Little Petra and the Dead Sea Highway

After a day and a half hiking Petra, we weren’t quite ready to say farewell to the Nabateans, making a brief stop at Little Petra. Some might say, “More of the same, but smaller.” Indeed, there are the tombs and rooms carved in the stone, and remnants of a water system. But, after spending two days imagining the interior decorations of monuments, we were delighted to see a well-preserved fresco with grapes and birds and putti playing flutes and shooting an arrow from a bow. Totally worth the stop to us.

No trip to Jordan is complete without a dip in the Dead Sea. The experience is startlingly buoyant. For the equivalent of about $7, a gentleman sitting on the beach with a bucket of mud under his chair will happily allow you to slather up for a photo op, er…spa treatment.

Dead Sea “spa” treatment

One more stop on the road back to Madaba and the St. John Hotel for the night. Umm ar-Rasas, another UNESCO World Heritage site layered with history, has extensive ruins dating back to Roman, Byzantine and early Muslim occupation of the area.

Protected by a large roofed structure, the church of St. Stephen has extensive, well-preserved mosaics dating to about AD 785.

Tomorrow, we head north to Umm Qais, overlooking the Jordan River Valley, near the Syrian border.

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