Written by Ian Edwards (Gonzaga University) Student Correspondent CET Jordan, Summer 2017
After two weeks of classes in Amman, many CET students decided to spend the majority of our six-day Eid al-Fitr weekend in Tel Aviv, Israel. While I had come to Jordan anticipating staying within the kingdom, I couldn’t resist the opportunity to travel to the beach in a new country with new friends. Despite the hassle of crossing the Israeli border (a 4-hour ordeal), the drive between Amman and Tel Aviv is one through beautiful and unfamiliar landscapes, and will not be forgotten any time soon.
While many of us were anticipating that Tel Aviv would act as a sort of respite from the demands of student life, we found ourselves even more exhausted on our vacation than we were at home. Most of us stayed in Tel Aviv’s Abraham Hostel – just a short walk from the beach and many of the best clubs and restaurants in the city. As soon as we set our bags down in the hostel, several of us were soon on our way to the sunny
beaches of Tel Aviv. After hours spent on the beaches of Tel Aviv, we returned to our room at the hostel and met a nurse from Germany named Chris, with whom we would become good friends over the course of our short adventure in Tel Aviv. Our weekend was spent almost entirely by the ocean and on the beautiful streets of Tel Aviv, providing valuable bonding time which brought the whole group closer together. On our last day in Israel, two friends and I left our hostel early in the morning in order to have a bit of time to explore Jerusalem on our way out of the country. While in Jerusalem, we were able to visit the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher, both of which proved to be awe-inspiring experiences which brought us all closer to our religious roots.
After just one day of classes following our long weekend for Eid, a few friends and I decided to take a day trip to the old Christian market town of Madaba. After a 45-minute bus ride from Amman, we arrived in Madaba and went to view the oldest surviving original map of the Holy Land. Afterwards, we explored Madaba for a short while before heading to Mount Nebo, the site where Moses supposedly first saw the Promised Land. The panoramic view from the summit overlooks several oases below, as well as Jericho and smaller surrounding cities. The natural beauty is striking and was perhaps the most memorable part of our trip so far. While Amman is a city built on hills, it does not offer the same views of vast expanses of land inhabited since biblical times. Therefore, the steep ridges and deep valleys seemed to display an entirely different Jordan than the one we were previously familiar with.