Israel, as seen from Jordan

After breakfast at the deserted eco-lodge I retraced my steps and climbed away from the Dead Sea basin and up to the highlands towards an official viewpoint/informational museum. It was a pretty modern conservation center/office complex that had quite a few interesting displays on the geology and ecology of the area. Continuing with the trend, I was the only one there.

Looking west-ish from the Jordanian highlands over the Dead Sea towards Israel:

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After leaving the viewpoint I head up towards the town of Madaba, which was an ancient Christian settlement and a famous center for mosaics. Since I had started my day so early (in order to avoid traffic leaving Amman and to try and beat the heat) it wasn’t even lunchtime by the time I got to Madaba. After cruising through town and trying to find something to eat I gave up and continued out towards Mt. Nebo.

Looking northwest towards the Jordan River/Israeli border from Mt. Nebo, supposedly where Moses first saw The Promised Land:

They were doing some renovations when I was there, so there wasn’t much to look at other than the view. But there are a couple of churches being restored and a dusty little museum. Escaping just before a busload of students arrived, I drove down the road a bit and had a nice lunch before heading back into town to scope out my accommodation.

Lunch…$10?

The Black Ibis Inn took quite some scoping to locate, but it was quite excellent for something like $17 per night. It being summer, the owner’s sister were back from ‘merica with her kid so I was able to have a pretty extensive conversation with someone who grew up in the area. After sorting out the wifi and downloading Yeezus to my phone I went ahead and took a nice long nap in my A/C’d room. After I got up I followed LP’s recommendation to one of the best restaurants I went to in my travels. It was located in the picturesque courtyard of a historical mansion, complete with tastefully arranged flora and lanterns. I think during the day the house also serves as a museum. I couldn’t quite decide what to make of the cluster of MP5 toting professional looking soldiers loitering outside of the church I passed, but I settled on believing that they were there to protect tourists. This being almost a year ago, I can’t recall what I ate exactly, but I do remember the variety of puffy Arab bread to be quite outstanding. I also had some chicken hearts…and now that I found some pictures on Google+…also some delicious onion/lamb/pine nuts stew thing served in an Arabic tortilla bowl. And of course tabouleh. All told it couldn’t have been more than $30 or so.

After dinner I took a nice amble back to my hotel, stopping on the way in a mosaic workshop attached/affiliated to one of the churches in town. I chatted with the owner/artist for awhile and admired some of the ridiculously detailed and massive works he had in the upstairs gallery before settling on a few more manageable ones for souvenir/gifts. The man has been making mosaics for all 50 years or so of his adult life and is currently training his nephew to do the same. He also let me take a peek at the original Roman-era mosaics in the attached church. After picking up my hefty souvenirs I loaded up on some roasted nuts on my way back and then called it a night.

 

 

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