On New Year’s Eve the tour group headed for the Amman Museum, a recently constructed museum housing artefacts from various periods in the history of Jordan and the region of the Near East, including some pieces from Petra. The drive around Amman reveals ancient and more modern buildings side by side; and the area is very hilly.
From the museum we headed out of Amman to the border with Israel at the Allenby Bridge. This was another trip through semi-desert through the Jordan Valley which is irrigated, to the border. The crossing is a procedure, but as a tour group we had little difficulty. There is a great deal of security to be seen. We picked up our new tour guide, Gila who was born in America and lives in Jerusalem.
Our first site visit was to Jericho, which has the remains of the ancient city mentioned in the Bible. It has been extensively excavated during the last two centuries, principally to locate the famous walls that ‘came tumbling down’ as Joshua led his army around the fortifications. On our way from there to Jerusalem we went into the ‘wilderness’ to see St George’s Monastery perched high up on a ledge in the mountains. Extraordinary!
From there into Jerusalem was a short, uphill drive to our accommodation at Nortre Dame of Jerusalem, a Guest House/Hotel with an interesting history. It was of course New Year’s Eve, so even in this Jewish/Muslim city there was much celebration (all Christians probably) out enjoying the brisk, fine weather with music and revelry. The music went till 2.00am at our hotel, preventing sleep!
Happy New Year! What a place to begin 2015.