With a Royal Jordanian flight, five hours together with Zirri, a nice Tunisian guy that has been living in Italy for a life time and that who speals only Sicilian.

He was going to the Mecca with a group of believers for the legendary pilgrimage.

They impressed me when they started to pray in the hall of the airport.

Just before embarking, at 14 o'clock, they removed their shoes and they began their prayers.

They kneeled down and they made their fingertips run under the wood marbles that correspond to our rosary.  

It has been funny, however, that they were divided into two groups and they were turned toward two different points...

"Do you know where La Mecca is?"

02 december Amman (JORDAN)

We land in this mysterious city. From the sky only few lights...

We are in Jordan, what emotion! These are the places where Jesus has lived. In these days we will cross so many mystical places, so many times listened to reading the Bible or the Gospel or the sermons of our priests during the masses... !

Amman welcomes us as an Arabic Cancun. So many McDonalds, Kfc, Burger King with the characteristic coloured insignias written in Arab.

Jordan is a thread-western nation.

King Hussein, craftsman of 1972 blood September where he made thousand of Palestinian kill, he saved himslef only thanks to the support of the Americans. Anyway, his son: Abdellah, marrying the beautiful and noble Palestinian: Rania, managed to calm all the tension down.

Diplomatic marriage? I don't know, I know only that the actual queen of Jordan is marvellous!

03 december Umm Qeis (JORDAN)

We visit the city of Umm Qeis (biblical name: Gadara). From here we have been able to admire the high ground of the Golan and in distance the lake of Tiberiade.

This city, uninhabited by now, preserve the rests of two ancient civilizations: the Roman and the Byzantine one. There were Roman amphitheatres, Byzantine mosaics, even the rests of a church...

From here we proceed for Jerash (the old Gerasa), along the roads only ruins, dirt and destruction.

We stop there to visit a small crusher... A spectacular oil of olive... What a perfume! That gold color... I imagined a slice of warm bread and some of that oil... I desired it so much that once in the hotel I made them prepare a huge plate of green salad with olives that it floated on that oil. What a goodness! Natural things are always the best.

Jerash was a mixture of Luxor and Pompeii. Very big, also full of rests of the Roman period and with background the whole city, all white, castled on a hillock. Beautiful the Thistle, the oval plaza, the Ninfeo, the Diana Temple (or Artemide). Sometimes you could hear the call of the "muezzim" from the minaret that made even more unforgettable the exploration of the site.

Almost all the houses are built with blocks of white stone that originate from the many Jordanian caves.

Returned to Amman, we try to organize a visit to the Holy Land contacting several tipical travel agencies.


In the late afternoon, by taxi, we go to the city center. It's cool walking around through the avenues of the city...

Amman. Just the name fascinates and excites me. When I think about it, I remind of when I was child and my father questioned me on the capitals of the world. "The capital of Jordan?" - "Amman." And now here I am!

How strange is walking among people with the classical red "kefia", veiled women, some also with the impressive black burka, next to shops that sold gold and they exposed it as if they were sausages in a butchery, without armoured doors, neither guards... Nobody steals here, otherwise they cut their hands!

I was disappointed by the "suq" (the Arabic market), I expected something more romantic instead of the horde of small shops, they all rigorously showed portraits of King Hussein or Abellah in the most disparate laying...

04 december Qasr Al-Kharanah (JORDAN)

[Nick]: "Amman is entirely built on seven hills (as Rome), now it counts nineteen of them and there are also some areas lived by the fugitive Palestinian.

Yesterday in Gadara I was impressed by an inscription left near a Roman grave... It recited these verses: "To you that footsteps here today... Yesterday I was as you and tomorrow you will be as me... therefore enjoy your life!" They already knew it since the times of the Romans, yet today, there is still people that have not understood that"...

This morning we have visited Betania, the place where Jesus was baptized by John Baptist; the site is nothing special however it is touching for the historical-religious meaning that it has. We have been five meters away from the border with Israel marked by the crossing of the river Jordan.

After that we have made a bath in the Dead Sea. Its salinity is equal to 33%, what strange feeling floating.

Water was rather cold and I didn't have my towel too, neither something dry to change! But, of course, I could not miss a chance like that... In the land of Sodoma and Gomorra we undressed and plunged in water... It reminded me of when I was a child and I saw a photo in a travel depliants: there was a man that, comfortably floating, stretched out and he was reading a newspaper, almost as if it were on an armchair. We did it too and we had a such good time...

In the afternoon we have reached some caravan-menageries: "Qasr Al-Kharanah", situated on the road that penetrates in the heart of the Middle East. In the past it has been a very important point, place of rest for the cammellieris that were going to Persia.

It has been exciting to see the road signals that pointed out the border with Saudi Arab (50 km) or with Iraq (250 km). Some hundred km from us there is a bloody war!

To cross that long tongue of asphalt in the mean of the desert, the same one that the western journalists crossed when, during the two Gulf Wars, they tried to enter Iraq through Jordan...

[Nick]: "Today I have had the confirmation that Jordanian taxi drivers are really cool! The one of tonight told us that he had been in Germany as clandestine thanks to a fake visa and fake document purchased in Czechoslovakia paid 1000 Euro... Besides that he had also been to Oslo and showed us all the photos that he exposed in his taxi too!

He had no idea about where our hotel was and he stopped so many times to ask information offering us a free tour of Amman by night!"

"Many people will run back and forth, and knowledge will increase." (From the Book of Daniel of the Bible)

05 december Madaba (JORDAN)

Madaba. Perhaps for the first time we have seen a typical Jordanian town!

Capitals are rather cosmopolitans, therefore it is not very real what you see, here, instead, you could see the oldies wrapped in their "galabeia" and with the red "kefias" who were spending the day quietly sat on a small wall or on a bench... women, with their veils that were walking...

We visit the orthodox church of St. George that preserves the mosaic of the original map of Palestine.

Here, for the first time, I have really thought over the tragedy of the Palestinians. This people so maltreated, abused, accursed. I tried to imagine how they could live and it has been dramatic, how would I feel if, for political motivations they deprived me of the right to be in my nation, to me and my brothers and they would confine us in a zone, as fugitive, where anybody wants us?

We climb Nebo Mountain from which we could enjoy of an ample panning on the Jordan river and Jerusalem.

In 2000, on the occasion of the Jubilee, Pope John Paul II has been here as well!

We continue till the strengthened city of Kerak. A castle that dominated a valley but kept in very bad conditions, in fact it didn't impress me a lot. It was cool, however, because we were there while they were filming an episode of an Arabic telefilm!

In the end, with two hours and a half by car we get to the city of Petra!

BEWARE. Just while we were collecting our baggage, we get a great news! Our hotel (a simple 3 stars) is in restructuring and therefore we will sleep in the "Crowne Plaza" (5 stars)! Same price!

 

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