Jordan: Around the country in five days

I do not think I will manage to make up a more boring title, but at least it correctly and fully describes this post. 😉 My last minute decision to travel to Jordan puzzled many. Some considered it a hazard with health due to weather conditions, others a necessary relax after an intensive time at work. Peak season in Jordan is usually in spring or autumn, in the winter it is quite cold and in summer quite warm. However, that is relative. We have set off from Abu Dhabi’s 45°C, so some 40°C at the Red Sea and 30°C in the mountainous region of Jordan could have been considered “cooler” climate.

1st-2nd day – Aqaba and the Red Sea
Acclimatization and visit of historic and otherwise interesting areas of the city.

Snorkeling in the Red Sea near Aqaba was fantastic with coral reef only a few meters away from the shore thanks to the steep natural landscape. Underwater life is diverse – from Nemos via box-fish and moray eels to the poisonous lion-fish (photos courtesy from Omar from the Red Sea Dive Center).

3rd-4th day – Wadi Rum and Petra – following Hollywood footsteps

Wadi Rum is Jordan desert known also from TE Lawrence book about Arabian uprising “Seven pillars of wisdom”.

Englishman TE Lawrence joined Arabs in uprising against the Turks and lived with Bedouin tribe in a cave in Wadi Rum. The movie about Lawrence, with Peter O’Toole, Anthony Quinn, Alec Guinness, Omar Sharif and others, won several Oscar awards.

Petra, an ancient city cut in the rocks, is rightly among the New Seven Wonders and I would it even place it at the top. The city, located in Wadi Musa (the Moses’ Valley), was built as early as 300 BC and almost all is carved in rocks – the tombs, the monastery, the amphitheater. Only church ruins, spa, gardens and the colonnade stand alone.

The entrance to the city leads through a dark narrow gorge, created not by water flowing through, but by an earthquake.

In every corner of this mountainous complex you will find pieces of history. And Bedouins offering you a donkey ride up the steep stairs for an equivalent of 20 or more euros. I liked the city so much that I climbed up two mountains to see it all (no donkey involved). Those who know me well can imagine the heroic effort I put in it. 😉

While hiking around the city, we were duly discovering, speculating and admiring the “what, where and hows” that even Indiana Jones would be proud of our historical-archaeological speculations.

Nor the Transformers for our physical performance. 🙂 (precisely 1:08)

 

5th day – Karak, Mt. Nebo and the Dead Sea

Karak, the castle of the crusaders built in 1140 was a center of many fights, but it is ruined now.

Mt. Nebo offers beautiful view of Jordan, Palestine and Israel. From here Moses reportedly saw the Promised land. Moses allegedly died and is buried here.

Swimming, or better “bobbing”, in the Dead Sea provided quite some fun at the end of our adventure.

The water is very salty (31%) and so it is really hard to dive in. It is more like lying on the inflatable mattress and those who would like, can easily read a book or play with their mobile phone, like one of our bathing companions.

However, I expected to be covered in salt afterwards, like when I was in the Red Sea, not in some oily mud. The shower was necessary and then still some relaxing time at the infinity pool before heading to the airport.

All in all, this five-day adventure was great! The visit of the capital, Amman, and the northern regions remain on the bucket list, but the main target – Petra, was the awesome highlight of the trip. And the return to 45°C can be compared to a shock therapy.


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