Thursday, April 23, 2009

Petra to Jerselum

It is early morning Friday, April 24. Yesterday was another big day as we traveled/toured from Petra to Jeruselum.

We got on the road at 8AM heading south towards Aqaba, Jordan's only seaport. The road was across weathered/eroded/hilly desert. To our west were mountains seperating Jordan from Israel. Aqaba was a busy city gearing up for the weekend. Weekend visitors were starting to crowd the streets. Because of our schedule we just had a quick drive through the city before heading for the border crossing into Israel. An hour later we were through the border/luggage checks and back "home" with Doron, our guide.

We headed north stopping at a resort area on the Dead Sea for lunch an a swim. The Dead Sea is so mineral leaden that it is practically impossible to sink. You float on top of the water with no effort. In fact we found it hard to get our feet under us to stand up in the shallow water. The bottom was covered with mable shaped/sized pieces of hard salt crystal...not nice on the bare feet.

Our next stop was Masada where 950 Jewish zealots held up from the Roman attack in 74AD. This is a several acre plateu surounded by shear cliffs. Developed as a fortress and winter palace for King Herod, it had water and food for several years. The only paths up were easily defended. In the end, as the Romans completed the attack ramp, the 950 men, women and children committed suicide rather than become slaves to the Romans. The site has become a symbol for today's Jewish nation. They will not let Masada fall again.

After Masada it was an hour drive and we were overlooking Jeruselum. Doran and Howard did a devotion as we approached. What at impact the city has! So much is here to learn and see. Today we begin our three day visit.

Side comment about our meals: Most of our hotel meals (breakfast and supper) are served buffet style. The waiters are excellent at removing plates as you finish so that you have room at your place for the next course. The food has been good and lots of it. Breakfast (other than Saturday/Sabbath morning) includes eggs cooked to order, fruits, breads, sausages, potates, ect. Suppers is available in four courses, salad, soup, main course and desert. While we are getting in plenty of walking as we tour during the day, the first time on the scale back in Rochester may be a shock.


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