Day 4- Going to the Promised Land

This was our last day in Jordan. We ate breakfast early and then loaded up the bus.  Really, we did that everyday, but this day we needed to bring our luggage with us. I took one last picture in the hotel. This is the king and queen of Jordan. He, King Abdullah II, is the fifth in his family to serve as leader of Jordan.
Our first stop this day was Madaba, which was still in Jordan. It is another site with many ancient ruins, but our visit was to a church. This church, St. George's, was built over an ancient mosaic map of the Holy Land. This was an incredible find for archaeologists and historians, as it helped them see where to look for other areas as well as help them better understand what they had already found.

 There is a better picture of the mosaic map on Wikipedia. It was huge and difficult to photograph from the ground.

Our next stop was in the desert as we drove to the checkpoint at the Israeli border. We arrived at Mt. Nebo, which was the mountain that Moses climbed to view the Promised Land before he died. Some scholars also believe that this was the mountain mentioned as the Mount of Transfiguration in the New Testament. Seems a long way away to me. The day was hazy, so we did not have a clear view from the mountain, but we still could see quite far.

This last monument was added for Pope John Paul II's visit, and commemorates the Transfiguration.
A video of the panoramic view of the Promised Land:

We got back on the bus and drove again through the Negev Desert area. There were many shepherds with their sheep and Bedouin camps along the way.

It took us about 15 minutes to get clearance to leave Jordan. We then proceeded on to the Israeli border. We unloaded the bus, walked through security, and out the building on the other side. I think it took the whole group an hour, which was a real blessing.
We made a lunch stop in Jericho, at Temptation Cafe and Souvenir Shop. I got my first falafel of the trip there.

Jericho is the oldest city in the world, according to this fountain. It was an ancient Canaanite city called Rawha, and then became Jericho. The mound behind the fountain is the Tel of the old cities, where archaeologists are digging to learn more about the civilizations that lived here.
We continued driving north all the way through Israel to get to Yardenit, a baptismal site on the Jordan River. It was amazing watching the scenery change from brown, dusty flat lands to rocky hills to greener rocky hills, and then all of a sudden, the lush, green Mediterranean scenery of northern Israel. We even got to see a rainbow over the sea of Galilee.

A few of our group members wanted to get re-baptized here, and braved the freezing cold water. A father and son baptized each other, along with a special rite of blessing for the son, who is getting married in June.

We left the almost Disneyland-like atmosphere of Yardenit, complete with gift shop at exit, and headed to our hotel in Nazareth. We stayed at St. Margaret's Guest House, an older facility on a hill overlooking the Basilica of the Annunciation.
                                                                The front door
                                                                The courtyard
The beginning portions of dinner. Apparently I was too hungry to take pictures of any food the rest of the meal.


  1. HOpefully it wasn't hazy when Moses looked out from that mountain!


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