Crossing Borders

by Steve
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Israel Supreme Court Building - Jerusalem

Crossing borders is normally quite easy, but we had the most interesting one today.  While in Amman, we stayed at an Airbnb and had a great “host” family.  In fact, it will be a family we stay in contact with in the future.  Muhammad  drove his brother’s car and took us to the Jordan border crossing called the King Hussein Bridge.  That’s if you’re referencing it from the Jordan side.  If you’re referencing it from the Israel side, it’s called the Allenby Bridge named after British General Edmund Allenby.

Crossing borders is different from country to country.  In researching the requirements for this crossing, we knew the crossing could take anywhere from 2 – 5 hours!  That’s a much longer border crossing than I’ve ever had anywhere in my travels.

We reached the Jordan Border Control Station at 8:15am.  So the clock started ticking for this episode of crossing borders.

Jordan Border Control

We first had our bags scanned as they do at the airport.  Then we were sent to a line that was for foreigners.  After looking at the long line for people living on both sides of the border, we were very glad to be foreigners.  Once up to the desk, we filled out a form and then they took our passports.  Yes, they keep the passport and give it back later in the process.  Then we paid a departure tax of approximately $15 per person.  I’m not used to paying a departure tax because they are normally included in an airline fare.

And then we waited.  And we waited.  And we waited.  Can you guess why?  Because they have a shuttle bus, full sized bus, that takes you across the land separating the Jordan and Israel Border Control Stations.  They need to have a full or nearly full bus before they leave.

The bus costs money too.  It’s about $10 a person and about $2 per item of luggage.  Now that seemed like a lot of money for a short ride, but there is no other way to get across this border, which is one of three border crossings between Jordan and Israel.

Shuttle Bus to Israel Border Control Station

It is now 10:10am, one hour and 50 minutes since we arrived at the border control station and we’re now boarding the bus.  Luggage is loaded and our passports are returned.  From the time we started loading the bus until we reached the Israel side, it took 40 minutes.  We went through checkpoints, had armed guards come on the bus looking at our passports, etc.  The distance we traveled was probably 8 kilometers.

Israel Border Control Station

It is 10:40am when we arrived at the Israel Border Control station.  We picked up our luggage, went inside and had our luggage scanned again.  We then went through passport control, received our entry visas and showed our passports/visas to one more person.  Our episode of crossing borders was complete!!  It was now 11:25am.  It had taken us three hours and 10 minutes to cross the border!!!

On To Jerusalem

We arrived in Jerusalem about one hour before the start of the Sabbath.  And what was it doing?  Raining……hard!!  The featured image of this post was taken earlier in our visit and features the Israel Supreme Court Building.  Notice the blue sky.  In the picture of below, note that you can’t see the sky!!

A Cloudy Day in Jerusalem

A Cloudy and Rainy Day in Jerusalem

Tomorrow’s forecast is for partly sunny skies with a possibility of a thunderstorm.  We’ll hope for the best so we can have one more good day of History Thru Travel.

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