Petra and Wadi Rum

This country is, as Suleiman said, mocking the English, “fabulous.” The people are so very kind and helpful – even the cops – and of course, the scenery is beautiful. Our fifth day here began early, as usual, and with a walk down to the entrance of the Siq in Petra. Instead of going through it and walking to the Treasury, however, we took a right turn – despite pleas, shouts and warnings of dire flash floods from Bedouin working in the area – and walked under the Nabataean Tunnel into Wadi Muthlim.

We hiked through the Wadi, through gorges and along the dried riverbeds, all alone. Some busloads of tourists had arrived in Petra earlier but no one headed along the same path as us. After about 45 minutes or an hour, we reached a T-junction in the gorge and turned left, through the narrow Wadi Mataha. The path here was a little more strenuous, with us having to navigate our way down a couple of 2-meter drops. The narrow winding path led us to a magical little square of ancient Petra with rock carvings on the walls where we paused to take in the beauty. A few meters later, we reluctantly emerged from our magnificent gorge hike into the wide spaces of ancient Petra. Continue reading

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