Sorry for the absence. We’ve been nowhere near anything resembling WiFi until tonight, so I’m going to try and post the next few days one by when, as and when.
We left our hotel in Madaba early on Tuesday and headed towards Mount Nebo; the mountain that Moses stood on when he was shown the Promised Land.
Normally the main attraction here is the remains of a 4th Century church and the mosaics designed to commemorate Moses’ death but the protective structure was being worked on so we couldn’t see inside. However, the day was clear and we could see Jericho and the River Jordan in the distance. There was a small museum on the site, which displayed some of the objects found on and around the Mountain and some of the church’s mosaics were being displayed in temporary tents on the site, and these were pretty amazing. Even Barnaby Bear was impressed.
Mosaics were the theme of the morning as we were then taken to a workshop/show room where a Government Scheme helps train disabled Jordanians to create mosaic based arts and crafts. We were given a demonstration of different mosaic and painting techniques; both were really very interesting. A lot of work goes into these works, so we all felt we should buy something. The Jordanian Dinar basically equals 1 GBP right now, so there were no bargains to be had. We think we got off lightly with a couple of trinket boxes and some coffee coasters.
A lot of it has been destroyed, but what is left is in remarkably good condition, especially since it is merely roped off on the floor of this very popular church, and anyone who buys a ticket is allowed to go in and take photos. Considering it dates back to the 6th Century, the map is incredibly accurate and intricately illustrated. This kind of thing was only slightly interesting to the kids, so they were soon evicted from ‘God’s House’ to continue their game of ‘It’ outside.
Once the mosaics had been visited, we headed South on the Kings’ Highway towards the highlight of our holiday, Petra. It took 5 hours with stops, including one at The Grand Canyon. None of us had known that this 1 km deep valley even existed, so were all gratifyingly impressed by the sheer size of it. It’s nothing compared to the American version, of course, but it was still an ‘Ohhh’ moment for everyone on the coach, including the kids.
We also stopped at Karak Castle, a great grey Crusader castle that was built around 1140. Our guide showed us around the ruins while explaining what each area was used for. The kids’ favourite bit was the single beam of light from one of the holes in the tunnel roof and the deep, therefore dangerous, well. I liked the look of the kitchen; the oven was huge!
After Karak, we started to drive through the desert proper. Very little was growing here and our most exciting sighting was the Hejaz Railway that used to carry pilgrams, but now only carries phosphate slowly between Ma’an and Aqaba. The kids had a ball at the back of the bus though, no one really knows exactly what they were doing but every now and again we had to tell them to sit down and quieten down.
Eventually we turned off the Desert Highway, onto a nondescript twisty turny road that was to take us to Petra.
Our hotel was 5 minutes from the main entrance and seemed nice enough. We were able to get two triple rooms and the one I was going to share with DS and DD1 had an enormous bathroom with a spa bath in the corner. I was looking forward to having a quiet soak later that night.
Thankfully, we ate at the hotel so didn’t have to go far. Unfortunately our children were so badly behaved from excitement and tiredness, that I had to live up to my threat and remove them from the table mid meal.
There was much screaming and protesting but I dumped them all in the bath together with the promise of bubbles and that’s how we discovered the bath wasn’t actually plumbed in.
DH finally arrived to take his share of our disgraced offspring, my two charges were tucked up in bed snoring and I wasn’t far behind, as I needed a good night’s sleep for the next day’s adventure; Petra.