Blogs from West, Jordan, Middle East

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Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea March 15th 2020

12 mars Amman s'éveille doucement alors que je prend place dans la mini-van réservée hier à l'auberge. Nous sommes 5 à partager les coûts dans cette aventure: 1 Américain aux traits asiatiques (qui, Moyen-Orient exige, insistera sur ses origine chinoises), 1 Irlandais avec un fort accent de patate-chaude, 1 Marseillais backpaker sans-le-sous, 1 Irakien du Ministère en vacances et puis moi-même. C'est Mohammed, un jovial père de famille caramélisé qui tiendra le volant et dirigera l'expédition. Le véhicule s'actionne donc et nous partons tous vers notre première destination, Béthanie-au-delà-du-Jourdain, à la fragile frontière avec la Palestine. On laisse Amman derrière nous alors que les cubes beige d'habitations s'espacent tranquillement dans ce décor asséché où ne pousse plus que de rares fins duvets vert-de-gris chétifs sur cette rugue... read more
Béthanie
Fourmis du désert
Frontière israel

Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea July 3rd 2019

We can’t help but notice that the breakfast buffet here includes free champagne. This seems a bit incongruous in a country where the overwhelming proportion of the population is Muslim, and alcohol doesn’t seem to be all that readily available anywhere. Our desert camp out in Wadi Rum, for example, was dry in more ways than one. A sign outside reception advises guests that “Outside food, beverages and hubbly bubbly are not permitted inside the Hotel”. I wonder why anyone would feel a need to smuggle in their own “hubbly bubbly” when it’s laid on for free at breakfast. I don’t think there are any non-Muslim university students staying here, but if there were I’m sure they’d be only too keen to start the day by knocking back a few glasses of free champers. Having commented ... read more
Kempinski Hotel with Dead Sea in the background
Greek Orthodox Church next to Jordan River
Greek Orthodox Church next to Jordan River

Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea July 2nd 2019

We are exhausted after a very long and tiring day yesterday so we sleep in for a long time. We awake to see the view of the Dead Sea from our balcony in daylight for the first time. It is spectacular, with the morning sun shining on the hills of Palestine and Israel in the distance on the opposite bank. I go for a wander, and watch people swimming from the beach below me. Actually they don’t seem to be swimming at all; floating on their backs just above the surface would be a better description. Anyone who tries to swim face down seems to get involuntarily flipped over within a few strokes. I‘m itching for us to try this. The breakfast buffet includes something called “foul”. Whilst this sounds about as appetising as yesterday’s buffet ... read more
Kempinski Hotel, Dead Sea
Floating in the Dead Sea
After application of Dead Sea mud

Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea March 17th 2019

An extremely cold and windy day. We left our hotel for the journey to the Dead Sea. Along the way we took photos of the snow on the side of the road. We stopped at Shobak Castle built during the crusades in 1115 built on a conical mountain overlooking the caravan and pilgrimage routes. This allowed King Baldwin, Jerusalem’s first titled king to control the areas commerce. It is a huge site which was surrounded by agricultural land to feed the people of the site. It was blowing so hard the we were almost blown off the castle top. We stopped for a photo op of the smallest hotel in the world - a VW bug fitted out with cushions and blankets on the side of the road. We reached our hotel at the Dead Sea ... read more
Me floating in Dead Sea
Cathy and Kevin
Flat seas the next morning but we were leaving

Middle East » Jordan » West » Madaba October 21st 2016

Today was the official last full day of our tour around Jordan and as we all climbed into the van that would take us north to the city of Jerash, we all came to the somber realization that the end was near. Driving into northern Jordan, I was amazed by the number of refugee encampments that we had driven by. Our guide Faisal had explained that not all of these were Syrian refugees but many of them were Palestinians living in the encampments for over 10 years. He had indicated that estimates range from 1/3 to about 40% of the Jordanian population consisting of refugees. That high proportion of the population just amazed me. We pulled into the Jerash ruins which are considered to be of the best preserved Roman cities in the Middle East. I ... read more
Hadrian's Arch in Jerash
Hadrian's Arch in Jerash
The Jerash Visitor's Center

Middle East » Jordan » West » Madaba October 20th 2016

After a great 2 days of exploring the ruins at Petra, we headed off towards Madaba just outside of Amman. On our way to Madaba, we would have several stops to check out some additional sights of Jordan. The first stop was really just a quick road side stop to stretch our legs. Our van pulled over the side of the road where Faisal explained that below us was the Dana Biosphere Reserve, the largest nature reserve in Jordan. However from our vantage point, it looked like a dry and deserted wasteland. After this quick 15 minute stop, we headed towards the town of Karak where we would visit it's castle. Perched on top of a hill with great views of the surrounding area, Karak Castle is a fortified castle from the era of the Crusades. ... read more
Canon at Karak Castle
The View from Karak Castle
Exploring Karak Castle

Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea February 28th 2016

After the busy day touring Petra yesterday, I woke up looking forward to a quiet day on the road. I am not sure whether it was the hours of walking and hiking over rocks, the standing for hours cooking or if I was good old fashioned cranky, but I simply couldn’t face the breakfast buffet today. To say that it was sad would be kind to breakfast buffets everywhere. This one was plain old blech, in my professional opinion. I made do with some lackluster coffee colored water until Haytham picked us up and we headed towards Wadi Rum to check out the desert of Jordan. This trip is winding down too quickly, so I was determined to make the most of it- good breakfast or not. I am often asked why I have not yet ... read more
Just a Blip
Wadi Rum
Restaurant in Amman

Middle East » Jordan » West » Madaba December 15th 2015

We got an early start on the road and made our first stop at Shobak castle, where we were the only tourists. Shobak castle lies on a remote knoll 1 1/2 hrs north of Petra. It was constructed in 1115 by the crusader king Baldwin I and was used as a desert stronghold along the King's Highway. The castle was eventually taken by the Muslims after an 18 month siege by Saladin. I had read of the castle in my guide book and they recommended bringing flashlights for the more remote sections, to include a long and dark secret passageway which they provided directions to find. We did find the passageway which was little more than a narrow cave, and slipped and slid down through the bowels of the castle and into the mountain for the ... read more
Shobak Castle
Karak Castle

Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea October 1st 2015

1er octobre 2015 - Jour 8 Nous avons un long trajet de 4h ce matin pour remonter ver le nord et rejoindre notre dernier arrêt, la Mer Morte. La route longe la frontière avec Israël qu'on peut apercevoir avec sa barrière de barbelés. De nombreux postes de contrôles militaires sont situés le long de cette route et nous arrêtent régulièrement pour contrôler nos passeports et le permis de notre chauffeur. Durant le trajet, Ehab nous remet à jour nos connaissances d'histoire biblique sur le parcours de Moïse et le baptême de Jésus dans le Jourdain. D'ailleurs ces événements sont également cités dans le Coran puisqu'ils sont tous deux considérés comme des Prophètes. Lorsque nous atteignons la Mer Morte, nous constatons à quel point le niveau de l'eau a baissé ces dernières années car on voit clairement ... read more
Niveau de la mer
Piscine de l'hôtel
Il fait chaud!

Middle East » Jordan » West » Madaba September 27th 2015

27 septembre 2015 - Jour 4 Nous quittons Amman pour nous rendre au sud, à Petra. Mais tout d'abord nous faisons une halte en périphérie de la ville sur le Mont Nebo où Moïse serait enterré. Il faut le dire au conditionnel car il n'y a aucune preuve archéologique de son tombeau mais selon la Bible c'est ici que Dieu lui aurait montré la Terre Promise et qu'il serait décédé. Et à la demande de Dieu, il devait faire en sorte que l'emplacement exact de sa tombe ne soit jamais révélé pour qu'il ne devienne pas un lieu de pèlerinage. Des tombes ont bel et bien été trouvées sur le site mais il n'y a aucun moyen de prouver s'il s'agit de Moïse. Le fait est qu'ils ont tout de même édifié un monument et une ... read more
Atelier de mosaïques
Carte en mosaïques
Château de Kerak




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