DAY 11 – THURSDAY, MAY 8
For those of us doing the Jordan extension, this was our last morning in Jerusalem. It would be a very “unusual” day weather-wise. Having rained last night, we left at 7:30 this morning. It was still raining. We headed to the Allenby Bridge (named after the British General during WWI) where we crossed into Jordan. It was still raining, very unusual for the Jordan Valley area, especially this time of year! The crossing took a little longer than usual. At the Jordanian side, we were met by “Mo,” our guide for the next few days.
After taking care of the passport entry, our first stop was Mt. Nebo. It was still raining. But once we began to ascend to the top of Nebo, the skies began to break. On top, the visibility as the best ever! The Dead Sea glistened in the sun, with places like Qumran and Jericho, and even the outskirts of Jerusalem coming into view. We read from Deuteronomy 31, 34, and Joshua 1 about the death of Moses and the crossing of the Jordan by Joshua. Leaving Nebo, a few of us raced up an adjacent mountain to get a better view of the Dead Sea, but the clouds rolled up in, quickly enveloping us in a cloud of fog. It as very unusual!
After briefly stopping at a mosaic factory, we visited Medaba and the St George Church. Here, a fabulous 6th century map is displayed. It once served as the floor for an early church. The map features the Jordan/Israel areas, as well as a detailed layout of the city of Jerusalem. Leaving the church, we ate lunch at a local restaurant, with mot of us ordering hamburgers and French fries! It was really good!
From here we drove south, primarily on the Desert Highway, and then on part of the Kings’ Highway. As we neared Wadi Mosa (Petra), we got caught in a series of flash floods. The waters flowed forcefully down through the wadi (e.g. dry river bed) and overflowed onto the main street through this one town. People and vehicles quickly were forced to seek higher ground. We took a high road around most of the town, but went through about a foot of water in getting back onto the main road. A few miles further, we even saw snow on the sides of the road. This was quite unbelievable for May 8th!!
We finally arrived at our hotel right at the entrance to the site of Petra (Petra Moon Hotel). We ate dinner and retired early after this long travel day. We sure hope the site of Petra re-opens tomorrow!!
DAY 12 – FRIDAY, MAY 9
We plan to spend the entire day in Petra. The site was closed today because of unusual rains and flash flooding. We hope it will be open for us tomorrow!