A personal account from Jordan
Our adventure began experiencing the sun setting over the Red Sea, while music played in the background.
Back in Aqaba, we walked around the town and experienced the market stalls and the traders offering spices and teas. Dinner was at one of Aqaba’s most popular restaurants Ali Baba; the outdoor seating area allowed us to watch the world go by while we enjoyed the traditional Jordanian food.
We visited Mount Nebo to look out over the Promised Land, with views of Jerusalem in the distance. We also visited St George’s church where the original mosaic map of the Holy Land was found. Lunch was at the Haret Jdoudna Restaurant; a unique representation of an authentic village in the heart of the city, offering amazing traditional mezza of food, local crafts, entertainment and souvenirs.
We explored the archaeological park where we discovered the remains of Byzantine churches and spent some time at the Church of the Apostles, looking at the beautiful mosaics. In the evening we enjoyed relaxing in the warm water of the Dead Sea spa.
The next day we explored ancient Jerash, where was visited the wonderfully preserved Roman City of the Decapolis; so vast and well preserved, we spent most of the morning exploring the architecture.
After our morning in Jerash, we drove to Amman - the capital of the Hashemite kingdom. We watched the sunset from the Citadel. The Temple of Hercules was lit up by the fast descending sun; the columns framed the sunset perfectly. Afterwards, we walked around the bustling streets of Downtown Amman.
We woke up early to walk down to the mysterious Dead Sea at sunrise; we all floated effortlessly, rubbed the mineral-rich mud over our skin and enjoyed the sounds of the water in the background.
We then set off to Bethany to see the River Jordan; walking down towards the river we watched in awe as people entered from both the Jordanian side and the Israeli side. We couldn’t believe that Israel is just 4 meters away from us!
After experiencing the River Jordan we left to visit the Crusader Castle of Kerak where it was quiet enough to enjoy a full walking tour.
In the evening we arrived at the Mars Camp for a traditional dinner. We took part in authentic Shraak bread baking while our food cooked in the in sealed barrels, seasoned with herbs and spices that smelt delicious. After dinner we participated in some traditional singing and dancing, we also had henna tattoos and Kohl eyeliner. We then had our first glimpse of Petra as we visited by candle light. We drank tea and listened to Bedouin music. Watching the candles glow against the Treasury as the crowd fell silent was unforgettable; this increased our excitement of what was to come when we explore Petra on foot.
An early morning was in order to really appreciate the breathtaking Nabatean city of Petra; the rose-red sandstone about 2,000 years ago towered above our heads as we walked along the path hearing the roar of the horse drawn carriages making their way down the stone path. Walking around Petra, we stopped in each area and our guide explained the rock formations and the history. In the afternoon we had some free time to explore on our own and climb some of the paths formed in the rocks.
After a mid-morning departure from Petra we ventured to Wadi Rum, stopping at the old rail way track and climbing on board to view the old carriages. We made our way through the unique landscapes of desert and mountain scenery towards the Seven Pillars of Wisdom. The landscape in Wadi Rum is stunning and will stay in our memories forever. We then made our way to Captains camp for dinner. We all sat around the open fire listing to music and eating under the stars.
Jordan is blessed with so many places of interest to travellers; we were truly amazed by the full and rewarding itinerary that we experienced encompassing history and hospitality, souks and citadels, desert dunes in sunset hues, the salt-dense Dead Sea and the pink rock walls of Petra.