Israel Tour, Day 2: Amman, Madaba, Mt. Nebo

May 4

The Citadel in Amman. We started at 8:30, after a decent breakfast at the Jerusalem Inn in Amman.  We arrived at the Citadel of Amman, and spent about a hour there.  I was impressed with the remains of the Temple of Hercules, although there is not much restored. The location has two advantages.  First, it has a great view of the city of Amman.  Second, there is a small but impressive Jordanian Antiquities museum.  I was impressed with the collection, and would have been overwhelmed, but the Dead Sea Scroll collection had just been moved to the new national museum. 

Madaba. This is the so-called “city of mosaics,” and they are not kidding. The main attraction is the Madaba map, the oldest tourist map in Jordan.  The church is modern, but the mosaic is sixth century.  There are several locations which are recorded on the map which might serve as a “confirmation” of a site identification. For example, Tamar is on the map directly south of the Dead Sea, approximately where the Ein Haseva is, suggesting that the site is in fact “biblical Tamar.”

Mount Nebo.  This was the first time to Mount Nebo for me, so I was fairly impressed with the view.  It was very hazy, although we could see the Dead Sea and a bare outline of the Jordan.  The mountains in Israel were visible across the valley. Unfortunately the church was closed for repairs, so we missed they mosaics.

Driving to Petra.  Unfortunately there is not much to see between Madaba and Petra, except desert. Lots of desert.  We arrived at the Marriott in Petra at 5:30.  This is a very nice hotel, our guide rated it third best in Petra, and it is about the nicest we will stay in.  Unfortunately, we leave early tomorrow for Petra.

General thoughts.  Great guide, Sufjan.  Aside from having a very cool firs t name, he gas knowledgeable and clear in his explanations.  He arranged an excellent “bag lunch” (sandwich, chips, banana, and desert cake, plus drink) for $7. Better than Subway, although it did include a fresh cucumber, which I ate dutifully. Perhaps this will not catch on as a new snack item.

We are all safe and healthy, thanks for checking in!

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