A Travellerspoint blog

Last days in Jordan

On the 8th we left Aqaba and headed to the Dead Sea. Disappointing for a couple of reasons, windy and dusty, which you can't do anything about, but the beach was badly littered with plastic bags, cigarette butts etc. Given the popularity of this stop for all tourists it really should be cleaned up. After the Dead Sea we did another stop on the Jordan River to see another of the possible areas that Jesus was baptized. This one has the "endorsement" of 4 popes, most recently Francis in 2014 plus there have been several archeological finds that date the site to the appropriate time period Yesterday and today, my last day here, I explored - The Jordan Museum which is well worth the visit. The Dead Sea Scrolls were found in Jordan so the history of the excavation is well done and several parts of the scrolls are on display including the copper scrolls which are a mystery to this day. I also went to downtown Amman which is the older part of the city. The Al Husseini mosque is here which is the oldest mosque in Amman. It is surrounded by little alley-like streets that are the various souks. Anything you need can be bought in the souks from fruit and veggies to bolts of cloth, rugs, shoes, clothes, electronics, kitchen supplies, gold, you name it and it's there somewhere. The very nice difference from other ancient markets is not a single person tried to sell me anything. Everyone was very nice and tried to understand my questions or find someone who could. Later I wandered over to Rainbow Street which is a popular areas for restaurants and coffee shops etc. All around the city there is colorful graffiti which was started in the late 90's with the approval of the government to make the dull concrete walls more colorful and interesting. I was told there are some that are political or make religious statements but I wasn't able to locate any.

Graffiti along Rainbow Street

Graffiti along Rainbow Street


More graffiti

More graffiti

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Jordan Comments (0)

The Red Sea - ahhhhhh

We left Wadi Rum early and arrived in Aqaba by 9:30am. Checked in, quick shower after a day and night in the desert and off to walk around Aqaba and spent some time on the beach. Aqaba is on the Red Sea directly opposite Eilat in Israel. You could walk across to Israel if you wanted to deal with the border control. Wandering around with Hannah and Sean, two of our group who also chose to stay ashore ( the others went out on a boat) we stopped at a sweets shop and bought baclava called Fish Mouth and another tasty treat made with honey and cheese. We saved the baclava for the beach but ate the other and then bought street food for lunch. Yummy trangles filled with spinach and onion, one with sweet potato and one with cheese and oregano. After a bit more exploring we headed to the public beach. Not the best spot but we had been warned so were not surprised. Hannah was wearing shorts and young boys here don't see female flesh so stare a lot and some make rude comments. Odd considering this is a beach resort but most tourists stick to the hotels with beach access. We stayed until it started getting overcast and headed back to the hotel and coffee nearby.

Fish Mouth Baclava

Fish Mouth Baclava


Coffee to start the day in Aqaba

Coffee to start the day in Aqaba


The Mosque

The Mosque


Spices in the Souk

Spices in the Souk


Fast Food

Fast Food


Coffee

Coffee


Aqaba Views

Aqaba Views


More views

More views


The beach - Eilat on the other side

The beach - Eilat on the other side

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Israel Comments (0)

Into the desert

Today we headed into the desert for a night in a desert camp. This is a camp styled after a bedoiun camp. We were the only ones there which was nice. After lunch we did a 3 hour ride through the desert in the backs of pick up trucks outfitted with benches on either side of the truck bed. It was super fun going up, over and down the sand dunes. One truck got a flat tire so we had to wait for a replacement vehicle. What do you do in the desert with time on your hands? Make a human pyramid!! On our way again to two natural bridges hewn by nature. It was so like being in Utah and very fun to see the reactions of folks who have never seen anything like this. We clambered around on the rocks for a bit and then headed to a spot to watch the sunset. Dinner, wine and a campfire ended the day. We each had our own 'tent' and it was cozy with two layers of quilts each about 3" thick. After a morning camel ride and breakfast we headed to Aqaba for sun and sea.

Into the desert we go...

Into the desert we go...


Our desert camp

Our desert camp


This is where dinner will be cooked

This is where dinner will be cooked


Our camp is surrounded by these rocks

Our camp is surrounded by these rocks


Our desert transport

Our desert transport


Our drivers

Our drivers


Scenery

Scenery


Off we go

Off we go


Up and over the dunes

Up and over the dunes


Before the flat

Before the flat


Flat Tire!!

Flat Tire!!


Flat tire in the desert - make human pyramid!

Flat tire in the desert - make human pyramid!


Scenes

Scenes


Rock writings

Rock writings


Arches - not in Utah!

Arches - not in Utah!


Just wandering through

Just wandering through


This was a common sight

This was a common sight


Natural Bridge

Natural Bridge


The group

The group


Scenes

Scenes


One of the wells in the desert

One of the wells in the desert


Scenes

Scenes


The other truck

The other truck


Scenes

Scenes


Waiting for sunset

Waiting for sunset


Shadows

Shadows


Sunset

Sunset


Next morning

Next morning


Sunset

Sunset


The camp

The camp


The camp

The camp


Evening at the camp

Evening at the camp


Sunrise

Sunrise


Sunrise

Sunrise

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Jordan Comments (0)

Petra, at last!

Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1985 and, in 2007, was named one of the modern Seven Wonders of the World. It is not known exactly when Petra was built, but the city began to prosper as the capital of the Nabatean Empire from the 1st Century BC. It was later annexed to the Roman Empire and continued to thrive until earthquakes and changes in trade routes eventually led to the downfall of the city which was ultimately abandoned. By the middle of the 7th century Petra was largely deserted and it was lost to all but local Bedouins from the area. The Nabateans carved these tombs and what is called the Treasury in the beautiful sandstone rock. Entering via the Siq, which is a narrow rock valley, is reminiscent of Utah's slot canyons. The Siq – the only pathway into Petra and the best description comes from the book, MARRIED TO A BEDOUIN – And we could see what he meant. It is only a few meters wide and the sheer sides towering in reds and ochres cut out most of the sun, except where shafts of it reached in and caught the leaves of high-up fig trees in splashes of green. About a mile in, you turn a corner and get your first view of the Treasury building. This is the most famous site in Petra. It is called the Treasury because people at the time thought the huge urn at the top held the Nabatean King's gold. No one was ever able to destry the urn although many tried. The facade is in remarkably good condition in spite of its exposure to the elements. You can no longer go inside because stupid tourists couldn't resist carving their names in the sandstone. Continuing into the valley there are many tombs as this was the main burial site for Nabatean Kings, Queens and their families. There are several that are as impressive, if not more so, than the Treasury. The colors are indescribable. I hope my photos will do it all justice. The actual city of Petra is about 4 miles into the valley and is obviously a Roman built city with entry archway, "paved" main street and large temple. We climbed up to the Monastery and some went on even higher to a viewpoint. I stayed and had tea with the cats and soaked up the sun. There is another climb up that takes you to a high point above the Treasury building. Just wandering around in this amazing place is humbling. Only the bedoiuns of the area do any business within the site. Everything from coffee stalls, souvenirs, donkey and camel rides. It is the off season and, overall, tourism is down significantly so they are eager to get you to spend. In spite of this, they only need to be told, no thank you, and most stop asking. It is sad that people are afraid to go to Jordan. It is a peaceful country and well liked by all its crazy neighbors. A long, tiring day but so worth it. To top it off, Ayman, our guide had arranged with the hotel to prepare two of his favorite, traditional Jordanian dishes. A lamb dish and a chicken dish - they were both delicious.

The Siq

The Siq


Information

Information


First view of the Treasury

First view of the Treasury


The Treasury

The Treasury


The Treasury

The Treasury


The top of the Treasury

The top of the Treasury


Proof that I was there!

Proof that I was there!


Detail of the top of the Treasury

Detail of the top of the Treasury


Petra

Petra


Into the rest of the site

Into the rest of the site


A tomb high up in the rocks

A tomb high up in the rocks


More tombs

More tombs


Cut into the rock

Cut into the rock


Views of Petra

Views of Petra


Tomb Info

Tomb Info


Tombs

Tombs


Another tomb

Another tomb


Street scenes

Street scenes


Info

Info


Scenes

Scenes


Stairway - but where does it start?

Stairway - but where does it start?


Views

Views


Along the way

Along the way


Continuing

Continuing


The Facades

The Facades


Info

Info


Spectacular

Spectacular


Scenes

Scenes


Scenes

Scenes


Rock features

Rock features


Carvings

Carvings


Info

Info


Main Theater

Main Theater


Main Theater

Main Theater


Main Theater

Main Theater


Rock features

Rock features


Rock features

Rock features


The holes are where marble used to be attached

The holes are where marble used to be attached


Stunning Royal Tomb

Stunning Royal Tomb


Scenes

Scenes


The cats are very friendly

The cats are very friendly


Scenes

Scenes


Just a wanderin'

Just a wanderin'


Info

Info


Royal Tomb

Royal Tomb


Another spectacular structure

Another spectacular structure


Scenes

Scenes


Rock features give spectacular color

Rock features give spectacular color


Entry

Entry


Rock features

Rock features


Entry

Entry


Another view

Another view


This is the floor

This is the floor


Nature color

Nature color


Natural color on ceiling

Natural color on ceiling


The rock is wearing away showing the color beneath

The rock is wearing away showing the color beneath


Rock erosion

Rock erosion


Another view

Another view


More tombs

More tombs


Another amazing tomb

Another amazing tomb


Another view

Another view


The top portion

The top portion


The ancient city from above

The ancient city from above


More mosaics

More mosaics


More mosaics

More mosaics


Mosaic floor

Mosaic floor


The Blue Columns

The Blue Columns


Another view of Petra

Another view of Petra


Petra

Petra


Petra

Petra


The main temple of Petra

The main temple of Petra


The sandstone made it easy to carve the tombs

The sandstone made it easy to carve the tombs


The Monastery - one of Petra's largest structures

The Monastery - one of Petra's largest structures


Scenes at the Monastery

Scenes at the Monastery


Scenes

Scenes


Scenes

Scenes


Scene from the walk up to the Monastery

Scene from the walk up to the Monastery


The 'side walk' up to the Monastery

The 'side walk' up to the Monastery


We met Marguerite

We met Marguerite


Marguerite

Marguerite


Scenes

Scenes


Scenes

Scenes


Hanging out

Hanging out


Resting at the Treasury

Resting at the Treasury


Remains of a carving of a man and camels resting

Remains of a carving of a man and camels resting


Unveiling the feast

Unveiling the feast


More of the feast

More of the feast

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Jordan Comments (0)

On the way to Petra

We stopped at 3 places on our way to Wadi Musa - Mt. Nebo (pronouced nay-bow) which is where Moses spent the last 12 years of his life after the long walk through the desert. There is a church being built at the top which will be a huge draw once it is completed. We then moved on to Madaba where there is an ancient church with an amazing mosaic map on the floor that depicts the 'holy world' as it was hundreds of years ago. I will add more specifics later. The mosaic is no longer complete but there is a very large part of it that shows the Jordon River, Dead Sea, Jerusalem etc. Then to Karak Castle - the largest and late-Islamic castle in Jordan. This is a famous castle from the crusades and later refortified and used during the Ayyubid and Mamluk eras. If you have seen the movie Kingdom of Heaven this is the castle the crusaders tried to defend against Saladein. Much of the movie is historically inaccurate but some of the key people really did exist and lived in this castle. It is quite large with very thick, high walls. It was impenetrable to Saladein' s catapults. He ended up seizing the castle after 8 months by cutting off the water supply. We finally headed to Wadi Musa which is the town that abuts Petra. There have been protests here the last couple of days over some bad business dealings where a lot of people lost a lot of money and now want the government to pay them back. For a couple of hours we weren't sure if we could come here but we finally got word through G Adventures that it would be ok. There were lots of police out today in town and apparently things are under control.

Entry at Mt. Nebo

Entry at Mt. Nebo


Sculpture at Mt. Nebo

Sculpture at Mt. Nebo


Map of views from Mt. Nebo

Map of views from Mt. Nebo


View of the Jordan River

View of the Jordan River


Views

Views


Karak Castle

Karak Castle


The walls of the castle

The walls of the castle


Along the way

Along the way


The road from Mt. Nebo

The road from Mt. Nebo


Entry

Entry


Views from Mt. Nebo

Views from Mt. Nebo


Views

Views


The new church at Mt.Nebo

The new church at Mt.Nebo


Olive Tree planted by the pope

Olive Tree planted by the pope


Madaba town square

Madaba town square


The Hussein Kings - current King is in the center

The Hussein Kings - current King is in the center


The mosaics

The mosaics


The mosaics

The mosaics


Mosaic

Mosaic


The map mosaic

The map mosaic


Close up of the map

Close up of the map


Other art in the Byzantine era church

Other art in the Byzantine era church


More art

More art


The mosaic

The mosaic


Inside the church

Inside the church


One of the local beers - pretty good.

One of the local beers - pretty good.


Information

Information


Updated entry to the castle

Updated entry to the castle


Karak Castle look outs

Karak Castle look outs


Karak Castle

Karak Castle


Inside - Entry Hall

Inside - Entry Hall


Air hole in ceiling

Air hole in ceiling


Room in the castle

Room in the castle


Entries to areas are low for security

Entries to areas are low for security


Carvings

Carvings


Entry way

Entry way


The castle

The castle


Still in the entry

Still in the entry


Up on the wall

Up on the wall


Views

Views


Part of a column

Part of a column


Kids playing around the castle

Kids playing around the castle

Posted by CWalts 17:00 Archived in Jordan Comments (0)

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