Making the most of our time abroad: little trips and big trips!

I have wanted to write this post for a long, long time! I fell behind on the blogging a bit because of school, of course. Also, I am in my final two weeks in Amman… which is just unreal to me! I am so ready to go home, but I know I am going to leave wishing I had done more.

I like lists to plan out my goals, so I was semi-following the list of “99 things to do in Amman” from the Jordan Tourism Board. Follow this link to check it out: http://visitjordan.com/99things/ . I have done about 45/99 and there are a few more things I would like to check off the list.

But honestly, activities are never as important as the people you are doing them with! <3 I am really sad that I will be leaving so many of the people I have gotten close to here in Amman - both Americans and Jordanians! Special shoutout to my girls A. and A.!(; and to my fav gym instructors D., M. and S.! In these last 2 weeks, I really need to bring myself some closure to such a life-changing period… seriously it’s been 9 months abroad! I don’t know how much I will miss Jordan until I am America again.

Anyway… here are some little trips I did prior to my Spring Break in Sri Lanka, which was the awesomest thing in the world! I will write about Sri Lanka in my next post!

Biblical Jordan Trip
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Hello from the top of the bell tower at the Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist!

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The Baptism site of Jesus!

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A mosaic map of the biblical area.

I actually went on this exact CIEE-sponsored trip last semester with DPS, but I was hoping this semester would be a bit different because I am in AL now… and thankfully it was a bit! Instead of going to the see the oldest map of the region, we went to a handicrafts center to employ disabled Jordanians supported by Queen Rania and learned about how mosaics are made. And I got cooler photos than last semester(:

In this trip we first visited the Baptism site of Jesus, which is the Jordan River - a natural border between Jordan and Israel. Then we went inside a newly built church on the Jordan side. Many churches have been built on the Holy Land in Jordan because King Abdullah made it a priority. After that we visited Mount Nebo, then explored the handicrafts shop, then lunched at Haret Jdoudna, a restaurant that was built from a historic house. It is very beautiful! Following lunch, we visited the Shrine of the Beheading of the John the Baptist and climbed to the top of the belltower. Also the beginning of the ancient King’s Highway begins in the basement of this church - although its label literally says “An old floor” in both English and Arabic. LOL.

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The Jordan River forms a natural border between Jordan and Israel. Many religious touristic groups come here to get baptized.

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Holy water in front of the Jordan River.

We then visited a church near the river… It was very beautiful inside and had the remains of someone in a box [I was not sure who because the inscription was in Arabic!].

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Stained glass windows in one of the newly built churches.

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Candles in the same church.

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The church ceiling.

Then we stopped at Mount Nebo!
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The sweeping view from Mount Nebo.

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The wind almost blew us away!

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The iconic cross at the top of Mount Nebo.

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A basic map of the area…

One of the most fun parts of being on Mount Nebo was finding this nursing dog with her babies!
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Visit to the Mosaic center:
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We had the opportunity to see how mosaics are made. The smaller, complex mosaics such as this one take a considerably long time to make.

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A lot of beautiful handicraft items were sold at this center.

Off the the city of Madaba to visit the Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist!
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The city of Madaba.

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This ridiculous sign! It says the same thing in Arabic. What it should say is that it is actually the beginning of the ancient King’s Highway!!!

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Climbing up the bell tower!

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A view from the top of the belltower in the Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist.

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Inside the Shrine of the Beheading of John the Baptist.

Rock Climbing in Rasan - Ajloun

The next week, a few friends and I decided to head to Ajloun with Tropical Desert Trips, a Jordanian adventure company. I wanted to go to Ajloun to see its famed forest anyway, so this was a great opportunity to go there and have a bit of fun rock climbing. On this trip, we were top-rope climbing two crags that were at level 5b and 5c which are pretty basic. However, they were very physically challenging for all of us! Using the rope was great to take breaks, but the actual climbing required a lot of upper body strength as well as smart technical use of lower body. I would love to go climbing outdoors again because it was way cooler than anything I have done in the climbing gym! (: And I wish I had a photo of the sunset because the red-orange sun was unreal and the perfect end to such a great day!

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Yup that’s me!!! While top-rope climbing was definitely easier than bouldering, I am very proud of making it to the top of the rope!

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We got a gorgeous view of Ajloun before leaving and an incredible sunset on the way back home! I am so glad that I got to have such an awesome adventure with these ladies!! <3

I hope these next 2 weeks pass by with enough time to get everything done and give my proper goodbyes to everyone and everything I have come to care about and appreciate <3

Until next time,
Shimmy

 
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