I was talking about mosaics with a new acquaintance over lunch the other day and realized I’ve left out an interesting bit of my travels.
Back to Jordan and Mount Nebo. The Franciscans have had an archeological dig and subsequent museum/church on the top of the mountain since the beginning of the 20th c. For those of you with a Christian/Biblical point of view, Mount Nebo is where Moses finally led the tribes after 40 years wandering the wilderness. He looked out over the Land of Canaan and the valley of Jordan and saw the promised land. Moses however was not allowed to cross over and died looking into his forbidden country.
I found this whole experience strangely moving and emotional – I say strangely because for me the Old Testament stories have never resonated in any meaningful way. If you believe, Moses went through 40 years (!) of trials and tribulations leading a bunch of rather wayward people to a home of their own only to be denied it for himself. Nobody ever said it had to be fair but I found the story sad when confronted with the reality of the place.
On a brighter note, the mosaics inside the restored Byzantine church were spectacular! Lots of inspiration for future creations – once I get a bit of a studio set up – my spring project.
Then there was Wadi Rum – of Lawrence of Arabia fame and subsequently a great many films. Unfortunately we only spent a couple of hours there – a failure (one amongst several for our tour company) which I’ll have to correct on another visit. BUT upon our return to Oxford, Felicity, Ian and I had a movie marathon of Lawrence of Arabia and all sorts of middle-eastern meze to nibble on. Peter O’Toole was and still is amazing, Omar Sharif was and still is completely yummy (I know they are both gone tho’)