beyond the Dead Sea.

It was awe inspiring to think we were standing where Moses stood and first looked at the Promise Lands after wandering in the desert for 40 years. It was fitting to be there on Easter weekend.

The Promise Lands in the distance. The Dead Sea is on the dark area of the far upper left side in this photo.
Our group (minus ES who was behind the camera) on top of Mount Nebo.
Our selfie with Jerico in the background.
Here are two videos showing the view from the top of Mount Nebo. You will need to go to my blog to view them if you are reading this in an email.  Here is a link to my blog page.

Another experience to check off our list was taking a dip in the Dead Sea. For this part of our adventure, Nader took us to a resort located on the shore close to where Jesus was baptized.

It was a bit chilly at first but soon we all took to the water.
The Dead Sea as seen from the road driving into the area.
D in the water.
Some say the Dead Sea has great healing qualities. Unfortunately, my bad knee was not healed.

DW and I tried spreading Dead Sea Mud on ourselves because it is supposed to make you look younger. It must take several applications to make a difference because we still look the same.
Large salt crystals can be seen along the edge of the water.
Floating in the salty water was an unusual feeling because you could only float on the very surface of the water. If you tried to turn on your stomach and swim, you could not get your torso to go down into the water.  The easiest way to move was to lie on your back.

Lunch was at the resort and then on to the next leg of our journey to Petra.  The remaining travel time was a couple of hours however we became engaged in conversation about history, religion and politics. The time passed very quickly.  Nader said it was the fastest trip to Petra he had ever made.

During our travels we passed a large structure that Nader explained was a ladies only swimming pool completely enclosed so that no one could see inside.

Ladies ONLY swimming pool!
Soon the landscape changed from lush mountains to a more desert like topography.

We arrived in Petra at sundown and checked into our rooms. D and I were fortunate to have a large balcony overlooking the town.

The view from our balcony looking out over the town.
The moon was shining bright above as we shared a toast to the great adventure.  Tomorrow we trek into Petra for the next part of the adventure.



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