Along the Great Ocean Road in Australia

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

The trip to see the Twelve Apostles and the Great Ocean Road, near Melbourne, Australia started at Federation Square (across from St. Paul’s Cathedral) where I got to see the possible tour options at the tourism office located there.

Melbourne, Flinders, train station, Australia, photo, travel

Flinders Train Station, across from Federation Square

I returned there to take the bus on the day of the tour and a long but rewarding day began.  Along the way we stopped to see some of the flora and the wildlife (koalas, kangaroos and birds).  It was amazing to see koalas and kangaroos just freely roaming around, not in a zoo or animal park.

fern, Australia, flora, vegetation, photo, green, travel

Close-up of a fern in the park where we stopped to see the koalas

Kangaroo, Australia, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, wildlife, tour,

Kangaroos roaming (or hopping) free along the Great Ocean Road

bird, Australia, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, wildlife, tour,

Colorful bird!

koala, Australia, Melbourne, Great Ocean Road, wildlife, tour,

Koala doing what they do best: sleep. Tons of sleep.

The Twelve Apostles (who knows if there are really 12 at any given point, one of the more famous ones had collapsed not long before my visit) are fascinating as they “show” the process of water and wind shaping our landscapes.

Twelve Apostles, Melbourne, Australia, Great Ocean Road, park

A nice park has been set up to help see the Twelve Apostles

As the water washes away softer terrain, these “islands” of stone become separated from the mainland.  Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

You can tell where new ones will appear:  any of those fingers or peninsulas are apostles-in-the-making.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

At some point, the underside of a finger begins to hollow until an arch forms.  The arch eventually collapses separating part of the former peninsula from the mainland (see next photo).  In turn, an arch may form on the newly-formed “island” and, when the arch collapses, it will just leave just a column which over time will also collapse leaving nothing behind.  The cycle of life!

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

Here is a finger where a part collapsed creating an “island” arch

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

By now, this “island” has become quite isolated and is developing an arch that will further weaken it

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

Columns in the water: former arches, former fingers, former mainland!

Now, the park has very easy trails to walk and get good vantage points, and the tour goes to other interesting spots such as Loch and Gorge.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

Loch and Gorge

But what really captivated me was the brief helicopter ride to see the apostles from above.  I had never ridden a helicopter before so there was a double thrill aspect to the experience for me.

Great Ocean Road, Melbourne, Australia, sea, photos, Twelve Apostles

Viewing them from high was a real treat

Finally, if you decide to drive the Great Ocean Road and you are not from Australia or the U.K. (or some other places like them), please mind what this sign says as you explore this beautiful road!road sign, great ocean road, australia, driving, photo

Ancient Roman Ruins That Are Alive Today in Jerash, Jordan

Columns, temple, artemis, jerash, jordan, history, roman ruins, travel, photo

Yes, Jordan is more than Petra and if you have read some of my other posts on what I saw in Jordan, you are aware of that. But when it comes to historical sites of significance, it is worth noting that Jerash, in northwestern Jordan is quite important a historical place on its own right even if overshadowed by the more famous Petra.  However, Jerash struck me not only for its historical significance but also because it was ALIVE!!!

Jerash – the ancient Greco-Roman city

Before I tell you how it is alive, let’s explore the historical and architectural gem Jerash is.  Jerash (known as Gerasa in older times) was a city built originally in Greco-Roman times (estimated to have been established in the 4th century BC) and which, after a large earthquake in the 8th century and further destruction brought about by other earthquakes and wars, became a footnote of history until it was begun to be excavated in the early 19th century.  Even Emperor Hadrian himself visited Jerash in his days and there is a triumphal arch commemorating that visit.

Arch Hadrian Roman ruin Jordan Jerash history Canon EOS Rebel

Arch of Hadrian built to honor his visit
Arch Hadrian Roman ruins history Jerash Gerasa Jordan Canon EOS Rebel
Detail of the Arch of Hadrian

Among the many sites in Jerash to explore are the Forum, temples to Zeus and Artemis, the Cardo Maximus (column-lined road), the North and South theaters and many other ruins.
FOrum Roman rins Jerash Jordan history
View of the Forum at Jerash
Forum Roman ruins colonnade columns Jerash Jordan History Canon EOS Rebel
Detail of the colonnade of the Forum
Mosaic Roman ruins Byzantine church Jerash Jordan art design Canon EOS Rebel

Mosaic floor of one of the 3 contiguous Byzantine churches on the site

Cardo Maximus Roman Ruins Colonnade Columns history Jerash Jordan Canon EOS Rebel
Visitors walking down the Cardo Maximus, the north-south colonnaded street

Fallen column Roman ruin history Jerash Jordan Canon EOS Rebel

Jerash’s ruins did not survive powerful earthquakes and other ravages as this reminds us

Columns temple artemis jerash jordan history roman ruins

Beautiful columns in the Temple of Artemis

The place is alive

Oh, you think I am talking figuratively, aren’t you??  There is a column in the Temple of Artemis that is actually moving.  You can place your hand at its base and you will feel it moving.  Yes, indeed!  But that is not quite what I mean when I say Jerash is alive…

Moving column temple artemis Jerash Jordan Roan ruins

I hesitated for a second putting my hand in there. I let someone else go first…

There were also vegetation around (this being the greener part of Jordan) like the following which also contributes to making Jerash a site that is “alive”.  But that’s still not what I mean…

Fig tree in Jerash, Jordan Roman ruins Canon EOS Rebel

Fig tree along the path

But what I really meant about Jerash being alive was neither of the prior two photos.  The day we visited there were several groups of schoolchildren visiting and they enjoyed chanting in the large Roman theater – almost like competing to see who had the best chants – and running up the stands.

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Children enjoying and LIVING the ruins!

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Children enjoying and LIVING the ruins!

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Children climbing the stands of the theater

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

Jerash Jordan children Roman theater Canon EOS Rebel

The smile so typical of every kid we ran into! A happy memory for us all

Though these ancient ruins were some of the most impressive I have seem, it was great to see a historic place so alive that day – it helped me connect more to the essence of Jordan via its children!

 

During this trip, I was a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board.  That notwithstanding, the stories I share were my real experiences and nothing else.  As they always are!

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