Holiday: Jordan – Day 8 (23rd April)

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We’re in Jordan for 10 days with great mates, Ralph & Karen.

Mrs P, yours truly, Karen and Ralph!

Welcome to Day 8! Thanks for all the great comments about yesterday’s visit to Amman. Yes, it was a busy one, and I think we’re going to need another holiday after this one! ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜. If you missed any of my previous Posts, the links are further down the page.

Today, is more of the same – it’s another cultural one – but with a religious slant to it! Atheists, look away now! or click HERE to take you to later in this Post. Ready for today’s adventure?

Here. We. Go! We’re off to Madaba first of all, and then onwards in a north-westerly direction to the religiously significant Mount Nebo.

First Stop: Madaba
Second Stop: Mount Nebo

Eddie, our Guide, has been great. During our stay, he has brought the country, its culture, and its people alive for us, and we’ve learned a lot. I’ve no doubt that today will be ‘more of the same’. ๐Ÿ‘

Eddie the Eager! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘

But first, before today’s travel news, here is today’s weather forecast… ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜Ž

Very nice for enjoying the sights!

Click for more about our Jordan Itinerary

What you may have missed…

Day 7 – Cultural Day – Amman
Day 6 – Day of the Dead (Sea!)
Day 5 – Dana Biosphere Day
Day 4 – Petra Day (Part 2)
Day 3 – Petra Day (Part 1)
Day 2 – Castle Day
Day 1 – Lazy Day
Day 0 – Travel Day

All aboard!

8.45am: After our breakfast, it was ‘business as usual’ and we met Eddie and our Driver (Yay! We finally learned his name – it’s ‘Tha-er’ – and how to pronounce it). We were slightly earlier than usual for our initial trek south and with our cultural heads once again firmly fixed in place, we headed off to our first stop in Madaba.

About Madaba

Madaba is an ancient town in Jordan, southwest of the capital Amman. Itโ€™s known for its 6th-century mosaic map of the Holy Land in the Greek Orthodox Church of St. George. More information HERE. It was good of the city to put out flags and bunting for our arrival – impressive! However, Eddie ‘burst our bubble’ by revealing that the King had visited Madaba yesterday! ๐Ÿ˜’

Unusually, the city is predominantly, Christian rather than Muslim.

St George’s Church

9.42am: Hello Madaba!๐Ÿ‘. Our first stop was at the famous St George’s Church. It’s currently on its THIRD rebuild thanks to the ferocity of earthquakes over the years. But before we could look around it, Eddie insisted on a short Bible lesson! Gosh! I haven’t had one of those for a good many years! ๐Ÿค”

A captive audience for Eddie

A fifteen-minute session gave us a reminder of Moses leading his folk into the Promised Land – and the map behind him illustrated the journey. The map itself was a copy of the rather old – 6th-century – mosaic in the nearby Church, considered to be the OLDEST map of the Holy Land in existence. Next, the real thing…

Before us, a detailed mosaic of the Holy Land showing the area in great detail. It wasn’t 100% complete, but given its age, what was left was in great condition.

The Church had been restored well, but there was clearly more to do here. On leaving, we realised it was St George’s Day… Perfect timing, ehh! ๐Ÿ˜

10.13am: Next stop? Heading northwest to Mount Nebo.

Mount Nebo

10.36am: As we arrived at Mount Nebo, we could see that it was a popular destination and was used to volume! The very large car-park was already half-full and there was room for coaches too. In truth, I’m not sure what we were expecting, but first impressions indicated that a lot of time and money had gone into creating/rebuilding the location. So, what’s its significance? Mount Nebo is mentioned in the Bible as the place where Moses was granted a view of the Promised Land before his death at the ripe old age of 120! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ. Currently, the site is managed by a group of Franciscan Monks, who were given custody of this sacred location just over 90 years ago.

‘The Promised Land’

A whole area has been developed here around this pivotal point on the map. Everywhere was scrupulously clean and well laid out with some significant stonework to admire.

The above was dedicated to the visit of Pope John Paul II in 2000. The face of the statue features likenesses of Moses whilst the area immediately in front features the names and towns of Italian Archaeologists who had excavated the site over 50 years and supported the rebuilding project.

A few minutes walk later was the Moses Memorial. According to both the Jewish and Christian traditions, Moses was buried on Mount Nebo by God Himself, but his final resting place is unknown.

Abu Badd

10.51am: They don’t make doors like that anymore! The above stone known as the ‘The Abu Badd’ was once used as the fortified door of a nearby Byzantine monastery to hide the gold belonging to the Israelites as they exited Egypt.

Memorial Church

The Memorial Church of Moses, Mount Nebo

10.55am: Next, Eddie pointed out the various ‘ages’ of the nearby Memorial Church of Moses. In fact, there were four levels to the stonework indicating how many times the Church had been built upon. More about the inside of the Church later.

The Brazen Serpent

11.01am: Well, this was striking! Called the ‘Brazen Serpent’ or ‘Staff of Moses’, this is a large metal structure created by Giovanni Fantoni and symbolises the miracle invoked by Moses and the crucifixion of Jesus. Visually, this was impressive stuff and there was quite a queue to be photographed next to it.

The Memorial Church of Moses

11.08am: The church was first constructed in the second half of the 4th century to commemorate the place of Moses’ death. It was enlarged in the late fifth century CE and rebuilt in 597 CE. The church was abandoned by the 16th century and was rediscovered only in the mid-19th century, using 4th and 5th-century pilgrim travelogues. It’s also the home of some very fine and unique mosaics.

It was all very well presented, but of course, it’s still a Church too, and we noticed that the Security Guard was having to ask people to ‘keep quiet’!

The Olive Tree

11.20am: Not just ANY Olive Tree, this one was planted by Pope John Paull II in 2000 during his visit.

11.35am: A well-deserved coffee break, but there seems to be a national shortage of Cappuccino out here and so we settled for a simple white.

11.50am: Time to say our goodbyes to Mount Nebo and head in the direction of Lunch! But not before…

Welcome back to my Atheist readers from earlier…

Ye Olde Tourist Trappe!

Madaba Handicraft Center

12.03pm: It’s just the way of things out here! Eddie ‘gave us the opportunity’ to look around a local handicraft centre. It featured miles (and miles) of gifts primarily all constructed from mosaic. We saw the staff actually at work, where they demonstrated fine, delicate and complex workmanship with a great eye for detail.

With the owner on hand to offer us ‘very special price’ and ‘two for one’ deals, we were tempted, but NOT that much. Make no mistake, the items on sale were beautiful – it’s just that we didn’t need them.


12.29pm: Our first slight ‘clash of cultures’. We wanted to eat light because we were planning a Chinese meal tonight, whilst Eddie wanted to invite us to a local restaurant where we could dine-and-dine until we burst. They really like their food out here and are very much ‘three meals a day’ – minimum! Volume of food, therefore, if you’re Jordanian, seems to be the primary motivator, and we had to fall-back on some tried and tested diplomacy skills to gently back-out of the (kind) invitation. In the end, Eddie understood, but it did feel like a Middle Eastern conflict – albeit a small one! Phew! ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ˜€

A satisfying (and small) Lunch!

1.25pm: It turned out to be a very satisfying – and light – meal. We paid the bill (just ยฃ10 per pair, including drinks) and headed back to the minibus for the journey back.

2.19pm: After dropping off Eddie at his home, our Driver, Tha-er, took us to the Hotel. Time for a cuppa and a smidge of reflection. It had been a busy day (but not as busy as yesterday). It had been good to link the Bible stories with ‘real-world’ locations too!

Tonight’s Meal

6.30pm: We went oriental tonight and headed for the Red Dragon, about a 10-minute walk away.

I think it’s the smallest restaurant I’ve ever eaten in (18 seats), but what it lacked in size it made up for in friendly service and tasty food! ๐Ÿ‘

7.55pm: That certainly hit the mark! We walked back to the Hotel and headed for the Pool Bar. ๐Ÿ‘

The view from the Pool Bar

Tomorrow is our last full day here and we’re heading north to Jerash.

xx.xxpm: That’s us signing-off for Day 8 – thanks for your readership and comments so far! See you all tomorrow! ๐Ÿ’ค๐Ÿ’ค๐Ÿ’ค๐Ÿ’ค

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