Today is our last day in Jordan. As our flight leaves Amman only in the afternoon, we decided to still fill it with more sight seeing.
While we had seen some churches and archaeological sights already on our first arrival in Madaba, this time we set off early and walked up to the church of Jean Babtiste the beheaded.
We only had seen it from the outside due to the late hour last time. This time we walked in the church ruins and catacombs below.
The entire church was built upon another and excavations are still ongoing. A cute orange cat kept us company during our subterranean excursion.
The highlight was not the church itself, it was the attached bell tower that we climbed. Many stairs on small staircases, past four bell ropes and bells we went until we arrived at a small opening that led to a very tiny ledge around the outside of the tower.
With barely 50 cm width and a rickety reeling around it, we kept close to the walls.
Esther’s fear of height was very present and when the church bells started to ring she jumped at the loudness of it. The bell tower is the highest point in Madaba and we had a 360 degree surround view from up top.
Once we left the church compound we wandered in the fairly deserted roads of the old town, which only seem to come alive around lunchtime.
We were in search of a shop that sells those nice pashmina scarfs made of cashmere. Those are incredibly soft and this was the place to get them. Esthers bartering also yielded an additional pair of earrings made of silver, green Malachite and Agate.
Once back at the Mosaic hotel we did a final packing of our bags, before our driver Hamdi picked us up. We had decided to get to the airport with a detour to Mount Nebo. We probably should not have bothered.
Barely ten km outside Madaba is Mt. Nebo and it’s basilica.
This is the spot where Moses supposedly stood and overlooked the holy land (you can find two other places in the region that claim this honor. One in Israel and one in Egypt). On one side you can see the Dead Sea and Israel, on the other Madaba and the surrounding hills.
The modern looking church sits in full sunshine with an iron cross in front. Originally only a small Franciscan Friars monastery was situated there, and it served as a pilgrimage site until today on the route between Jerusalem and Damascus.
We were disappointed to see that the restoration work was carried out with modern materials. Not much of the old, original materials exist anymore. Behind a modern facade, only a few original pillars exist inside the church as well as a very nice, well preserved mosaic on the church floor.
All the other outbuildings around the church are barely more than low walls with a few mill stones strewn about.
Not so much into the mystique of the bible, we could have really skipped that visit but at least it was a nice sunny day and we enjoyed the last warm rays of sunshine before having to embark on our flight home.
Check-In at the Queen Alia International Airport was quick with no complications, so we had about two hours of relaxation in the Crowns Lounge of Jordanian Airlines that welcomes Star Alliance guests as well.
An interesting open structure at the second floor overlooking the Terminal with a decent choice of warm food. As we boarded the plane we had the whole front section of the airplane for ourselves.
Since Chris doesn’t feel any ‘Flugscham’ or ‘flight shame’, Esther compensated our CO2 footprint by donating to a very nice project providing families in India, Nepal or Ruanda with smoke free efficient ovens reducing CO2 generation. More on these projects here or here.
That way we were the first out of the plane and managed to swiftly pass through passport control and security check and reach the plane from Vienna to Munich in time even though we only had a layover of 35 minutes.
All in all it was a very nice vacation, and again we had the feeling that despite Omicron slowing down the world, it did not manage to slow down our travels around the globe. Any suggestions where we should go next?