In 15 days 25 travellers depart for our tour of Jordan and Israel . Everything is in place for a wonderful adventure through these ancient Biblical lands. The expected weather forecasts are Jordan (20-25C), Jerusalem (17-22C) and Galilee (21-27C). President Obama may be visiting Jordan and Israel at the same time as us in March? I have been in contact with the White House and sent them our itinerary and they have kindly agreed to avoid our daily destinations so that we have no interruptions to our tour!! One of the highlights of our tour - apart from visiting the Biblical sites - will be sampling the deliciously healthy Middle Eastern cuisine.
Our first destination is Amman, the modern capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, and a city that sprawls across 19 hills, or 'jebels'. The first city we encounter after Amman is Madaba, the 'City of Mosaics' where we will see the famous 6th century mosaic map of Jerusalem and the Holy Land which contains two million pieces of colored stone. We then journey to Mount Nebo, overlooking the Dead Sea, the Jordan River Valley, Jericho and the hills of Jerusalem. Moses viewed Canaan from this mount and was buried in Moab. Mount Nebo became a place of pilgrimage for early Christians from Jerusalem. The next day we drive to Petra. Located three hours south of Amman, Petra is the legacy of the Nabataens, an Arab people who settled in southern Jordan more than 2000 years ago. Petra is located deep inside a narrow desert gorge, the walls rising 200 metres. During the Exodus, the Israelites passed through the Petra area in Edom. Aaron, the brother of Moses and Miriam, died in Jordan and was buried in Petra at Mount Hor, now called Jabal Harun.Petra was almost certainly the last staging post of the three kings, who took frankincense, gold and myrrh to honor Jesus in Bethlehem. On the next day we will visit Bethany beyond the Jordan, the site where Jesus was baptized. We then travel to Mukawer where John the Baptist was imprisoned by Herod and executed. This was Herod's summer residence. According Josephus, Herod 'built a wall round the very summit and erected towers at the corners…In the middle of this enclosure he built a palace, breathtaking in size and beauty'. Bigger and more breathtaking than Herod's architecture is the church God is building, beginning in Jerusalem to the ends of the earth.