Results tagged “Parents” from Eurasia 2012

Urrrgh. I hate drama. Hate stress. Blah.

Breakfast at this hotel was ok - the nicest thing was meats at breakfast!! Haven't had meat at breakfast this whole trip (except for some tuna on the first day).

Loaded up in the coach and got driven through the most affluent part of Amman, with the tour guide doing a whole PR spiel for the country. It certainly was nicer that the first impression we got of the country.

Our first stop was the "Memorial of Moses" on Mount Nebo - possibly the place that Moses came up to see into the Promised Land before he died. There were a couple of nice mosaics there and you could just barely see Jerusalem through the haze.

Came down from there and stopped at a mosaic-making workshop where they make some stunning mosaics from cut stone. They can take months to complete, depending on the size of stones and intricacy.

Then into Madaba. Traffic was a little crazy as traffic lights were out, and did I mention they don't really have road rules here?

We parked and walked up to see St George's Church and the amazing mosaic they have of the middle east something like 1500 years ago. But the buttheads decided to build a church on top of it, and stuck a supporting pillar *right in the middle of the mosaic* !?!?!? Idiots.

And then back to the bus back through the market street.

For some reason this town had a nice feel to it. Maybe because the shops looked more familiar (a lot of English and selling more western products), maybe because the locals were friendly and waving, maybe because the vendors weren't aggressive. Who knows.

Headed a way out of town to a new restaurant for lunch and it was really nice (with nice clean free toilets - a major bonus in this country!). They even had this camel milk custard dessert!

Next up - another one of Herod's palaces at Mukawer, traditionally the location that they beheaded John the Baptist. A good little climb up and a great view.

This country is amazingly water poor, but we did see a couple of interesting things. One thing was temporary water tanks with tubing to irrigate roadside trees they're trying to grow. At another point we saw a burst water pipe on the side of a mountain gushing water in a huge geyser half way down the side of the mountain.

Then to the "Grand Canyon of Jordan" - Wadi Mujib.

Then headed south. The landscape changed dramatically from farmland to semi-arid.

Had a pitsop along the way, but had to pay for the toilets here.

Continued south (then west) to Petra (Wadi Musa), arriving just on sunset (behind the clouds anyway).

Navigating this hotel is a drama. You have to take two separate lifts, but there's only two at each site, and they only hold six people at a very tight squeeze. Found some stairs and decided they were much easier and faster.

Dinner was a total drama. First the parents arguing about which way up or down the table to move to not leave odd seats, so abanonded them. But then getting food was a *massive* drama because of a bunch of rude Europeans (Italian I think but could have been French - both are in the building) pushing in and making everything take longer. Hate.

Internet is $5 for the whole stay, but another couple gave me a couple of dollars to use it briefly. But it's so slow I may not be able to get my blog entries online anyway. Plus the only place you can use it is in the lobby, and that's where all the Europeans come to smoke :( *sigh*

Now it's stoopidly late because we got here late and have to get up stoopidly early. Which means my chances of getting any decent sleep tonight are about zero..


Distance covered on the GPS: 351.5
Steps walked: 16414, but I'm taking off 5000 due to bumpy roads screwing up the count
Photos on the Canon: 335
Photos on the Sony: 49
Videos: 11
USD Spent: 5-2
JD Spent: 0.5+2

Only five more nights. I have to keep telling myself that. Only five more nights. Then I get my own room. Saving $1400, I guess I can put up with it.

Moving on.

So had a slight disaster last night - my lovely 64gb USB stick that Stu got me for Christmas died. It had one of the backups of all my photos. It was also the one I was going to send home with the parents later. Not happy. It detects it briefly when you plug it in, but then it drops out of windows again, and the led flashes non-stop on it for as long as you leave it plugged in :(

We had an early start today - on the bus at 7:30. This is so we could queue to go through security to get onto the temple mount. Queued for about three quarters of an hour. They did a visual inspection of bags (probably looking for Bibles which are forbidden), and then an xray. At one point there was a sign, obviously posted by Jews, saying that entry to the temple mount is forbidden according to Torah law. It's kind of weird that us Aussies can get in whereas most Jews can't I don't think (or possibly choose not to in case they step on where the holy of holies was). In fact the whole city is this weird and very delicate balance of Jews and Muslims.

Sign warning people to stay off the Temple Mount
Sign warning people to stay off the Temple Mount

Security entrance to the Temple Mount
Security entrance to the Temple Mount

So got go up the ramp next to the wailing wall (rubbing it in much?) and onto the temple mount. Of course the most spectacular thing there is the gold-leaf Dome of the Rock. Only muslims are allowed inside though.

The Wailing Wall
The Wailing Wall

Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

Dome of the Rock<br>Photo by Dad
Dome of the Rock
Photo by Dad

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock
Dome of the Rock

Dome of the Rock<br>Photo by Mum
Dome of the Rock
Photo by Mum

Walked past the Golden Gate and then out of the temple mount.

Golden Gate from the inside
Golden Gate from the inside

Just inside the walls of the Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Just inside the walls of the Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

Just outside the walls of the Temple Mount
Just outside the walls of the Temple Mount

Tour group just outside the Temple Mount
Tour group just outside the Temple Mount

Continued walking to the pool of Bethesda and had a look in St Anne's Basilica.

Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda

Pool of Bethesda
Pool of Bethesda

Poppies
Poppies

Arch
Arch

St Anne's Basilica<br>Photo by Dad
St Anne's Basilica
Photo by Dad

Then into another church - Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion I think - on the site of the Antonia Fortress to look at old cisterns and also an excavated street of Roman vintage.

Drain pipe
Drain pipe

Streets of Jerusalem<br>Photo by Dad
Streets of Jerusalem
Photo by Dad

Struthion Pool
Struthion Pool

Antonia Fortress<br>Photo by Mum
Antonia Fortress
Photo by Mum

Mosaic in Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion
Mosaic in Sisters of Notre Dame of Zion

And then it was to follow the path of some of the Stations of the Cross. This was a pretty cool walk through narrow alleys of shops.

Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa

IV Station of the Cross
IV Station of the Cross

III Station of the Cross
III Station of the Cross

V Station of the Cross
V Station of the Cross

Did you mean Palestine?
Did you mean Palestine?

Via Dolorosa
Via Dolorosa

VII Station of the Cross
VII Station of the Cross

At the end was The Church of the Holy Sepulchre in the Christian quarter that houses seven denominations (mostly various orthodoxes) in the one building. This church is on one of the proposed locations of Golgotha, and houses a stone slab said to have been used for the treatment of Jesus' body after the crucifixion. hrmmm.

Church of the Holy Sepulchre<br>Photo by Dad
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo by Dad

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Church of the Holy Sepulchre<br>Photo by Dad
Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Photo by Dad

Tombs in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Tombs in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Supposedly where Jesus body was treated after his crucifixion
Supposedly where Jesus body was treated after his crucifixion

Church of the Holy Sepulchre
Church of the Holy Sepulchre

Continued walking to an Armenian restaurant for lunch. This was sooo much better than yesterday - no crowds, food was brought out to us, and a very relaxed setting.

Jaffa Gate
Jaffa Gate

Finally back to the bus to battle crazy heavy holiday traffic out to the holocaust museum. Very sad place. They only gave us an hour and a half there, but could easily have spent a *lot* more time there. In fact, our next stop had to be cancelled because we were so late because of the traffic. So we just headed back to the hotel. So not sure why we had to be so rushed. They could have given us more time there :(

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

Holocaust History Museum
Holocaust History Museum

When we got back to the hotel we headed straight out again in search of somewhere that sold USB memory sticks. Eventually found a place and bought two 16gb sticks for 149 and 159 shekels.

Old city from near our hotel
Old city from near our hotel

Looking across to Palestinian territory from near our hotel
Looking across to Palestinian territory from near our hotel

Then had to do battle with parents over "laundry" space. Only five more nights, only five more nights.

Can hear fireworks going off. Can't see anything from here though..


Distance covered on the GPS: 28.4 km
Steps walked: 14905
Photos on the Canon: 232
Photos on the Sony: 36
Videos: 3

Urrghh. Patience with the parents is wearing pretty thin. Slept mostly ok. Woke up a couple of times in the night but otherwise slept from 10pm to 6am.

This morning the mother did more washing and stubbornly refused to close the bathroom window. *sigh*.

Our first stop was "The City of David" which is a region to the south of Jerusalem which was the old city of David (obviously!). There's a lot of archaeological stuff happening there at the moment.

Southern wall of the Temple Mount<br>Photo by Dad
Southern wall of the Temple Mount
Photo by Dad

The City of David entrance<br>Photo by Dad
The City of David entrance
Photo by Dad

Looking across the Kidron Valley from The City of David
Looking across the Kidron Valley from The City of David

Houses on the other side of the Kidron Valley built atop ancient tombs
Houses on the other side of the Kidron Valley built atop ancient tombs

Al-Aqsa Mosque from The City of David
Al-Aqsa Mosque from The City of David

Old City from The City of David
Old City from The City of David

We watched a little 3D film on some of the history of Jerusalem and the water tunnel that Hezekiah built. The screens weren't lined up properly though so it was a little hard to watch. I found it easier to just cover one eye.

Tour group in the 3D film theatre
Tour group in the 3D film theatre

Then we headed down down down past the Warren Shaft and down to Hezekiah's Tunnel. This was super cool! The water was thigh height at the beginning, but for most of the tunnel it flowed at mid calf height. There were some Swiss people in front of us and they were singing most of the way through and every so often they sang a hymn we knew so they were singing in German and we were singing in English, it was great fun :)

Heading down into Hezekiah's Tunnel
Heading down into Hezekiah's Tunnel

Hezekiah's Tunnel<br>Photo by Dad
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Photo by Dad

Hezekiah's Tunnel<br>Photo by Mum
Hezekiah's Tunnel
Photo by Mum

The tunnel opened out into the pool of Siloam.

Exit of Hezekiah's Tunnel
Exit of Hezekiah's Tunnel

Pool of Siloam
Pool of Siloam

Then we headed back up the hill. Starting with some recently excavated steps that turned into a tunnel that was at first lit then not lit at all and we had to pull out our torches again. I'm not sure how open it was to the public, but it seemed like we were intruding on an archaelogical dig and that's what we actually found at the end.

Tunnel leading back up the hill
Tunnel leading back up the hill

Archaelogical site just under the south wall of the Old City
Archaelogical site just under the south wall of the Old City

Archaelogical site<br>Photo by Dad
Archaelogical site
Photo by Dad

Archaelogical site<br>Photo by Mum
Archaelogical site
Photo by Mum

Next we headed up to the Zion Gate and into the Jewish Quarter of the old city. This area started off with just a massive parking lot and then lots of modern buildings.

Zion Gate, complete with bullet holes from various conflicts
Zion Gate, complete with bullet holes from various conflicts

Inside of the Zion Gate
Inside of the Zion Gate

After wandering through a bit we came to the "Burnt House" which is a house, probably of a temple priest, that they'd excavated which showed evidence of destruction by fire, possibly by the Romans. There was a little dramatisation film they'd made showing a possible scenario.

Burnt House Museum
Burnt House Museum

Burnt House Museum<br>Photo by Dad
Burnt House Museum
Photo by Dad

Cardo Maximus - ancient Roman street
Cardo Maximus - ancient Roman street

Dormition Abbey
Dormition Abbey

Dormition Abbey<br>Photo by Dad
Dormition Abbey
Photo by Dad

Walked some more to the room that "traditionally" was the room of the Last Supper. Yah, sure.

Room where the last supper was held.  Uh huh.
Room where the last supper was held. Uh huh.

Courtyard outside
Courtyard outside

King David's Tomb
King David's Tomb

Then down to the "rooster" church (because of the rooster crowing when Peter denied knowing Jesus) which supposedly was Caiphus' house, which did in fact have a real prison and/or dungeon under the house which could theoretically have held Jesus the night he was arrested.

Rooster church sign
Rooster church sign

Rooster church (St. Peter in Gallicantu)
Rooster church (St. Peter in Gallicantu)

St. Peter in Gallicantu<br>Photo by Dad
St. Peter in Gallicantu
Photo by Dad

St. Peter in Gallicantu<br>Photo by Dad
St. Peter in Gallicantu
Photo by Dad

Looking down into the dungeon in the house
Looking down into the dungeon in the house

Dungeon in the house
Dungeon in the house

Looking across to Palestinian territory
Looking across to Palestinian territory

Lunch was at the Ramat Rachel Hotel, but it was super crowded and pretty unorganised. It was so bad that there were no free tables to sit at and the only tables were piled high with used plates and trays. It was a complete shambles. At one point one of the waiting staff that was cleaning up dropped some wine glasses which left shattered glass all over the floor. But instead of cleaning it up he just walked away and left it. When we all left at least twenty minutes later it was all still there. The only bonus was that previous tables had left bottles of wine behind, that obviously had to be drunk, and even an unopened bottle that the waiting staff said we could have! Go figure!

Next we went to a lookout at the south end of Jerusalem to see the view of the city from the south.

Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Jerusalem
Jerusalem

Mount of Olives
Mount of Olives

Then it was back to the hotel for an early finish.

Little did we know but the original building of this hotel used to be an eye hospital, and just before the War of Independence they'd strung up a cable car across to the old city for transporting wounded. This cable car operated for a good six months without detection! The cable and operating mechanism are still there. Very cool!

Cable car used during the War of Independence
Cable car used during the War of Independence

View out the window where the cable car ran
View out the window where the cable car ran

Pulley system for the cable car
Pulley system for the cable car

After this I found a table in the lobby with a view and an electrical socket to do photo stuff, but didn't get too much done before some other people came down and bought me beer for copying their photos.. oops! So was a very pleasant evening with some beer, and the leftover bottle of wine from lunch and then a couple of drinks after dinner with everyone in the lobby :)

Coca Cola in Hebrew
Coca Cola in Hebrew

Me in a very big chair
Me in a very big chair

Distance covered on the GPS: 20.5 km
Steps walked: 11253+?? (left the pedometer in my bag so not sure of a final count, calling it 15000)
Photos on the Canon: 257
Photos on the Sony: 19
Videos: 2