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Published: January 3rd 2013
This trip to Jordan is best served by the pictures of all the cool things we saw. Pictures of Jordan
When we were first looking at the horses in the stable I told Jessica that I hoped my horse didn't have a name. It had a name, it was something like Halal or something like that. I don't know because it never really responded when I called it by name. I eventually just gave up. What I do know about my horse is that it liked to fall behind so it could run to catch up. I was told not to get out in front or my horse would take off. I am pretty sure that our guide became very scared and nervous when I told him I didn't know how to canter or trot. I learned. Cantering is much more fun than walking. It is also more work and slightly scarier. Nothing like running through the desert on the back of a horse.
Actually, that might be true. It was an incredibly good time to be cantering through the desert on the back of a horse. The Wadi Rum desert is this vast space filled with sandstone
and granite (mostly sandstone) rock formations. Many of them are several hundred feet tall and several hundred feet long/wide. You feel very tiny, riding between giant sandstone cliffs that seem to go on forever into the emptiness. Then you get past one rock formation only to find another group of formations miles off in the distance.
For this portion of our trip we were camping in bivouac in the desert. The nights were cold but we had a fire to help keep us warm. We were actually warmer camping in the desert than we had been sleeping in a hotel in Petra. We had jeep support to carry all of our gear and such. The first night we camped in this little cave like alcove. I say cave like because it was blocked on three sides by rock but had an open chimney to the sky.
Really, I can't describe the beauty of Wadi Rum enough. You will just have to look at the pictures. I will say that when people ask what we did in Jordan I mention the horseback riding before Petra. That isn't a negative for Petra, just a positive for Wadi Rum and the
good times there.
Petra was the impetus to take us to Jordan. I have wanted to see this ancient city carved into Sandstone walls since I started planning my 2 year travel sabbatical. I just didn't make it there until now. I would say it was worth the wait. Petra was built by the Nabataeans not the Romans. Though my documentation said they were allies. The end of Indian Jones and the Last Crusade is filled in front of the Treasury of Petra.
The first day Jessica and I went in at sunrise to watch the sun come up. The next day we went in a few hours later to see most everything again in a different light. In two days of hiking around the site we did not see or cover all of it. We covered a big chunk. We even got lost but found Snake Mountain. It wasn't as impressive as the lion fountain we found when we got back on track. What really impressed me was the sheer magnitude of the ruins. When you look at the picture of the Treasury, it doesn't look that big. But then look at the ones I took from
above. You can see dots for people, and the Treasury doesn't even extend half way up the sandstone wall. Walking through the Siq is like hiking through the Narrows of Zion without the water. But at the end of the canyon it opens up into this carved city.
It was amazing in Petra how many places they had carved steps to go up to the top of the canyon or back down. We did several hikes where we climbed out of the canyon floor up to the rim to other ruins or holy places. Pretty amazing.
Once again, I recommend letting the pictures do the talking.
Other Tidbits about Jordan
The Roman ruins at Jerash were quite impressive. The guide said that Jerash was one of the biggest and best ruins outside of Italy. Since I have never seen a ruined Roman city before, I cannot confirm nor deny this claim. I can say it was impressive to walk around and look at all of the stone structures, carvings, temples, and of course columns. Those Romans sure liked columns.
Aqaba on the Gulf of Aqaba is an interesting city. It is Jordan's only port city. It has
incredible Red Sea diving. What was more interesting to us was that this was the first city where we really saw any women out on the street. In Amman there were almost no women out. In Aqaba we would see liquor and lingerie shops. We also bought spices and dates. These seemed better values and a great way for us to take home some of the great food we had been eating. Speaking a great food, on the horseback riding trip we were served hummus from a can and it was better than almost all of the hummus we eat here at home. I'm just saying.
While Aqaba is on the coast, Wadi Rum and Petra both lie at about 1000 meters above sea level. Wadi Rum is only about 50km from Aqaba. Pretty rugged country. Of course this meant that it was generally chilly at night everywhere but Aqaba. I think it got down to about 30-40 at night in Petra and Wadi Rum. During the day when the sun was out if felt like it was about 60ish. Quite nice really.
Well that is all of the talking I want to do. Look at the pictures,
they talk better than I do.
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