Arrival in JordanJuly 17, 2017 in Jordan
Our first view of Jordan couldn't have been in greater contrast to Rwanda - not a hill or blade of grass in sight!
We were met before immigration by a rep from the Jordanian agent we booked through, and were expedited through the "Jordanian" queue with a free visa - getting it in Australia was going to cost us $400 each, or buying it on arrival was $80 each, but as we used a registered Jordanian agent, he arranged it for free.
He handed us over to Abed, our driver for the next 5 days and we headed towards Madaba, 30 minutes from the airport. On the way out of the airport we were stopped by a police patrol. "If he asks, this is a free hotel shuttle service" Abed briefed us as we stopped. Turns out one of the senior politicians owns the taxi company, and he doesn't like anyone else getting paid to pick up people from the airport, so the police do his dirty work. Ah, that's so Congo...!!
We stopped for a Turkish coffee from a roadside stall on the way, then straight to Madaba on a very quiet road. The roadside was dusty and barren, with piles of rubbish everywhere. Madaba is south of the capital Amman and is best known for the 6th century Mosaic Map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land. Made of two million pieces of coloured local stone, it is believed to be the earlist map of the villages and towns as far as the Nile Delta.
After checking into our hotel, we went for a walk to the town centre and located the Church of St George. We'd just finished taking photos of the mosaic when a lady appeared and asked for our ticket, which we were apparently meant to buy from the gift shop before entering. Clearly no need for that now ☺.
We then visited the Archaeological Park and Museum, which has the remains of several 6th century Byzantine churches and homes, even more impressive than the church. The guide also took us to a mosaic workshop where they are keeping the art alive, before we grabbed a drink and some pizza for tea on the way back to our hotel for a swim.
Early night, ready for our bike ride tomorrow.
Stayed: Mariam Hotel, MadabaRead more