Thursday, March 19, 2015

A Birthday Outing to Abila

Last Saturday was a perfect day. It really was. In celebration of Dear Husband's birthday, we planned a day trip to the countryside, once again joining our preferences for ruins, landscapes, and wildflowers, and chose the ruins of the ancient decapolis city of Abila, about an hour from our home.

(Asphodelus fistulosus)

Abila is not nearly as developed or excavated to the extent that Jerash and Um Qais (Gadara) have been, yet there is yet evidence of a large ancient city. Below is a distant view of city ruins which I took from atop another hill of ruins. We picnicked on yet a third hill of ruins.

We immediately set out exploring: Dear Husband and Tayta for ruins and maybe some Roman glass, me, for wildflowers.

I was surprised to find several stands of orchids (which Dear Husband and Tayta passed by completely!) as I didn't know this species grew in the area. Disappointingly, they were just past their prime, browning around the edges of their petals, but beautiful all the same.

Fan-Lipped Orchid
(Orchis collina)

(Adonis aestivalis)

Jagged-leafed Phlomis
(Eremostachys laciniata)

We left the main site of the ruins and drove up to the top of an adjacent hill--Dear Husband's  vision for a picnic site. We had this lovely spot, with its panoramic views, ruins, and wildflowers, all to ourselves.

Views from our picnic spot:

The main site of preserved columns at Abila

And turning slightly to the south, this spring-time view of rolling green hills, gently sculpted with stone terrace walls and olive tree groves~

Having laid out our picnic lunch, Tayta's next task was to round-up her parents, who are prone to wander around such places, her father, exploring the ruins, and her mother, searching out the dearest freshness deep down things.

Judean Bugloss
(Echium judaeum)


Oriental Garlic
(Allium orientale)

Star of Bethlehem
(Ornithogalum montanum)

She succeeded in coaxing us to sit down.

And after lunch, some more wandering and exploring:

Dense-flowered Fumitory
(Fumaria densiflora)

"I stumbled upon a land of my childhood dreams. All of a sudden, the stories of The Silver Chair became so real: here I stood at the edge of the ruined City of the Giants. This place matched what I had imagined, or perhaps, my imaginings came from what I knew..." Tayta

Purple Clover
(Trifolium purpureum)

Chaotic, abundant fields of beauty

Dear Husband reflected that visiting Abila was an ideal birthday present for him as it was his first visit to the site, a new discovery. And, he has now visited all five ancient decapolis cities in Jordan.

Happy Birthday to a very Dear Husband. May God give us more years of wandering and exploring together.


Diana said...

Me and my Mum really enjoyed looking at the pictures! Happy birthday to your husband and thank you for sharing these beautiful pictures with us :)

Jenny said...

Beautiful! Looks like a perfect day.