The First Crusade

Our first field trip outside of Israel was the most epic conquest yet. The places we saw most people have only seen in dreams...or in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The picture above should definitely look familiar. After a quick guided tour we were let loose to explore the park at Petra. We took full advantage of our free time. I followed the quickest kid out here, Courtney Neves. We took every short-cut imaginable and were rewarded with everything you are about to witness - and more! 

These are tombs, or rather burial stones. The dead were placed on top.

About to enter the al-Siq, the narrow canyon that is the only entrance into Petra.

These fellas were putting on a show so I gave them some status on the web.

The small carved out hole on the right used to be a shrine.

Nature did some of its own carving as well.

Trying to walk through the al-Siq while starring up was strangely difficult.

In front of the famous Treasury. Makara, Bailey, President Ethan, Megan, and I.

What you see here is a fraction of what we saw.

The Monastery was at the very end of the park. This place is three times taller than The Treasury. There is a person at the very bottom for comparison.

Doing the "two-step" in front of a Crusader castle. Why? Buses are comfortable only for so long...

Davis and Boone's reenactment of what could have been careless gate keepers. That was used as a door to a tomb.

Moses' view of the Promised Land.

This is claimed to be the earliest map of Jerusalem. St. George's Greek Orthodox Church in Madaba.

Maybe they didn't want us to leave...

First view of Machaerus, where John the Baptist was imprisoned and beheaded.

Any pose with Kyle Miller turns out pretty good.

Apparently this is the dining hall where Herod partied.

First night in Jordan included food, drinks, and dancing. The cooks were the dancers.

A warm welcome from the hotel in Petra with a heart-shaped towel.

The Royal Automobile Collection. Half of the cars were less than three years old and already in a museum. We were trying to pretend like we were inside.

King Abdullah Mosque in Amman.

To the window, to the wall, to the floor. 

Remains of a Roman theatre in Amman.

At the Jabbok River.

Their way. Tucker, Mark and Dane.

The Roman Citadel (fortress city) in Amman.

View straight down the main cardo (main street).

Temple of Artemis.

The Romans incorporated some exuberant detailing in some of their architecture. Still survives today!

Good man, Dani.

President Ethan and I.

Cat-daddy, Wesley, Bailey, Erin, and Letty.

I eventually thought of a more neo-classical pose...

At the main Roman Theatre in Amman. The locals still put on shows.

You can only imagine what performances here were like back in those days in the silence of the hills.

Yusuf, our beloved guide for the whole trip. He heard a lot of good hymns on the bus.

Lunch arrives in a compact car stuffed with...KFC! First time I have Kentucky Fried Chicken is in the Middle East.

The field trip ended with a stop at the Jordan River. Everything stopped for a moment - the sun, the wind, the birds... It was cool and dry, and sunny enough for a good squint. This twenty-foot wide river, where Jesus was baptized, is the border that separates Israel and Jordan. We left with lifted spirits.