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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Next week, Istanbul

The plan this year was to fly to Jordan and rent a car for 3-4 weeks just as we did in Syria last year or in Turkey a couple years ago. This had to be put off a year as the usual suspects couldn't get the time off and a long term rental car is too expensive for only one person. Now we cross are fingers and hope Israel and Iran are not tossing rockets at each other next spring. The entire trip on the Kings Highway from Mount Nebo to the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea is never more than 30 miles east of the Israel or the West Bank.

I have been to Jordan twice but always with an overland group going from Egypt to Istanbul and there was never time enough to stop at all the great sights, let alone have time to photograph the places we did stop. In less the than 200 miles from Amman to the Red Sea there is so much to see. A short distance from the airport is the town of Madaba were the Greek Church contains the oldest map in the world. This map, over 1500 years old, depicts the then known world in mosaics. From Madaba it is a short drive to Mount Nebo with great views across the Dead Sea. Nearby you can swim in hot springs that were King Herods favorite or drive to the baptism site on the Jordan River.

Further south is Petra, one of the most spectacular places I have ever visited. Never had more than two days there but plan on spending a week next time. Other places not to be missed are Wadi Rum,  the Crusader forts and castles such as Karak, and  ruins going back thousands of years BC including the reported cities of Sodom and Gomorrah south of the Dead Sea.

While in Jordan you always feel like you are walking through history. Our hotel at Petra is in a canyon above the city and gets its water from stream in the canyon. When looking at the guide book I saw the water comes from Ain Musa [Spring of Moses], reportedly  the rock Moses struck causing water to flow.

In the past Istanbul has been the end point of a trip but now there will be time to see and photograph more of the city. The photograph above was taken from the roof top restaurant of the hotel across the street from our hotel and I am taking a large print I made of it back to them.

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