Tuesday, February 23, 2016

A Pleasure Full Grown VIII~Um Qais

It had arrived; the last day of TBCBE. Active Son and Bride-to-Be had already returned to work and studies in Boise, Idaho, Artist Son had returned to school near Boston, and tonight Oldest Daughter and Tayta would begin their journeys back to Chicago and Houston. But we had one more day: the weather couldn't have been better, and it was a Saturday, which was Dear Husband's day off. Oldest Daughter and Tayta spoke as one in their desire to visit a favorite Jordan site, the ruins at Um Qais, the ancient decapolis city of Gadara. How many times we have visited Um Qais, I do not know, but we always find things familiar and new to enjoy there.

View from the entrance to the ruins

On this day, I decided to explore the inside of some of the old rooms near the entrance of the ruins.The layers of plaster, the layers of paint, the layers of sediment, all made me think about the past lives lived here.

The sky was clear and we enjoyed the best views of surrounding areas that we've ever experienced.

We headed up the north end of the cardo to visit the museum

Hiking up the back way

The wild flora continued, even inside the the museum courtyard
 Cyclamen persicum, growing right out of the limestone walls and floor.

One of the fortunate statutes, which still had its head

Bacchus: a melding of human, animal, and plant-like features

 doors and more doors...

Golden Flowered Henbane
Hyoscyamus aureus

Finally, we looped around the site, back to the cardo to enjoy the magnificent view of the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee/Lake Tiberius.

We stopped to enjoy a simple tea and salad picnic which Tayta had prepared for us, under a favorite tree with a view.

And so it was the end of the beginning of our pleasure. May we nurture the beauty and sweetness of this time together as we remember it in the days to come.

A Pleasure Full Grown
A Pleasure Full Grown II~#amafraqychristmas
A Pleasure Full Grown III~Amman
A Pleasure Full Grown IV~Wadi Dana
A Pleasure Full Grown V~Little Petra
A Pleasure Full Grown VI~Madaba
A Pleasure Full Grown VII~Jerash

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

A Pleasure Full Grown VII~Jerash

The ancient decapolis city if Jerash, just 45 minutes from our home, was the last site we visited together, just before Active Son and Bride-to-Be traveled back to the States. We spent a few afternoon hours wandering around the ancient city. Active Son and Dear Husband noted points of interest for Bride-to-Be, and Oldest Daughter, Tayta and I ambled along, taking pictures here and there. Artist Son settled in by himself near the entrance and sketched.

And a few more wintery-flora pictures. Such a lovely time of year when the sun is shining.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Pleasure Full Grown VI~Madaba

Another beautiful winter day in Jordan, and another opportunity to visit beloved sites, sharing them with Bride-to-Be for the first time. We've visited all these sites before, but it has been a long time, if ever, that we've enjoyed them together. 

This trip is special because now Oldest Daughter is with us, having arrived in Jordan on January 2, just four days before Active Son and Bride-To-Be have to return to the States. We are so very thankful for those four full days together! (Unfortunately, Older's Daughter's husband, Music Man, couldn't join us as he was preparing to leave on an Asian tour with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.)

Our first stop, the site that is now believed to be the ancient city of Sodom. This is Oldest Daughter's first visit to the site as well. Below, most of our group looks out towards Jerusalem, over the "Cities of the Plain" (Genesis 19:28). Dear Husband is explaining one of the many interesting points about the discovery of this ancient site.

The unexpected beauty of Jordan
Jordan Valley

We stopped briefly at the Dead Sea to take Active Son and Bride-To-Be's picture on a TC (tourist camel). That picture must have ended up on Tayta's camera. Then we drove up the steep back road to Mount Nebo, the historical site of where Moses looked into the Promised Land. It was a hazy day, so no pictures there.

On to Madaba, to visit some churches, view some Byzantine-era mosaics, and enjoy walking the streets of the old city. 

An apropos place  for Tayta to read her Roman Empire-era texts for next semester, as she walks on a Roman road (to her left) and views Byzantine era mosaics

Though we've been through this archaeological park a few times, we always seem to learn new things from our favorite guide. 


 Tree of Life

A favorite picture from the holiday season

St. George and the Dragon, inside the Orthodox church which houses the famous Madaba Map mosaic. St.George is the patron saint of the area.

Inside the church of Saint John the Baptist

Up at the top of the bell tower. I couldn't look down, even though we were well fenced in.

Unintentional city art: the remains of peeling layers of paint and paper on an outside wall. Yes, I made Artist son pose in front of it.

Our last stop for the evening: one our favorite restaurants, Haret Jdoudna. Oldest Daughter and Music Man's Christmas gift to the family was a dinner out, and this is where we chose to eat it. What a perfect gift!