National Geographic : 1989 Sep
The final sector of the crusaders' route from Antioch to Jerusalem followed the Mediterranean coast road through Syr ia. There, in the shadow of a crusader castle that once guarded the strategic highway, I asked a Syrian schoolteacher what he told his pupils about such ves tiges of foreign presence. "I tell them it was just another form of colonialism," he replied. "But how do you yourself feel?" I pressed him, and he merely shrugged. "As you would about the castles left in Spain by the Moors," he answered deft ly. "History moves on, and leaves its monuments behind." Unwilling to risk war-torn Lebanon, I decided to turn inland and approach Jerusalem by the old caravan route through Jordan. There we encountered the conditions the crusaders had en dured: 107°F in the shade-though there was no shade on the open road. Fodder was desperately scarce. Sarah and I did not ride the flagging horses but walked beside them. The Jordanians and Israelis had both given us special permission to cross the Jordan River via the historic Allenby Bridge. From our camp the last night we could see the lights of Jerusalem glitter ing on the hills of Judaea opposite us.