Jordan Journey: Madaba

3 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

Circled in black below are the places we visited while in Jordan. We covered a lot of ground for seven days. After the four days spent between Wadi Rum and Petra, we headed toward the town of Madaba, one of Jordan’s major centers of Christianity with a large Greek Orthodox community. At one time, Madaba was famous for being part of a bishop’s jurisdiction during Emperor Justinian’s reign in the Byzantine times.

As we traveled toward our next tourist attraction – Karak Castle – our tour guide spoke about the Muslims and their beliefs. Originally, I was going to list the interesting points he made to dispel some wrongly held notions about Muslims, but I wanted to learn more. Of the various sites, I settled on this link:  https://ing.org/top-100-frequently-asked-questions-about-muslims-and-their-faith/

In time, I will seek more to further educate myself about the subject. But a key point I want to note now is one of this religion’s fundamental values – namely, “affirming and upholding the sanctity of all human life, taking of which is among the gravest of all sins.” This value is universal to nearly all religions, but some of us non-Muslims may not readily attribute such value to Islam because of “terrorist acts committed in the name of Allah.” Our tourist guide, a Muslim himself, wanted to remind us that there is nothing religious or sacred about purposely taking another life, and that such actions taken by others in the name of religion have been considered fundamentally wrong by most religions throughout history.  Unfortunately, for political and power struggle purposes, man tends to justify his violence to gain a following by claiming to act on God’s behalf. Case in point is the Crusaders, which had a stronghold on a city called Karak. Within this city is Karak Castle, where we began our fifth day in Jordan after Petra.

Karak Castle and Karak Photos

After visiting Karak Castle, we went to Amman Beach Resort – Dead Sea, where we floated for a while in the mineral salts of the Dead Sea and later, some of us cooled off in the “sweet water” swimming pool. Meanwhile, several of us covered ourselves with the natural mineral rich mud, which quickly dried in the hot sun and was then washed off in the Dead Sea. A quick primer on the Dead Sea: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dead_Sea

Dead Sea Photos

Our last stop for the day was Mt. Nebo, a high hilltop vista and pilgrimage site where the prophet Moses is supposedly buried. In fact, you can see Israel on the distant horizon.

Mt. Nebo Photos

First days in Jordan:
Wadi Rum
Petra

Lingering Memories of Lausanne

Home base: Geneva


                                                                        Image: worldofmaps.com

Lapping up Lausanne,

From Old Town to lake side sites,

Awed by every turn.

Geneva on My Mind

Home base: Geneva


                                                          Image: worldofmaps.com

A culture haven,

Full of places to enjoy,

No spot left behind.

Switzerland Travel Series:
Spellbound in Switzerland
Winterthur Wonder in Switzerland
Sights of St. Gallen and Zurich
On the Loose in Lucerne
Above Cloud 9 on Mt. Rigi, Switzerland
More than 7th Heaven: Mt. Titlis, Switzerland

Sights of St. Gallen and Zurich

Home base: Zurich

Image: Google Maps

St. Gallen is another town near Zurich easily traveled by train. One of the world’s oldest libraries, containing unique, early medieval writings, is located in St. Gallen.  With a collection of 170,000 books from a period of over 1,000 years, the Abbey Library was named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1983. Built between 1755 and 1767, the library had belonged at one time to an abbey founded in 719. A few years later, the Benedictine order of monks became residents in 747. The monastery flourished from the 9th to 11th centuries, as an influential cultural and scientific center of the West. Today, the Benedictines are gone, and the monastery has long since been dissolved. Yet the Abbey Library remains as a significant educational institution from the Middle Ages. Unfortunately, no picture-taking was allowed inside the library.

The abbey complex

Other sights in St. Gallen

After spending the morning at St. Gallen, we returned to Zurich to enjoy more sights.

We began the evening with a cruise. This time from Bürkliplatz, located on the other end the city, on Lake Zurich.

Winterthur Wonder in Switzerland

Home base: Zurich

Image: Google Maps

About a half hour away via train from Zurich, Winterthur is known for its numerous world-class museums and large pedestrian-zoned Old Town. As we went through Old Town, we went inside some churches and visited selected museums. Another wondrous day of art appreciation, as we drank in impressive and rare collections of paintings, sculpted works, and photos from the likes of The Kunst Museum Winterthur; the Oskar Reinhart Collection, displayed in his residence ‘Am Römerholz’; and Fotomusem Winterthur.

Oskar Reinhart (1885-1965) came from a long line of traders from Winterthur. His father, Theodor Reinhart, had built the family business, which was one of the first trading houses in Switzerland, or in Europe, for that matter. Both father and son had an interest in art, with Oskar eventually becoming a full-time art collector after leaving the family business at the age of 39.



After spending a good part of the day at Winterthur, we headed back to Zurich to enjoy a cruise on the Limmat River followed by a hearty meal of schnitzel and rosti at a beer hall.

Spellbound in Switzerland

I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Switzerland, where I was spellbound at every turn. Traveling by high-speed rail, I used three beautiful cities as my home base, often exploring other sights and stops nearby.  This is the beginning of a series of selected locales I had the pleasure of enjoying during my stay there.

First Stop: Zurich

Image: Google Maps

We hit the ground running, so many sights/sites to see. Started at the Kunsthaus, Zurich’s world-class art museum, which houses the largest collection of Swiss-born Alberto Giacometti’s work, among so many other well-renowned artists/sculptors:

Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Oskar Kokoschka, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Marc Chagall, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Franz Marc, Francesco Napoletano, Jacopo Palma Vecchio, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Roos, Ferdinand Hodler, Johan Christian Dahl, to name a few!

We ended our day at a lovely restaurant called Raclette Stube in Old Town. The restaurant is known for its cheese fondues. I had the Fondue Fribourgeoise, which is half Gruyère, half Vacherin cheese with wine and Kirsch, served with bread and potatoes, along with a side order of cold, sliced sausage from Vaud.  And, the evening just began . . .