Madaba and our first day in Petra

Due to the short amount of time we have to explore Jordan (nine days), and due to the fact that I have to get to the Israeli consulate before we return to Israel, our days have rarely had more than an hour free (not including time spent sleeping).

On our first day in Madaba, we visited numerous churches and archaeological sites. We began by visiting St. George’s Church, in which the oldest existing map of Palestine can be found – all done in mosaic. As the place names were written in what seemed to be Greek, we had a look at the life-sized copy outside that pointed us to the important points on the site: Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Hebron, Mount Sinai, Jericho and the tombs of various prophets. It was wonderful once we knew what we were looking at, and even more magnificent considering the age of the mosaic: made in 560 A.D. Continue reading

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Getting to Madaba, Jordan

My blog is finally going to live up to its name (a little bit), Across the Middle East, as my family and I journey through Jordan together for the next nine days. The adventure began Thursday evening, with my little brother’s arrival in Israel. My friend picked him up from the airport and we headed directly to Jerusalem, where we stayed with other friends in Katamon (Gonen) and woke up early to catch a taxi to the Sheikh Hussein border crossing.

There are three land borders between Israel and Jordan. One in the north, Sheikh Hussein; one in the south, Arava; and one in Palestine, King Hussein/Allenby. As my brother and I were meeting my parents in Amman, the quickest way would have been to go through Allenby. However, the King Hussein/Allenby crossing is the only crossing that does not provide tourists with visas on arrival and, as we didn’t have the time to prepare our visas in advance, we had to go with the next-best option – Sheikh Hussein. Continue reading