06 december Petra (JORDAN)

More than seven hours of walk in the ancient city of Petra!

On the back of a horse we have reached the entry of the "siq" (from the Arab: throat). A long natural path among tall rocks, a mixture between Grand Canyon and labyrinth of "Alice in wonderland!"

What a wonder, after so much walk, suddenly this great monument appears in front of you, dug in the rock.

It goes up to the Nabateis time, around the first century after Christ. It's impressive and exciting more for the idea of what it has been, of the period in which it has been built than for the monument itself.

The thing that impressed me the most, after of course the initial amazement for the so-called "treasure of the Nabateis", has been the breathtaking view that we have admired climbing on those enormous rocks without age!

I have appreciated a lot the long walk that has conducted us to a monastery, also dug in the rock. We climbed breathing that mystical atmosphere and thinking about what that place originally could have been.

Remember that it has been discovered only one century and a half ago...

"Petra is the most beautiful place on earth. Not for its ruins, but for the colors of its rocks, all red and black with green and blue stripes, and for the form of its stones and spires, and for its fantastic gorge, which runs the water spring and that is just large enough to let a camel pass. I read an endless series of descriptions, but they absolutely fail to give an idea of it and I am sure that even I am not able to do so. So you do not ever know what Petra actually is, unless you go there in person.
Only the pictures in a childhood dream sometimes look immense and so quiet.

- T.H. LAWRENCE - (Lawrence of Arabia) The Seven Pillars of Wisdom

07 december Wadi Rum (JORDAN)

On board of a great jeep we have crossed part of the mythical Wadi Rum desert till some throats that penetrated in the rock.

We met another jeep that was coming directly from Saudi Arab by desert!

Small diplomatic chat and we kept on our road... till we enjoyed a good tea under a Bedouin tent...

[Nick]: "Today I was surprised by the desert landscapes... Today's tour in the "red desert" has been very interesting.

In the first forenoon we have visited the city of Beida, or small Petra... it was a miniature Petra but nothing in compare of the first one!"

 

08 december Jerusalem (ISRAEL)

Ahmad comes to pick us up to go to the border.

This excursion got me quite worried for the many difficulties that we had met along our journey: visas, bureaucracy, controls, customs etc.

But just these worries are those that make a trip thrilling at the end. They are the spices and the correct ingredients that make the difference!

One hour later we reach the border with Jordan.

We pay the exit tax and here we are, shortly later, crowded in a grungy bus crossing a tongue of desolate land, three kilometres long, the so-called "land of anybody" till we get to a barrier with so many boned threads, cameras, armed agents with ultra technological rifles.

Let's not forget that Israel possesses the most powerful army in the world, more equipped also of the Americans!

They check us many times, body checks launches, then each of us is submitted to a real questioning. "Why have you come to Israel? Where will you go? Do you know someone here? How long will you be here? With whom have you come? How long you know every single person that is here with you? Where did you know them? And so on...

Of course who gets here by plane will avoid all formalities that we have had to bear but we are coming from an Arabic Country!

So many questions that, at the end, a bit disorientated, make me forget to underline that I didn't want the Israeli stamp on the passport (some nations don't allow you the access in their territory if you possess the Israeli visa or stamp, therefore you can ask to make it put oin a sheet apart)! We all forget it... Well, we will have to do a new passport once in Italy!

After so many formalities our new driver comes to pick us up. Our "tour" planned two cars, two drivers and two guides. Respectively a Jordanian and an Israeli one considering that they are both forbidden to go beyond other people's border.

We entry Israel.

Our guide, the nice and cultured Samer explains us minutely all the places that we are crossing and the one that we will visit. We cross the Desert of Judas and our first step is the Mountain of the Ulivis.

While Samer was telling us all the histories of those legendary places and made us passion with his emphasis, I wondered: "We don't need Lonely Planet here, we need the Bible!"

We visit the place where the Assumption happened, the Cenacle (where the very famous "Last supper" was consumed), the Golgota (where Jesus was crucifix), the Saint Sepulchre (where he was buried) and so many others... .

What a strong feeling thinking that just in those places, where we were walking in that moment, 2000 years ago, so many great things happened, things that would have changed the world!

For sure the thing that impressed me the most has been the "Wailing Wall."

Seeing those boys, from the trimmed hair and the long sideburns that dangled on the ears, with those weird suits, the headgear as the one used by the Pope, that were praying with such an impetus, such a strength and intensity, with a hand supported to the wall and the other that maintained a book of prayers...

Speaking up, each of them on his own, debating while he was howling his prays to the sky. Those boys of my age that shouted with so much vehemence those sacred verses.

Those children, sat, with annoyed faces, close to their parents that were praying. Today it is Saturday and this day, for the Hebrews, is sacred. They can't work, they don't do anything but praying. It's even forbidden the use of the car, they go on foot to the "Wailing Wall" and they pray: men on one side and women on another.

We also see the famous "Gold Dome" of the Mosque of Jerusalem and after various check points we manage enter Palestine, in the city of Bethlehem, where Jesus was born!

Suddenly everything changes here. We don't see Jewish writings or people with long sideburns anymore but everything is in Arabic, again women reappear with the veil or with the burka yet we are few km from Jerusalem.

It's so anachronistic to see that great wall that separates Israel from Palestine. All those check points, those military of the special forces, armed, that wandered among the tourists...

We throw down the Wall in Berlin while here they are building another one. Not always history teaches!

We continue our exploration to the very famous "Manger" (where the ox and the donkey heated Jesus Child just born) and the Cave of the Nativity. The emotions run in a whirling rhythm.

It's late! Our border is already closed (as we knew), we must leave the Holy Land through another border situated in the north, about two hours by car from where we are and close to another city of biblical memory: Gerico. We have to hurry because we cannot risk, tomorrow morning we return to Italy from Amman!

We arrive just on time even if the bureaucracy and the customs controls don't abandon us.

Great sigh of relief: we are in the other side! But the day is still long!

A bus conducts us to the Jordan border. The soldier tells us that we should pay a very expensive tax of entry. No way.

Nick and I try to solve the matter diplomatically but in vain. At the end I succeed in phoning our Jordan contact: Ahmad.

After many mishaps solves our troubles... But once more the day is still long although is deep night...

We notice two girls with two huge back packs... They were coming from Israel after having travelled through Yemen and Oman! So crazy!

After solving all the formalities, Ahmad asks us a favour that however will make us waste other time!

We finally succeed in leaving with two taxis. We also give a lift to the two Hungarian girls.

Soon our car turns into an Arabic itinerant disco. High volume music while we dance even if we are tight as sardines. Sometimes the volume is turned down because there are the omnipresent checks points...

We arrive at midnight in Amman and immediately we go to thank the great Samer that has organized us a marvellous tour!

09 december Amman (JORDAN)

We greet "Apu", manager of the supermarket open 24 hours on 24 (as he used to say), next to our hotel...

How many night time chats we have done with him talking with gestures and with the eyes! He has embraced us very warmingly.

Eva convinces us to taste a Jordanian speciality and we finish into a sort of Arabic fast food to eat a sort of kebab...

In forenoon we succeed in giving them a lift to the airport, their flight was scheduled half an hour after ours...

We are in the airport now, in few minutes we take off...

I feel satisfied... I have seen another part of the world... How beautiful our Earth is!

شكر اّردن

תודות ישראל !

شكر فلسطين

 

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