It was nearly dark when the plane landed in Amman, Jordan. We were met by Ali of Petra Moon, escorted through customs & immigrations, placed into a taxi, and sent on our way to our hotel in Madaba. The Madaba Inn is conveniently located SW of Amman allowing for an easy exit away from commuter traffic the next morning. Other than that the hotel didn’t have any redeeming qualities and the food was horrid. But whathehey, it was only one night and the next day we were met promptly by our driver/guide Mahmoud (pronounced mock-mood) Twaissi.

View from my room in Madaba


Our tour started just across the street from the hotel at the Madaba Greek Orthodox Church. The Mosaic Map on the floor is the oldest Biblical map of the Holy Land in the world and gave researchers historic information on the area from Lebanon to Egypt.


Click to see Dead Sea, Jericho, and Jerusalem

Before leaving town Mahmoud suggested that we stop at a mosaic factory which turned into a longer stop than wanted but then we were off to Mt Nebo, the first real highlight of Jordan. This is where Moses first saw the Promised Land, and where he died.

Is this Moses Spring?

From the top of Mt Nebo we could clearly see the Dead Sea, Jericho, and Jerusalem was a little less defined but still easily seen. There are 3 springs near by and historians debate over which is the actual location of where Moses struck the rock and water came forth. But most researchers agree that the spring below the Mt Nebo memorial is the most likely location of the Moses Spring.

Looking back at Mt Nebo

Everything floats high on
this salty water

As we dropped down off of Mt Nebo we lost altitude rapidly and as we traveled towards the Dead Sea our ears began to pop, the temperature rose, and finally we arrived at the lowest point on Earth (on land). Just two years ago Sis and I had been in Nepal and saw Mt. Everest, the highest point on Earth. Just like the world economy we have seen the highs and lows in just a few short years.


The Dead Sea

Next stop the Dead Sea 1,385 feet below sea level

Beach goers paint themselves with black mud of the Dead Sea floor.


Jordan River

About 30 miles north of the Dead Sea the Jordan River is not much bigger than a creek as it slowly meanders among the tall reeds. It is here that Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist. This is a rather odd little area of contradictions. It is located in a natural quiet unassuming setting that pulled at my spiritual emotions but it is encircled with barbed wire and armed military stationed around the parameter. I was surprised at how small the river is. Even with my bad shoulder I was able to throw a small rock into Israel.

This baptismal pool is connected to the Jordan River and thought to be where Jesus was baptized.

Man baptizing himself
in the Jordan River.

Church of the Baptism

Then it was back in the car and climbing upwards to the Karak Crusader Castle.

Karak Castle
  The large castle sits high on a hill with several large areas restored but the vast majority of the castle is still in renovation and off limits. 

Mahmoud Twaissi

Mahmoud is a likeable man and was very attentive to my sister’s sore knee. He is probably a great guide for a large group of people but he was never able to get on track to support our wishes. He continuously gave us more information than we wanted while standing directly between us and the attraction. Hey, he's very knowledgeable but just didn't quite fit my preferences as a guide.

Karak Castle
  North of Amman the town of Jerash is famous for its vast ancient Roman city ruins and the Roman chariot races and battle reenactments. Unfortunately for us they cancelled the show without warning the day we were there. The whole town was filled with disappointed and furious tourists who had come half way around the world to find the show cancelled without any explanation. This is only one example of how Jordan doesn’t appear to place a very high priority on tourism.

Jerash Hippodrome Jerash



Amman, Jordan

The city of Amman is definitely not a tourist town. It is filled with huge banks, insurance, and other business buildings. There is a small shopping area not far from the Roman amphitheater and Folklore Museum, and the lees-than-impressive Citadel sits onto the hill.

Roman amphitheater


Other than a few pieces of the Dead Sea scrolls the Jordan's National Archaeological Museum was rather small and disappointing. The city simply doesn’t offer much to tourists.

Amman Citadel

Roman amphitheater Folklore Museum Dead Sea scrolls


Egypt, Jordan, and Paris 2009
Egypt Home | Cairo Area | Abu Simbel & Aswan | Luxor | Northwest Jordan | Wadi Rum | Petra | Paris

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Revised April 05, 2009