8:31 pm
Dead Sea, Jordan

My bags are packed.  Dinner has been consumed.  Pictures from the day are uploaded.  So I guess I have a few minutes to review the day.  It was a good day – just ask Pat Logan.  Well, she likes every day, so she needs to come with me on every tour.  Seriously.  Yes, she can bring Bob (her husband).  Five were exhausted or under the weather and stayed back to enjoy some peace and quiet – and the Dead Sea.  The rest of us headed out for another touring adventure.

We started out at 8 and headed north, up the Jordan Valley.  We had made that journey in the other direction and on the other side of the river last week.  It was nice to review the sites we knew about from the Israeli side and to catch a glimpse of the villages on the Jordan side.  Basically no one lives on the Israeli side for most of the way, but the Jordanian side is populated.

Our first stop was a drive-by stop.  Up a steep hill and around the site of Pella.  There is not much to see, so we just drove by.  Last time we got out – and got drenched.  Why couldn’t we have just driven by on my last trip?  Oh, we were creating a memory.  As you can see, it worked.

Then we were off to Gadara, the major city in the region of the Gadarenes – remember the demon story?  It was closer to the Sea of Galilee, but this was a great site to see some Roman ruins – and get our last glimpse of the Galilee before heading home (in a couple of hours, btw).  It was a pretty clear day today and we enjoyed reviewing the sites we’d walked just last week.

We had a couple of hour drive to Jerash after the Gadera stop.  Before Pella, we’d stopped for a restroom break (and CHEAP snacks) at another Mansura station (I know I didn’t spell that correctly – it was right yesterday – if I wrote it.  I just checked.  I did not).

Anyway, we rode up and down the hills of Jordan (no longer green as fall is upon us).  When we got close to Jerash, Ruby had the driver go around the exterior of the site – just so we could grasp the size of the ancient city.  What they’ve uncovered is huge, and there is so much more buried under the modern city which butts up right to the dig.

Jerash is amazing, the “City of 1,000 Columns.”  Or more, I’d say.  It’s truly amazing.  Probably the best archeological site we’ll ever see.  There are a couple of theaters, cardo, temples, fountains (dry now)….and on and on and on.  The oval plaza is stunning.  We wandered around and asked for extra time.  It was well worth it.

We were back on the bus by 3:45 and headed back to the Dead Sea and our hotel.  We made it (even with traffic) by 5:30.  Time for me to pack and repack and weigh and adjust and shower before dinner.

Dinner was amazing.  Again.  And different from last night.  The food here at the Hilton is incredible.  I am full, for sure.

Now we wait.  Bags out at 10:30, on the bus before 11.  I have the first flight – at 2.  But the group would leave at 11 anyway for their 3:10 flight.  I’m flying Emirates (because of the Uganda leg of my trip).  The Kortlangs fly British (not until the morning).  The rest fly Lufthansa, with a stop in Frankfurt.  We get to LAX around the same time.  They beat me by 40 minutes. 

So the long journey home is about to begin.  But it’s been an amazing journey together.  Life changing.  Always.

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