What a Country, with a true mystical beauty which sweeps this country, with so many ancient secrets, magical cities and hidden suprises, its no wonder I fell in love with Jordan the Jewel of the Middle East within a week!
Firstly I actually came into Jordan through the Israel border from Egypt on my tour I did, this took in all about 3 hours , due to ques and questions. To quicken the process you can buy the Jordan Pass which has your visa included in the price as well as 1 or 2 times entry to Petra depending on which cost you would like to choose. Smart right!
Jordans history is a long, shocking and unusual one, with many different religions dominating it during its 10000 year history. It was at
Day 1 – Wadi Rum (Rock Valley)
No trip to Jordan would be complete without a stay at one of the traditional Wadi Rum camps, from basic to glamping options tourism has changed the way you can enjoy this unique experience in the National Park of Wadi Rum desert. You will start your experience with a Jeep Safari (scarves optional), where we stopped at several different areas of the Park, for view points, photographs, traditional Bedwin tea, and even a makeover with the special eye makeup which protects your eyes from the sun and dust. If you lucky enough you will have a driver who likes the adrenaline of a fast drive to get the full experience of surfing down and up the dunes. The rock formations differ from boulder to the giant vertical cliffs above leaving just cracks in the top valley at times. Some even look like they are melting from the rock patterns we found near camp .
Our camp was Magic Camp …… not entirely sure where its situated due to the jeep safari dropping us off which I quite liked but we arrived, got comfy had drinks at the bar . Soft cushions and sofas circle around a traditional concrete stage in front of the bar which was stocked up with spirits, beers and wine. This camp is one of the only ones with a permitted DJ who plays with a mix of new, traditional and music the hosts begun the dancing and started pulling people up onto the circular dance floor to join in. Single dances were happening and everyone was in good spirits and this was even before the food.
The traditional food of the Bedwins is cooked within holes made in the sandy ground, with a tin can protecting it from collapse, lid on and foil to cook it even more tenderly. Chicken, Lamb and Fish are the go toos, and we enjoyed this in the tents surrounding the dance floor space. They had houmous, lentils, salads and loads of different tastes to try.
The evening followed with stargazing, with microscopes and a professionals telling you exactly what you looking at in the night sky. If you opt out of that just sitting or laying down in the open desert looking up is an amazing moment to enjoy, the cold sand cooling you down and the silence of the evening coming to an end. We also started the group dancing, with the hosts taking peoples hands to get them out of their chairs while Jordanian and Bedwin music was being played, then gradually the music got wilder and more upto date.
Day 2 – Petra
My Full blog on Petra here – https://livinglifetotheblonde.com/2019/09/19/petra-honesty-about-the-monastery/
One of the 7 new wonders on World, famous for the scenes from Indiana Jones 3 (or is that just me who knows this), and the poster image for Jordan Petra is the one day if not the only part to go see in Jordan. Petra is believed to have been settled as early as 9,000 BC due to Jordan needing a Holy City, and it was possibly established in the 4th century BC as the capital city of the Nabataean Kingdom. The Nabataeans were nomadic Arabs who invested in Petra’s proximity to the trade routes by establishing it as a major regional trading hub (history buff moment over). The city was lost for hundreds of years due to how well hidden it is in the valley of Arabah until it was found again in 1812. Ever since it has become a bucket list destination, with over a million tourists a year.
The first impression was beyond what I imagined, it was a good 20 minutes walking through vertical cliffs valley known as (The Siq). to the first main building and most well-known, the treasury. The treasury is the first time I squealed a little , actually a lot! The sheer size of it, the way you see it so subtly through the cracks of the Siq and then suddenly you understand the full size of the rock carved façade is just amazing. Its like going back to when the city really lived and functioned, with Camels resting outside, the horse drawn carriages racing through and past, and the Jordanian people going about their daily business.
From here take a stroll down the Street of Facades, a row of over 40 houses and easily accessible tombs with carved exteriors, or hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice, where you can get an up-close look at its famous obelisks and sacrificing tables – all while surrounded by panoramic views of the rocky desert surrounding this area.
We gradually walked through the city, which is so much bigger than i ever expected. With a distance of 5km from the entrance to the Monastry of Petra found at the top of a mountainous hill . 1000 steps up to the top , about 8 stops on the way for water, half my body weight in sweat will get you to where the Monastry is found with beautiful flowers growing around it, and a café to treat yourself after THAT HIKE !!
We left Petra at 5pm (it closes at 6pm), however for the eager beaver there is a chance to see Petra by night and see the treasury all lit up this would cost you around 18 JD’s. Where they light hundreds of candles next to the treasury. It looks magical but depends how tired you are. For others they opted for 2 day Petra pass which meant they could go back and appreciate the City in the early morning when it is cooler, and not as crowded for those perfect shots. It also means you have the energy to climb a little more if you were exhausted like I was after 1 day.
Day 3 – Dead Sea
The lowest place on Earth at 400 metres below sea level , the buoyancy of the water so high due to just how salty the water is, you have no choice but to Float when you are in the water, a weird feeling at first but once you get used to it, enjoy and relax. Make sure you rub some of the mud onto your face and body to have skin like a baby’s bottom.
Clothes wise if there is anything you don’t want ruined by the salt don’t wear it, and mainly all you need is a swimsuit/ bikini, a gopro or waterproof camera, and average 18 JORDAN Dollars for the entry fee. This fee also includes a delicious lunch. I would take a towel which you can grab quickly incase you get any of the salty water in your eyes, and also water on hand for the same reason. IT STINGS!
There are over 21 different minerals in this one Lake… magnesium, sodium, etc etc. You can even apply some of the mud to your body on the shore where people are handing it out for around 3 JD to get the full spa experience. After a while it does feel itchy which obviously means your skin has become 10 years younger in 15 minutes ofcourse.
Once you have your entry to the shore you can spend as long as you want there, 2 hours is a good amount of time to relax, do a mud mask, take pictures, maybe have a little walk along the shore to see the amazing different mineral patterns in the water. Normally you have to walk through a hotel resort, which you can then use after for a clean swim, with jumping into the pool being the weirdest feeling after having no buoyancy in the Dead sea 10 minutes before. We headed to the Amman Beach Resort with icecreams, drinks and showers when you get out.
Day 4 – Amman
The capital of Jordan with over 9.4 million residents, its a huge city and many of the attractions are quite far apart so maybe better to hire a driver for the day like I did, or book with a tour group.
The first area we visited was the King Abdullah Mosque – which is a Practicing mosque. As all mosques are, it was beautifully decorated on the outside with brightly coloured tiles in tones of blue (giving it its nick name The Blue Mosque ) We luckily had the opportunity to be allowed into the main building for 2 JD, we were given clothes to wear for free and greeted with a warm heart. They asked us after if we had enjoyed it. The interior of the main prayer rooms which was so quiet and peaceful, we laid on the floor for half hour just enjoying this, with a beautifully decorated ceiling to help
The Rainbow Street is known in Amman for the markets, shops and restaurants, enjoy the walk towards it up the umbrella street of colour and flowers. There are also the local markets for the best fresh food try the Farmers Market in Amman is a great place for locally sourced produce and goods. From boutique bakeries to artisan cheeses, the Farmers Market in Amman strives to sell only organically grown, non-GMO and chemical free fruits and vegetables. Beyond this, visitors can find handmade soaps, pottery, olive oil, and handicrafts
Parts of the old city are remarkable well preserved with a lot of Roman Empire influence due to Jordans history… The amphitheatre is so tall, and has a beautiful courtyard in front of it . The Citadel at the very top of the hill with amazing panoramic views of the whole city are actually Greek and Roman ruins, with statues scattered of Hercules as well as influences plain to see from Rome itself.
The rest of the evening we relaxed, a few of us were leaving early morning, so we chose a restaurant close to the hotel we were staying in (Ibis Hotel), The restaurant was getting ready for the end of Ramadan for the day, Jordanians have very strict values when it comes to Ramadan, infact Jordan is a very religious country. It was amazing to be part of it at this 5 star Restaurant Reem albawadi (didn’t realise it was 5 star but we were starving). The service was amazing at 7.30pm everybody in the restaurant started eating as one to end Ramadan. It was amazing and the food even better!
Due to it being Ramadan we found a lot of places were empty, closed or just not open during the event. So we found what we could to explore, we ended up at a beautiful indoor market within a hotel which sold all kinds of Jordanian crafts including rugs, plates, lamps, bells and even Dead sea mud maks. The best thing we came across was the Habibah Sweets shop, which smelt so fresh and nutty. One of the traditions of Ramadan are giving gifts of food and sweets to enjoy in the evenings and also at the end of Ramadan in celebration like a birthday. Some of the boxes and and gifts were so beautiful presented, with colourful perfect sweets so unusual with bright pistachios and almonds.
Day 5 – Jerash (or Gerasa)
This well preserved ruin city, famous for its 1000 standing columns (I didn’t count them) is a half hour drive from Amman city. I rented a car for 40 JD’s to take me , wait for me and take me back to my hotel for the afternoon. which is a bargain especially with the guided tour he gave me on the way. I spent about 2 hours walking through the original stone streets, taking in the calved stone columns with so much preserved details. Sketched drawings showing what it could of looked like on signs throughout, as well as beautiful views of the modern city around. I highly recommend this visit, its a beautiful walk if nothing else, with added value for any history buffs. The price for entry is 8JD, we headed there in the afternoon and it didn’t seem as busy too so a lot of the areas we headed too were quiet. Go and see for your self
Extra days?– Aqaba– Southern point of Jordan
The only Coastal city into Jordan is the gateway to Jordans coastal shipments through the red sea. Located between the Israel and Saudi Arabian borders, plus the close country of Egypt its a cultural hub from all directions. .For the avid divers, you can find dive centres all along the beaches, for the animal lover the aquatic centre and Dolphin reserve, where wild dolphins are free to come into the safety of the gated area in the reserve but are free to leave at their own accord.
Overall Jordan was the cherry on top of my already unforgettable Egyptian cake, which ended up leaving a new place in my heart, the different cultures, religions, as well as the Historical past I didn’t expect to come across. The country taught me so much about what Nature can really produce, as well as just how beautiful this middle eastern country can be. Cant wait to explore more of it now I have had a small taste.
maʿa s-salamah (Bye)