i feel like a lot of things have happened since i last wrote. lots of stories and adventures, but i will try to not make this too long.
so we started our trip by going from jerusalem to eilat for a night. jason and i took hannah to our favorite spot--the ethiopian restaurant. it wasn't as fun as the last time, but the food was good. and there was one guy who remembered us from last time and started singing us the raffi/usher song that they played over and over for us. unfortunately, they had lost the cd, so hannah didn't get in on the dance party action. oh well. the trip from jerusalem to eilat was so smooth and was probably the first time that jason and i were in charge of getting somewhere and it went how we planned it, which was a nice change from our usual traveling style of never knowing where we are or how we're really supposed to get how we want to go.
next we crossed over to jordan and went to petra. now there is a long story of how we got from aquaba to wadi musa, the village right outside petra, but i'm writing the good things about our trip and jason will write the bad things. so i'll leave that story for him. anyway, when we finally got to wadi musa, we had a pretty good time at the hostel, even though it was freezing cold (probably literally). and petra was amazing. there are no words to explain how magnificent and beautiful this place was. it is crazy to think that it was all carved out about 2000 years ago and is still so well preserved today. it was probably the most beautiful place i have ever seen.
the monastery, with jason in the doorway
me and jason. the rocks are not painted.
we got to do plenty of hiking while we were there. there were stairs everywhere that led up and up and up to more caves and more tombs and hidden little places. the views from the top were worth the climb though. and i think my favorite part of the whole time there was my thirty-minute nap that i got to take on the top of a mountain with the sun shining down on me. it was heaven. also my lifelong dream (or a passing thought from earlier in the morning) of getting to ride a camel came true.
me on top of the mountain, right before my nap.
riding the camels.
so after two days in petra, we headed to amman for new year's eve to spend a few days with the vila's. it was really good to see them again and we had such a fun time. their kids are great. about five minutes after we got there i showed charlie, the seven-year-old, some shekles (or chuckles as he liked to call them) and immediately was able to buy his friendship for 1.20 NIS. he was my buddy for the next three days.
new years eve was not terribly exciting. we spent more time walking around and taking cabs trying to find a pub than we did at the pub that dave had told us about. we finally found this english pub and got there at 11:45, stayed for a pint, did the countdown, and were back at the vila's by 12:30, asleep maybe five minutes later. talk about getting old.
while in amman, we took a day trip to madaba and saw some of the oldest mosaics in the world. in one of the churches, there is a mosaic that has the oldest map of jerusalem in it. there are tons and tons of mosaics in different churches and stuff. jason and hannah are now huge fans of mosaics. i thought they were cool, but i'm not quite as excited as they are about them.
bethlehem on the mosaic map.
the mosaic map in madaba.
the madaba museum.
one more highlight (so much for keeping this short) was that we took the boys to pizza hut so dave and susan could have a date night. real pizza hut. like in america. with real cheese, pepperoni that was pretty stinking good even if it's all-beef, real pizza sauce. we all stuffed ourselves and i know i enjoyed every bit of it. i even got a i-ate-way-too-much-greesy-pizza stomach ache afterwards. what a taste of home.
jason, henry, sarah, charlie, hannah, and samuel
so now we're back in bethlehem. it actually felt like coming home, which is a feeling that i can't decide if i'm glad about or not. the kids come back next wednesday, so we have a few days to take it easy and hopefully get some rest before we go back to work.