13 May 2008

Jordan - A surprise

In May we where invited to a wedding in Jordan. While I was looking forward to the wedding, I wasn't sure about going to Jordan so I searched at Google. The first idea was just to go to the wedding and then stay for a week or so at a nice resort at the Dead Sea. Boah, what we would have missed out if we had done this. Second idea was to find a group travel around the country. I am sooo happy we didn't do this either.

After a lot of searching, negotiating and calculating, we choose to travel alone with a driver/guide, as it is highly recommended not to drive on your own through the country ( I absolutely agree as they drive like maniacs with a strong death wish). Jordan Direct Tours customized a perfect trip for us, including hotels in Amman, at Dead Sea, Petra and Aqaba, a cooking class at Petra Kitchen and Petra at Night excursion etc.

The day after the wedding we went to Ajlun to visit the castle. Unfortunately, I got sick after lunch on the way to Jerash (a Greco-Roman city) and we decided to go straight to the Dead Sea. Arriving at the Mövenpick Resort (beautiful) the only thing I did was going to bed and die a little, while my partner had his first dip in the Dead Sea and took some shots of the sunset. Beside all the sickness (my partner was bitten by the same bug later on) we enjoyed our stay and I also had a short dip in the Dead Sea the next day. Very funny feeling, it feels like a thick soapy bath and you really can't swim.

The next day should have been a trip to Madaba, Mt. Nebo, Kerak but again (this bug was mean) we decided to cut it short and went straight to Petra, where we stayed at the Mövenpick Hotel (you can't get closer to the entrance to Petra) and took our Petra at Night tour. Could have been wonderful, if we would have been on our own, but they put so many tourists through it, who where chatting along the way (although the guides have asked for silence), that is was merely a walk in the dark with a chatty school class, illuminated by some lights and a smell of thousand year old camel and horse dung.

But apart from all that we enjoyed it anyway ;o) and went back the next day to get a real view of Petra. Although the smell stayed the same and after a while there are lot's of tourists again, so we went early in the morning. Petra is amazing and if you have ever seen the last scene in the 3rd Indiana Jones movie, you get an idea of what the Treasury and the Siq. But believe me, that is nothing compared to the real thing. Petra is a Nabatean City entirely craved in stone and was hidden to the Europeans for centuries.

In the evening we took our cooking class at Petra Kitchen. We like to cook and although we
didn't learn so much, except for the upside down dish, we loved it anyway and had a great time with the the staff and the group of Americans we met there. All the best to Laura and friends in San Diego.

The next day we went to Wadi Rum for a jeep safari in the desert and amazing place, with lots of red! sand, stones, and a spring. Laurence of Arabia has been here and the movie was made here.

In the afternoon we drove to Aqaba, the only access Jordan has to the Red Sea. As it is the only harbor for Jordan, it is mostely business or travel that brings people here. However, if you are not into diving or snorkeling and not there for business, I wouldn't go there.

Back on the road to Amman, our last stop. In Amman, we decided to go to Mecca Mall first, to find out if we could find some bargains. We didn't really find some bargains but lovely food, kebab style and so yummi. The next day we had our city tour, visited the Citadell and the Roman Theatre.

Although we catched a sto
mach bug, probably due to a lot of stress and being at the wrong place at the wrong time, we loved our stay and the food we got in Jordan and we are looking forward to go back. I tried dried figs for the first time in my life and loved it, we tried grapes that where pressed/dried and spiced up with anisseed and other spices in a flat layer (a bit like chewy gummi bears), yummi, we ate salad that tasted so good, you can't get this quality and taste in Europe, we had tea at a Beduin tent in Wadi Rum, lovely food and Arak at the wedding (be careful with the Arak, it is strong!), great fun and very good food at Petra Kitchen and Kebab (although it was called differently) in Mecca Mall and many more...

Jordan - we will be back to taste and see the things we missed out on this time!

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