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Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 30th 2017

Now Petra. October 18th. This is the big day when at last we will visit Petra the rose red city "half as old as time". Here nature and man together carved awesome works of impressive grandeur 2000 years ago.That thriving city, capital of the Kingdom of the Nabataeans, was then ravaged by earthquake and time, being lost for a thousand years until its “rediscovery” (I. E. to the west) through duplicity and intrigue in 1812. Planning to visit? Then understand this. This city sprawls for many miles. It spans over 60 square km. You will walk and walk and walk and walk and then walk back and back and back and back. If you don’t walk you can take a beast of burden a camel, donkey, horse. We chose not to. So we walked and walked ... read more
The sheer height of the cliff face is intimidating to put it mildly
Rocks of all colours
Petra has many shapes and faces in the rocks

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 28th 2017

PETRA . Long awaited much anticipated. Tuesday October 17th. Today we travel toward one of the main highlights of my entire journey, the ancient Rose red city carved out of rocks by the the Nabataean people. Petra. My mother had enthused me with her rapture over its beauty. Now, post mortem, I carried her portrait so that she could visit the city which she never saw but loved so much. While en route I'd arranged with a driver for us to visit three important tourist spots in Jordan: MADABA with its renowned Byzantine mosaics, Mt NEBO of Moses' Promised Land fame and the DEAD SEA a global phenomenon with water so salt your body floats effortlessly. The driver was part of a transport package I'd negotiated with Solayman of the Wadi Rum Sky Bedouin camp. One ... read more
Madaba Mosaic Map
Byzantine mosaics abound in Madaba
Another floor mosaic in excellent condition after 1500 years

Middle East » Jordan » South » Aqaba May 28th 2017

Greetings fellow wanderers - I believe I have a recommendation for you....! Well, actually, this is probably going to sound achingly familiar, but for a trip to Jordan, as compact a nation as it is, splitting a week-long trip between northern and southern Jordan seems like a perfect strategy, right? Whatever the case might be, in terms of your perceptions, this trip kicked off in Aqaba, a coastal town, Jordan's one and only, signified the first leg of the tour, and a chance to see one or two treasures of the region. The period being Ramadan, an eerie sense of tranquility pervaded to the extent of this being something of a ghost town, at least compared to the vibrant buzz of Aqaba at its busiest. A couple of attractions lined the way, namely the majesty of ... read more
A yacht harbour (Aqaba; Jordan)
The Treasury (Petra; Jordan)
Tranquility! (Wadi Rum; Jordan)

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra May 5th 2017

Middle East and Mediterranean Marvels - Spring 2017 Time to head back to my favorite region of the world - to cavort in the sands of the Persian Gulf before beginning my next adventure – this time on the high Seas of the Arabian, the Red and the Mediterranean for the next few weeks. Today I leave for the airport at 8am, definitely a pleasant change from my usual zero-dark-thirty departure time; I even get to sleep in until daylight. The big blue chariot awaits outside and with my bag in the back, we are off to McCarran. Fast and efficient as always with the priority lane and I speed thru TSA security like a whirlwind – Delta sure pampers their elite flyers. First leg halfway around the globe is cross country to New York, and ... read more
desert sands
Grand Mosque at night
Grand Mosque Courtyard

Middle East » Jordan » South March 17th 2017

Having been fortunate enough to have visited most of the world's great tourist attractions over the years, Petra had risen right to the top of my 'bucket list'. My concern was whether the expectation had resulted in perhaps my 'lifting the bar' a bit too high. It hadn't! Petra was without a doubt the highlight of my trip. As predicted, the southern border crossing from Eilat in Israel to Aqaba in Jordan (the Wadi Araba crossing) was very pain free, and we were basically through both sides in around half an hour. The drive north to Petra took a couple of hours through pretty desolate country, except when we passed the outskirts of the famed Wadi Rum on our right-hand side, where huge sandstone and granite rocks suddenly sprung up out of the desert, with shapes ... read more
A section of the Siq
The Street of Facades
Salmon coloured stratified rock

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 22nd 2016

What a trip! Definitely a memorable hike! It started for me when Shai (Shai Bytner, a great tour guide) messaged me: “Hi Ben, would you like to join a group as rappelling guide to Wadi Fayed?” Well, duh! Of course I would! Despite the short notice, and despite the fact that I just got back from a hike to the Golan the evening before (see my blog: https://www.travelblog.org/Middle-East/Israel/North-District/Golan/blog-949438.html). So I got home from the Golan, unpacked, repacked and Amichai (Amichai Spector http://www.spectours.co.il) brought all the group’s rappelling and cooking equipment directly to my car. Early the next morning Avi joined me and we started on our way towards Eilat. On the way we picked up Shai and then drove down to the Rabin border cross... read more
Sandstone crevasse
Rappelling
Fan-toed gecko

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 19th 2016

It was an early breakfast this morning as the plan was to head out with Kevin and Patrick to hike into Petra via a much longer and less traveled route. However, at breakfast I just wasn't ready to head out at such an early hour so I took my time eating breakfast and let Kevin and Patrick head out with Brent, Jocelyn, and Ronan. It was quite the sight to see Brent and Jocelyn dressed up as the characters from Indiana Jones as they set out for today's hike. I would find out later that there was a reason to this. I wasn't dissapointed in not joining them as it would be nice to just go at my own pace and have a little alone time to enjoy Petra all by myself. I eventually headed out ... read more
Early Morning Walk Through The Siq in Petra
Approaching The Treasury
The Treasury at Petra

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra October 18th 2016

After another sub-par night of sleeping, as we awoke to leave our desert camp in Wadi Rum. Our camp hosts provided us with a light breakfast and as we prepared to set off, we all gathered to collectively say our thanks to the Sheikh. We had appointed Kevin to give our thanks on behalf of all of us as we all set off in 2 vehicles. The Sheikh drove one of the vehicles and as we blasted some Jordanian music as we drove through the desert with the windows down. They dropped us off at a spot where a bunch of camels were awaiting and those of us who wanted to ride would ride the camels back to Wadi Rum town. 3 local teenage boys lead us and the camels back to town for the 45 ... read more
Driving in Wadi Rum
Driving in Wadi Rum
Camel Riding in Wadi Rum

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum October 17th 2016

After a rather uncomfortable night of sleep where I probably got no more than 4 hours of total sleep time, Kevin and I awoke and made our way over to a nearby rock to catch the sunrise. To our surprise, Sophie was already there with the same idea and the 3 of us enjoyed the peaceful calm of a desert sunrise. Today, we were to set out for a long day hike out into the Wadi Rum desert. We set out just after breakfast and already the morning had become quite warm. Heading out into the desert, it was pretty clear who would be leading the pack. Kevin, Ronan, Patrick, and myself lead the way while everyone else seemed to linger towards the back of the pack. This was one of the highlights for me during ... read more
Waiting For The Sunrise
Waiting For The Sunrise
Waiting For The Sunrise

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum October 16th 2016

After breakfast this morning, we all packed into our shuttle van for the 5 hour drive south to Wadi Rum. As we approached the outskirts of Amman, our guide Faisal gave us some background about himself and talked a little about Jordanian history and culture. Our destination today was the desert area of Wadi Rum and it's famous lunar landscape. Wadi Rum is best known as the setting for Lawrence of Arabia and most recently, was the filming site for Matt Damon's The Martian. First stop was at the Wadi Rum Visitor Center where we had just enough time to stretch our legs and have our first views of the amazing rock formations in the area most notably, the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. Here, a few of the guys took the opportunity to purchase a red ... read more
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom Rock Formation
Wadi Rum Visitor's Center
Wadi Rum Visitor's Center




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