Friends and Romans..

Trip Start Apr 15, 2011
Trip End Apr 23, 2011

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Flag of Jordan  , Irbid,
Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Today we set off early to visit Bethany the baptismal site where John the Baptist baptised Jesus. 
It is only a short drive from the hotel to the site which is still being developed quite extensively. There are well laid out paths around the various sites including the remains of the church built  over what is said to be the original baptismal site.

We are all shocked by how small the actual River Jordan is, when we go down to the water's edge it is only a matter of feet to the Israeli side, where Terr is another well developed pilgrimage site. It is difficult to comprehend how this was a war zone only a few years earlier.

Our next stop is at the Roman city of Jerash the other side of Amman. Unfortunately there appears to be some form of local celebration as it seems that every schoolgirl in Jordan is also at the site today and each group of girls has their own drummer (don't ask me why!) and they are drumming, singing and chatting loudly as young girls do! We quickly become the tourist attraction as everyone seems to want to try out their English and we are followed and photographed most of the day, particularly the blue eyed blondes and our youngest girl who has chosen to wear a short skirt that all the girls are fascinated by!

Our first stop is at the Hippodrome for the Gladiator show. This is actually very good, the commentary is tongue in cheek and the "legionnaires" show us the Roman combat formations, the gladiators have play fights and the chariot racers race around!

After a lunch stop inside the site we head out to explore, helped as much as possible by Shuayb who finds it difficult at times to make himself heard over the din!

The site itself is said to be one of the most well preserved sites of Roman architecture in the World outside Italy. There are paved and colonnaded streets,  hilltop temples,  theatres and spacious public squares and plazas, baths, fountains and the city walls are pierced by towers and gates all of which are in remarkable condition having been hidden by sand until the last 70 years.

In one of the theatres there are musicians in Jordanian dress who commence playing bagpipes and drums, the young girls really loved this the noise levels were phenomenal!

After all this excitement back to the coach to drive to the hotel for our last night. The scenery near Amman is a lot greener, many market gardens and fruit trees around, a marked contrast to the barren desert scenery around the Dead Sea.


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