Edit Blog Post
Published: September 13th 2014
Over spring break my friend, Paul, and I went to Jordan! It was definitely a good trip to not be a solo female. I never felt unsafe, but I was an anomaly. Fair-haired and blue-eyed Paul was an anomaly too! We packed so much into our week!
We hit the ground running and on day 1 we did three big sights in Madaba. We went to Mt. Nemo and Bethany on the River Jordan, with the West Bank of Israel right across the way. Third (and best!) we went to the Dead Sea and went for a swim where the incredibly salty water had us floating mostly above the surface of the water! So surreal! It was practically impossible to submerge your feet or kick in the water with your legs.
That afternoon we got a rental car for the rest of the week and decided to hit the Desert highway and get all the way south, then throughout the week meander back north to Amman. Still jet-lagged we made it as far as Ma'an where the guidebook said no tourists go. This was not the problem as much as the fact that no tourists = no English =
no way to know if a sign says "hotel" since it was in Arabic! After finding a hotel we went out for falafel at 9pm. I was the only woman at the entire restaurant. Lots of curious stares. Speaking of falafel there was one day that I ate a falafel wrap sandwich for breakfast, lunch, and dinner!
The next day we finished our Desert highway drive in Wadi Rum, a desert on the border of Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Paul booked for us a 2 day/2 night excursion into Wadi Rum with the Bedouin people. This might have been my favorite part of the trip. In the early morning hours there it was literally so quiet that I could hear my own pulse beating in my ears. In the desert we did a bunch of mini-hikes with fun rock scrambles. We also did one long 4 hour hike up Jebel al Hash and could see Saudi Arabia from the summit. We had personal Bedouin guide. Neat how from Jordan we got to literally see two other countries!
Next stop: Petra, made famous to many by a scene from an Indiana Jones movie. We did a well-worth it pre-arranged
The most famous building, the Treasury. This is the view as you complete the long walk down the narrow Siq to Petra
night walk into Petra where the mile or so walkway down the "Siq" was lined with lanterns. At the Treasury Building at Petra at the end of the Siq walkway there were Bedouins playing instruments and singing. Paul and I also explored by day and walked til we dropped all around and up and down in Petra. Of note to me was that I met the New Zealand woman that married a Bedouin and wrote a book "Married to a Bedouin." I bought a copy from her and she autographed it. Fascinating read! Does love conquer cultural divides?
In Wadi Musa (where Petra is) we took a cooking class at a place called Petra Kitchen. It was as much about the feasting afterwards as it was about the chopping, dicing, and mixing. We made about 8 different things to taste. We rolled out of there with recipes in hand to try at home! I highly recommend the experience if you like cooking, eating, or both!
After Petra, we continued north and we stopped for an unplanned adventure at a castle on the side of the road called Shobak castle. This was an old Crusader castle from the Robin
Hood days. Not sure if the castle belonged to the Christians or Muslims. Either way Paul and I found some stairs that headed down, down, and more down and we went exploring! Someone later told us we were in an escape tunnel from the castle through a hill to the other side. We never made it the entire way. It was so dark and slippery underfoot. I lost my sunglasses and we could hear them tumbling and falling seemingly endlessly. Next up we tried to find the Dana Nature Reserve but ended up in the town of Dana instead, walked around a bit, then got back on the road to go to Karak Castle. Castles are so cool!
We later hit massive traffic with beach-goers near the Dead Sea and got lost trying to get to Aljourn and Jarash and we accidentally ended up in the capital city of Amman where we checked out the Roman Theater ruins, the National Gallery of Art, spent the night and then headed back to Madaba where we saw the "map of the world" mosaic. The mosaic is on the floor of a church and is thought to be made up of 2.4
million tiles depicting the world with Jerusalem at the center. This trip was very eye-opening in lots of ways!
Tot: 0.096s; Tpl: 0.016s; cc: 13; qc: 65; dbt: 0.0144s; 1; m:saturn w:www (126.96.36.199); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.4mb