We said goodbye to Nazareth bright and ... no, wait... dark and early. To beat Nazareth traffic (oh, there is such a thing!) we needed to leave the Sisters' guesthouse around 6am. A long bus ride brought us to the Sheikh Hussein Border between Israel and Jordan. We unloaded our bags, crossed through Israeli passport control, walked to a station, loaded our bags onto a shuttle, unloaded our bags from the shuttle, walked through Jordanian baggage check, sat in Jordanian passport control and finally reloaded our bags onto the new Jordanian bus with our new tour guide, Waleed, and new driver, Jaafar.
A beautiful drive through the mountains of northern Jordan brought us to Jerash, an old Roman town, whose ruins are still quite a bit intact. It was very easy to feel like we were walking 2,000 years ago in the city. Our guide, Waleed, is an archeologist, leaving us with brains full of information! The highlight of Jerash was seeing pillars that were able to move and sway when pushed, allowing them to withstand earthquakes. Unfortunately, these Roman ruins decided not to have any working toilets, so many people in the group learned how to use the squatty potty/hole in the ground, like the local people. It was a cultural experience for sure!
Waleed shared his love for Jordan, leaving many impressed with this country and wishing we could extend our stay here. He also promised us that we would have the best meal on our trip so far and he did not disappoint! The most delicious part was the fresh-out-of-the-oven hot naan that kept coming! We also ate traditional Arabic appetizers and chicken, beef, and lamb.
A four hour drive brought us down to Petra where we checked into our beautiful hotel built into the rock, a major step up from our Sisters' Guesthouse. It even had a bar that was an original 2,000 year old Nabatean tomb. Needless to say, many could be found sharing drinks, laughs, and chocolate cake (thanks to a couple that got engaged and passed us their cake!) in the cave bar that night. Off to sleep because we decided to wake up at the crack of dawn to beat the crowds in Petra tomorrow!