Well, what a fabulous little country. We knew we would like it from the first moment we walked the streets of Aqaba - no hassles from touts - just pleasant people saying welcome to Jordan. Our guide was Faiz - a rotund 79 year old. He was relaxed - a past history teacher who showed us a great time. After Aqaba we spent a day in the Wadi Rum desert in a 4 wheel drive - exploring different routes the bedouin took on their journeys through the desert. We saw the set of Laurence of Arabia and generally enjoyed dune-riding. We slept in a tent in a Bedouin campsite that night and had a traditional meal which was cooked undfer the sand - a great evening. The hubbly-bubbly, or sheesha, or water pipe, or hookah was going strong.
The next morning we made our way to Petra and the magnificent city carved out of the mountains. We hiked 12K that day, said Faiz, and I can see why these are among the seven wonders of the world. We gave the next day a miss as I sprained my ankle slightly and it was another major hike - Faiz said 24K though the others didn't think it was that long.
We were off along the King's Highway, built in Roman times, and visited Karnak Castle and floated in the Dead Sea. It was indeed very easy. We slathered ourselves is black dead sea clay and it really does make the skin soft. We ended that day in Madaba, looking at mosiacs from the 6th century. The next day we visted Mount Nebo, again of significent religous importance, extremely interesting, and made our way down to Amman.
We liked Amman, although many said it was just a big modern city of around 1.5 million. We saw more Roman ruins, an amphitheatre and shopped in the markets. We had our last group dinner that night and said our sad goodbyes. Wee enjoyed everyone's company so much we've arranged to meet up with the Irish in Ireland and Amsterdam this August.
The next day the remaining seven of us toured Jerash, the largest and most complete Roman city another castle, and viewed the Sea of Galalee and the Golan Heights. It's fascinating to see and visit so many places of historical and current importance.
We had great food in Jordan - thanks to our host, who clearly loves food. In Egypt our guide only took us to street stalls. The Jordanians, while not rich are much richer than Egyptians and also more free. Women are in publilc more and less restrained, although the majority stil wheat the hijab.
We are off to Istanbul today and a weeks rest before we start our Turkey Tour. Adventure tours are just that. On this tour we climbed three mountains, rode camels, donkeys and horses, snorkeled and kept an active pace.
I haven't send a newsletter since New Zealnad and hope to complete a couple in the next few days. This blog might have a few typos as I'm in the airport and the type font size is about 6 so I can't see what I'm typing. Sorry.