Homeward Bound

Posted by  Daniël Cronk   in       13 years ago     812 Views     Comments Off on Homeward Bound  

Well today begins the sad day. I must say good bye to Jordan and to the Middle East. It has been a wonderful last few days. On Friday, I took the bus from Wadi Musa back to Amman (2-hours north) and then a taxi to the city of Madaba. I checked into a hotel and headed out to view some of the sights. Most famous in this town are the mosaics built inside some of the churches. They are all very nice and truly amazing that they have survived such a long time. While walking around town I ran into some people who I had met in Wadi Musa, at the hotel there. They were headed to the Dead Sea for a couple of hours and invited me to join along. The taxi driver found us a nice secluded section of beach away from the main tourist area. It was just the 4 of us and two Jordanian guys from Amman. We talked for a while and enjoyed a full body mud application, mixed with Dead Sea Salts. After you wash the mud off you are left smooth, clean and your skin exfoliated.

Sunset over the Dead Sea

Sun setting over the Dead Sea Saturday I headed up to Mount Nebo which is the site where Moses was reported to have "Looked across the Moab mountains to the promised land, though he himself was not allowed to enter." Mount Nebo also flickered briefly into international news back in 2000 when Pope John Paul II visited the site. Now there stands a memorial to the late Pope. From Mount Nebo I ended up at Bethany-Beyond-the-Jordan, the site where it is said Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. The Jordan River serves as the border with Israel and is very heavily guarded by miliarty personnel on both sides. Although these two countries are "friends" it is still quite intense. Your every movement is watched very carefully. Sunday it decided it was going to be rainy and cold all day. Though I continued with my taxi driver north to the roman ruins of Jerash. The building of the site began during the time of Alexander the Great and were later added upon during the reign of Hadrian. They are some of the most impressive Roman ruins in the Middle East. An equally stunning site, I hear, is Palmyra which is located north of Jordan in the country of Syria. The site also hosts an, albeit cheesy, gladiator flight and chariot race. Its truly a bit cheesy, but was kind of fun. It would have been better had it not been raining and quite cold. Yesterday my taxi driver took me to the Desert Castles of the Eastern Desert. They were believed to have been built during the ancient caravan routes and were used as fortified caravanserais. Though one of the castles that I was at, Al-Azraq, was used during the Crusades and also by the famous Lawrence, from Lawrence of Arabia. They are all interesting in their own right.

Qasr Kharaneh, Eastern Desert, Jordan

Qasr Kharaneh, Eastern Desert Sunday I had the distinct pleasure of visiting the home of the shop owner that I had bought some stuff from. Saturday I went in and bought a few things and we talked for a while. He is 74 years old and spent the better part of 25 years living in the United States, Maryland area. He and his wife returned to Jordan a few years ago, though she visits at least once a year for 3-4 months at a time. Even as I write this she is on a plane heading there to see her brother-in-law who is dying of cancer and is not expected to live much longer. They are very kind people here in Jordan and could not believe when I saw him again on Sunday he invited me over to visit with he and his wife and their children and grandchildren. All i have to say is that they have a really nice house (with 3 parlors, 2 verandas, 5 or 6 bedrooms, and an "apartment" in the basement.). They even have a maid. Certainly not suffering from anything here in Jordan. They have insisted that the next time I come to Jordan I must come and stay with them at their house for a few days. The people here in Jordan are truly amazing people. They are warm and friendly and very open. They greet you on the street by "welcoming you to Jordan." they are all interested in where you come from and what you think of their country. I have not yet had one bad experience here and have never felt unsafe. Though I never did really visit the city of Amman, where anything is possible. Tonight begins the final moments here in the Middle East and Northern Africa. I fly from Amman back to Cairo around 19:30 and then check into a hotel very near the airport. I will be up at 1:00 am and to the airport by 2 am where the flight back to Amsterdam leaves at 4:00. The flight from Amsterdam is scheduled to touchdown in Minneapolis at 12:30 on Wednesday. To give you an idea of the amount of time traveling I will awake around 1 am Cairo time (equals 5pm Central Time on Tuesday) and arrive at MSP Int'l at 12:30 on Wednesday.... prepare for jet lag... and lots of it....


I am very passionate about traveling. My goal is to visit as many places and experience as many things as I can during my short journey on this earth.