n the morning we enjoyed again extensively the Dead Sea wellness program. Mud and floating!
Then we drove to Amman, where we saw the old Roman Theater and the adjacent Folklore Museum, which displays old costumes and jewelry, among other things. We dropped off our car at 16:00 (this time without a scrape). The 20 JOD for the tire repair the Car-Rent employees did not want to pay us back. With the reason “that was much too expensive at most 5 JOD, We agreed on 10 JOD refund. At 20:40 o’clock our first flight to Cairo started.
In the morning we visited the Moses Memorial Church, with its beautiful mosaics, on Mount Nebo. From this mountain, according to the Old Testament, Moses saw the Promised Land. Then he had to die. How close we are here to the places from the Bible can be read on a board at the viewpoint. For example, it is only 50 km to Bethlehem! The places can be seen in good visibility.
Since we liked the (mud) bath in the Dead Sea so much, we booked another night at the “Dead Sea Spa Hotel”. This time we ended up on the 4th floor with a nice view of the sea/lake. With about 420 meters below sea level we are at the Dead Sea by the way at the lowest lake on earth. That the air here is “thicker” one notices at the compressed drinking bottles. The sun is not quite as intense behind a haze. As daytime maximum temperature we had 42 degrees and at night 29 degrees.
We did another mud wrap and then a float bath. For the evening I sewed my backpack and Reiner downloaded some music. For dinner we had yogurt with fruits.
Today we had a day trip to Jerash on the plan. To reach the ancient site we had to meander through the traffic for about 40 km during rush hour around Amman. To our surprise the whole area was prepared for a festival, which probably takes place the next days. The thirty-fourth such event.
Jerash Festival for Culture and Arts 2019
The South and North Theaters have been returned to their former purpose as well as the Oval Plaza and other archaeological sites. Safety regulations do not seem to have been completely revised from the pre-Christian era.
There are an abundance of impressive buildings to visit. The Roman presence before and after Chr. has left clear traces.
Afterwards we went back to the hotel where we had dinner.
A nice buffet breakfast awaited us this morning at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel.
After that, we put on another mud wrap and floated in the Dead Sea.
A really funny feeling to be carried by the water like this.
By the way, the water level here is also dropping frighteningly fast. Signs show where the water level was 9 and 14 years ago, namely tens of meters above. After checking out we went to the Hotel Black Iris in Madaba, our new accommodation. We spent the afternoon and evening reading and researching.
We got up early and enjoyed some more of the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the desert.
After a breakfast, we went back to the parking lot on the back of the truck (Reiner) and me on the back seat of a Toyota Hilux. There we said goodbye to Johannes and Evita.
However, we met them again at the Dead Sea Spa Hotel, where we stopped in today. We were quite excited to float in the water and we were not disappointed. With no movement at all, you can be carried by the Dead Sea and even read a book while doing so!
The water is very warm, crystal clear and flickers a little. It smells more strongly of the sea than the North Sea and you feel like it has a little more substance. It tastes nasty and burns the eye a lot. I have tested this myself! We also smeared ourselves with sea mud. A scrub that makes the skin nice and soft. But I could not stand it for long, because then it began to “prick”. Well showered off we ate a soup and just chilled .
We started shortly after 8:00 am in Wadi Musa and drove to the Wadi Rum Restcamp. There we parked our car and then waited a while for two other fellow travelers from Latvia. When Johannes and Evita arrived at 10:45 am, the desert tour started. The slightly older Toyota, with an open, shaded cargo area converted to seating, drove us to several viewpoints in Wadi Rum.
We visited the source of Lawrence of Arabia and the house in which he rested with his caravan. We could climb up a red dune and enjoy the great view there. In several Bedouin camps we had a cup of sweet peppermint tea. For lunch, our driver prepared a meal of pita bread, bean stew, eggplant puree, cream cheese and tuna. We drove to a gorge that we walked through and to two natural stone bridges that you could also climb up. Many camels were happy to serve as photo models.
In the evening we had smoked chicken with vegetables, rice, bean stew and salad in a hole in the ground. Bedouin tea a campfire with moonlight and starry sky rounded off the beautiful day. We slept in permanent Bedouin tents with two beds each. Two brick wash houses with running water provided additional comfort.
Our tour of Petra today took us to Sacrifice Square, from where you have a great view of the theater and the royal tombs. A steep path leads up there in about an hour.
We then walked past the royal tombs to the Byzantine Church, which has been partially restored. On the pretty mosaic floor, a tabby tomcat greeted us.
We also had a Bedouin tea in front of the royal tombs. Then we went past the treasure house again and through the Siq to the entrance gate.
All in all, we ran a good 14 km today and again snapped felt thousands of photos of ornate facades, gorges, camels, donkeys and carriages. No desire to go out for dinner. Reiner is tinkering with the website, which is temporarily down.
Today we explored the former capital of the Nabataeans, Petra. It flourished in the 1st century BC as a trading city for frankincense, myrrh and spices. From the middle of the 7th century AD it was abandoned and fell into oblivion. An earthquake had probably destroyed much. We hiked a total of 16.5 km along the Main and Monastery Trail to the monastery. The last part to the monastery is about 800 steps uphill. From a vantage point behind it we could see all the way to the border with Israel. Donkeys and camel riders want to transport you for free, but a good tip is expected. We preferred to walk. The monastery itself is very impressive and large.
It was built in the 2nd century A.D. and later it was also used as a Christian church. To get there you walk through the Siq and pass by the treasure house and the theater, among others. By day it is a completely different atmosphere. The sandstone walls glow in many different colors, donkeys, camels, horse-drawn carriages and excursionists enliven the streets. There are no motorized vehicles and, except for a few restaurants and toilet blocks, no modern buildings. Souvenir stores are mostly hammered together in a makeshift fashion and line the paths. We had a packed lunch from the Hotel Cleopetra with us and twice we stopped in a Bedouin café for a tea. We really liked the Lion Triclinium, which is a bit away from the hustle and bustle in a small gorge.
Back at the car we noticed that we had a (almost) flat tire on the right rear. Since the hotel was not far, Reiner drove slowly there. In a workshop near the hotel they repaired then our tire (from the inside with bicycle patches). A screw had gone in and the valve was replaced.
We laid out the 20 JOD for now and hope to get it refunded. Our evening meal consisted of yogurt with fruit and oatmeal.