One week ago I visited for the first time another Middle Eastern country, after Egypt. Of course I was looking forward to it from the moment I heard I got the possibility to go. A couple weeks later, the moment was there: we’re off to Jordan!
On Thursday we left in the morning and would arrive before 2 pm in the red sea town of Nuweiba. The next day we had to cross over the Red Sea by boat, so we had time left to play around a little. It was hot! So normally there would be a run-off contest who lays first in the water, like what happened in Marsa Matrouh, however this time all of us took it easy because we had enough time and enough sun. The small beach of our hotel (village) is private and the water is really clear, there are no fish here but there are boats who can take you to coral rich areas. Interesting is that our village is at the same time an organic farm, for those who would like to travel more eco friendly. The town of Nuweiba is not that big and intersting to go around, but that makes relaxing the number 1 activity.
The next day we head off early morning to the ferry, which leaves at 6 and brings us to Aqaba in Jordan. The landscape in Sinai is already full with mountains, but arriving in Aqaba you are welcomed by mountains which make quite an impression. To confess, I was quite amazed by the shapes and texture, and I gained some sort of love for the nature of the country (-which is quite different from the green and flat country I grew up in-).
We had only two days in Jordan, so the first day we head off to Petra.
This old, marvelous city is since 5 years declared a wonder of the new world. I have seen a lot of history already in Egypt, and Petra’s entrance fee is $70,- for foreigners, so I was thinking to skip this. My advice: Do not do this! Of course it has a reason for being a wonder, that’s what I told myself afterwards. It offers however a lot of entertainment, or visual entertainment in a way. The rocks surrounding the city are surrealistic and if I could I would take one home. From the moment I walked upon the square where the Kashneh stands, my jaw was dropping, but literally. WOW, this was more than I expected. The surrounding theatre, tombes or temples do not even come close to this beauty.
So after walking around for 3 hours or so, we went for lunch and it seems in Jordan tourists are being treated on an open-buffet each time they eat.
The drive to Amman is not that long, and our Mercedes 315 including TV, cold drinks and comfortable chairs did the job quite well
Amman is the capital of Jordan and a little more then 2 million people live in this city, with a lot of immigrants from Pakistan and Iraq. This is where I got the feeling where Jordan is the little, spoiled brother of Egypt. Smaller, more efficient and more rich. There are less people in traditional clothing (in Amman) and the cars are from the same size as the USA. There were motorbikes that reminded me of Batman and definetely raised my intention to get my Bike license. Too bad only was that our hotel featured sauna and jacuzzi, but they are not open on Friday because it is the religious day off.
The next day we went off to the old Citadel (Jabal al-Qal’a) in Amman, and try to visit this if you can. Note that most touragencies will include this, according to the loads of white socks in slippers that also were here this morning. The view from the top of one of the mountains is mesmerizing. 360 degrees over the capital, authentic Arabic feel is what I would describe it like, as images like I know the Middle East in my mind. If not enough, we head further to the Dead Sea. A little more then 1 hour from Amman: the lowest point on Earth and one of the saltiest water lakes. Here men can float, even if you cannot swim, try to balance on your back and automatically you can drift (and dream) away. Haha, the taste is horrible so make sure you don’t drink too much! Cover yourself in mud to have the full experience and your skin will feel fresh and soft afterwards. The rest of the time you can spend hanging around the freshwater pools or in the restaurant (open buffet of course).
By ending lunch here, our program for the weekend also ended and we could start with our trip back to Cairo. First off to Aqaba, which is a nice small town where we had small amount of time for a juice, and then check-in on the boat. This time almost empty and where National Geographic shows on the tv’s available, the chairs leaning to the back.
Make sure your visas are legitimate when returning to Egypt, for most tourists this is however the case. From the port it is a small 6 hours to Cairo.
Arriving late at night, I managed to get some rest before going back to work on Sunday. With the smile of Jordan still on my face.