I am taking you back for one moment to October 2010. Everything is a bit of a blur after we experience the wonders of Petra, and I am very tired. The old body is not keeping up with the mind, but it is all so interesting and I don’t want to miss a thing.
We are off at 7.30am for the long drive to Amman, and are taken on a whistle stop tour of the citadel and museum in the centre of Amman, in sweltering midday heat. I’m blowed if I can remember any of it, even after looking at my photos. Amman is a sprawling city of flat topped sandstone houses as far as the eye can see. The countryside has abundant trees, and there are oleanders, roses and ornamental bushes in the gardens. We pass by the heavily guarded US Embassy.
Then a 45 minute drive through fertile valleys and hills to Jerash for a two hour exploration of the Roman city, starting at 3pm. By four, the sun has lost its edge and a breeze is blowing.
We are led in easy stretches from shady patch to shady patch, our guide ensuring we don’t have to climb too many steps.
We walk through Hadrian’s Arch,
and enter the Hippodrome, where they hold chariot races twice a week surrounded by the imposing architecture.
We pass through the impressive oval plaza and the Temple of Zeus into the South Theatre where the excellent acoustics are demonstrated by two men with bagpipes.
Then up to three churches, destroyed in an earthquake, but one with a lovely mosaic floor, which I can’t help feeling will not last much longer if they don’t protect it from the sun.
We visit the Temple of Artemis. Its columns are sectioned and joined on rods through the centre, so when an earthquake strikes, they sway instead of toppling. We descend to the Colonnaded Street, then back to Hadrian’s Arch via the Nymphaeum fountain.
Our plush Toledo Hotel in Amman is a pleasant touch of luxury. All you can eat buffet supper is excellent value at 8 dinars.
After a 6.30am start the following morning, we travel down winding roads, through fertile valleys, passing children on their way to school. To our dismay the old cramped bus waits for us on the Israel side of the Bet She’an border!
Garry comes to the rescue; he is an expert and packs the bags tightly in order to free up that vital extra seat for our new guide. Betty tries to marshal us dictatorially, but at the Basilica of the Annunciation in Nazareth, some rebels go looking for refreshment. The church isn’t as crowded as those in Jerusalem. A solemn priestly service is in progress in the centre of the main hall as we wander round examining the mural. St.Joseph’s church nearby is a prayerful place, where I rest for several minutes.
We all look forward to the Sea of Galilee… which I tell you about HERE in a previous blog.
Let’s go somewhere completely different next week. Has anybody been to Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands?