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December 13: Jordan and Syria (Petra and Palmyra)

We were very happy to be on the road again after 40 days "in the desert" (see NOV 2008). We took a ferry across the Red Sea to Aqaba (Aqaaabaaaaa!!!!!) and arrived in Jordan. It was off to Wadi Musa to visit the ancient ruins at Petra. Then to Kerak to visit a Crusader castle and ...then onward to Amman for some delicious hummus. Last but not least were the Roman ruins at Jerash, then "see ya" to Jordan.

Crossing into Syria was not difficult (being Americans), but the officials did make us wait 8.5 hours to get our visas -- stupid politics! Inside Syria, we went straight to Damascus, but it was "closed" due to the Muslim holiday "Id". We sent to Palmyra to see more Roman ruins with Crusader castles nearby. Then we headed to the famed Crac des Chevaliers, and now we are hanging out in Aleppo near the Turkish border. Onward to Turkey tomorrow (Dec 13).




Petra - it's amazing. This enclave of rock formations would be breath-taking on its own accord, but ancient settlers actually carved their village into these rocks to create a fully functional city. This temple is the first thing you see after traveling through hundreds of meters of rock "corridors". And yeah, you can take a camel ride if the spirit moves you... This was the same building used in the movie "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom".





An example of the carvings in the rock. Rooms for rent?





Wallas were offering donkey rides to the monastery every ten yards, so we figured we'd head in that direction. What we didn't realize was that the monastery was on top of a mountain and we had to climb 800 stairs to get to it! Worth it? Definitely.





In Kerak we visited a castle built by the Crusaders. It was pretty amazing to walk in the same steps as the holy warriors back yonder.





Jerash has a large site of Roman ruins - it was a complete city with two ampitheatres. Everything was built of stone - forget the crusaders - standing in a theatre before a stadium that was once filled with ancient Romans... now that is amazing!





Here is the central piazza in Jerash. Very sophisticated. This was probably the market back some 2000 years ago!





The Romans were everywhere. This set of ruins is in Palmyra, in Syria. See the castle on the hill in the background? We hiked all the way up to it! Once up there, we discovered a road on the other side where taxis full of people were being driven up... oh well!





Tauru in Palmyra. Notice the sweatshirt ...a new addition to his wardrobe. How did he get this? Some nice Lebannese man gave it to Christi (seeing that she was a little cold) while waiting at the Syrian border. Well ...Tauru then kind of snagged it.





She's a tree! Or a statue of the Roman Goddess of Beauty.





The ancient street of Palmyra.





On Syria's Mediterranean coast, the landscape changed from desert to lush green terraces. The Crac des Chevaliers is a structure to behold - this castle built by French crusaders was very large indeed! Christi is watching vigilantly for any invaders... none to be seen!





Christi inside the Crac.



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2008

2008


January
  • 10: China Part I
  • 16: China Part II
  • 26: China Part III

    February
  • 6: China Part IV
  • End: China Part V

    March
  • 5: China Part VI
  • 9: China Part VII
  • 12: China Part VIII
  • 24: We Make it to Tibet

    April
  • 2: We Arrive in Kathmandu
  • 25: Back in Pokhara, Nepal
  • 29: A Hotel in Pokhara

    May
  • 4: Back to Kathmandu
  • 31: Trekked to Everest Base Camp

    June
  • 21: To Calcutta, India
  • 25: More of Calcutta

    July
  • 12: Quick Trip to Thailand

    August
  • 8: Back to India
  • 10: The Golden Temple
  • 12: In Dharamsala, India
  • 21: Marijuana in Manali

    September
  • 9: Northern India
  • 22: More of Inida

    October
  • 3: Aswan & The Pyramids
  • 4: Abu Simbel (Egypt)
  • 7: Onward to Luxor
  • 13: White Desert in The Sahara
  • 20: Egypt's Awesome Beaches

    November
  • 30: 40 Days in the Desert

    December
  • 13: Jordan & Syria
  • 18: Then Turkey