Jordan day 6: Final day of Jordan road trip: Bethany and Jerash

Welcome to the stories of a magical week in Jordan where we navigated the coolest parts of the King’s Highway for an unforgettable week of adventure!

Day 6: Bethany, Jerash, departure

Our final morning, we enjoyed a lazy coffee on the balcony of our lovely Marriott room and the views of the Dead Sea into Israel.  We then went on to Bethany, the baptism site of Jesus Christ along the River Jordan. When we arrived and found it was 11 JD and structured/guided, we almost didn’t go . . . I AM SO GLAD WE DID.  Bethany is downplayed on a lot of travel websites, but I really enjoyed it. The tour is into the military area because Israel is literally over the River Jordan (Palestine, even). It was eery to know we were looking at one of the most contested pieces of land on the planet, and yet it felt so serene and holy really.  The actual site is no longer water-filled although interesting all the same. The part at the river was coolest, especially gazing across the many people dressed in white doing ceremony. There was also a baby being baptized on our side, so it was cool to be hearing the baptism passages from the Bible while taking it all in.  Religious or not, there was a very palpable energy of purification that felt cleansing regardless.  

The actual baptism site of Jesus, based on analysis of historical data

 

The River Jordan . . . Israel/Palestine just across the water.

From there, I tried to drop Robb off at the nearby King Hussein bridge, but it was closed despite all websites saying it would be open.  Unsure of what to do, Robb came with me to Jerash in hopes of finding passage via the northern border. The drive from Bethany to Jerash was about 1.5 hours  through interesting small towns and skirting Amman. Although I was short on time and would have just over an hour in Jerash before needing to go to the airport, I figured I’d try.  It was SO WORTH IT. Jerash is rad. The history of the city is a blend of the Greco-Roman world of the Mediterranean Basin and the ancient traditions of the Arab Orient, and it’s still being excavated and studied today.  There’s a cool temple to Zeus and Artemis, coliseums, bathhouses, lots of columns and just cool and big and well preserved.  

I stayed too long in Jerash and was very glad that I happened to be driving through Amman on a Friday afternoon when traffic as as light as it would have been all week . . . or I would have been at legit risk of missing my plane!  As it was, the drive was only 1.5 hours and pretty painless. As it was, this is the most I saw of Amman so was glad to have at least driven through to get a flavor of the city.

Overall, it think we did a really good job at Jordan.  For 6 days, we covered A LOT of ground, got a lot of great context on the extremely rich history, and really enjoyed the hospitality of the locals we met.  I would highly recommend a trip to Jordan to anyone . . . there’s something for everyone. I’d go back and do a more proper adventure in Wadi Rum, wouldn’t mind diving the Red Sea in Aqaba, and would have loved to explore some of the Wadis near the Dead Sea if we weren’t there in winter.  But, all in all I am very satisfied with our experience.  

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