On a recent trip to Jordan, my traveling mate, Katie, and I started our adventure off in Madaba. About a 30-minute drive from the Queen Alia International Airport, it’s a smaller, more manageable town than Amman. We stayed at the Mosaic City Hotel for JD47 a night for a double room. The hotel was updated and clean with a good breakfast and helpful staff. Free wifi was offered, but barely worked (you will see this recurring theme through my other blog entries about Jordan and Israel).
The main sights in Madaba, including the mosaic map at St. George’s Church (JD1), the Madaba Archeological Parks (JD2), and the Shrine of the Beheading of St. John the Baptist (JD1), can be seen within one day. A special note about St. John’s: I feel as though it was worth more than the JD1 entrance fee. The church offers an interesting photo gallery in the visitors’ center, a bell tower climb, and a self-guided tour of the 3,000-year-old ruins under the church. Unlike at other sights we visited, the gentleman staffing St. John’s was enthusiastic about their offerings and was willing to chat and answer questions. Most sights in Madaba close around 5 p.m., so it’s best to start early in the day. We didn’t inquire about entering the mosques in town since none were advertised as sights to see.
We ate at Haret Jdoudna twice in the three days we spent in Madaba. The restaurant is in an old home and also has a handicraft market. I was pleasantly surprised at its authentic and delicious local dishes after seeing that it was rated #1 on TripAdvisor (I’m usually disappointed with the restaurants that make it to the top of TripAdvisor lists). The crowd was a good mix of tourists and locals. A very filling lunch or dinner cost about JD10 per person.
|Haret Jdoudna restaurant|
We also stopped in Cafe Ayola. and, while the food was good and cheap (about JD5 per meal), the food options and condiments were very Westernized (think hot dogs, barbecue sauce, and ranch dressing all on the same plate).