Wonderful 8 days of adventure in Jordan

Wonderful 8 days of adventure in Jordan

Day 1

The capital city of Amman. 24 hours in Jordan and I really liked it. It was refreshing to do a bit of different kind of travelling than in Nepal. And in a country so different. (I came to Jordan from Nepal where I had spent two weeks hiking in the Himalaya mountains.)

Amman doesn’t boast many tourist attractions but I liked the few. Nymphaeum, Roman theatre, Odeon Theatre, Abu Darvish Mosque, Rainbow Street, the Citadel with the Temple of Hercules and other structures, Kind Abdullah I Mosque. The Citadel offers great views of the capital.

And the locals. Very friendly. The previous night, after arriving at the Amman airport, I was going to take the airport express bus but I had no change. A man offered to buy a ticket for me. I eventually paid by a euro note. On my first day exploring, when I was walking towards one of the mosques, I heard a ‘Hello’. I turned around and saw a man looking at me from a window. He asked where I was from and I replied Slovakia. He said: Welcome to Jordan. In the evening another man greeted me from a car as he was passing by. With a smile on his face. And I was greeted and welcomed by a few more people. Even the cashiers at a local supermarket were super friendly and made me smile.

A smile can make a difference. What a lovely day.

A typical snack. Vegetarian and yummy!
Roman theatre (Amman)
Abu Darwish Mosque (Amman)
The view of the city from the Citadel
Amman Citadel

Day 2

The historical city of Madaba is a city of mosaics. There are a couple of places such as the Madaba Archaeological Park, Church of the Apostles or Shrine of the Beheading of Saint John the Baptist, where you can find small or large mosaics. The most popular, however, is the one in Basilica of St. George, also known as the Church of the Map. The name comes from a famous mosaic of the map of the Middle East. All the mosaics are are breathtaking.

So are the ones at the nearby Mount Nebo, the place where Moses saw the promised land. Mount Nebo offers great views of the Holy Land including the Dead Sea.

Graffiti with popular tourist sights in Jordan (Madaba)
A mosaic in the Madaba Archaeological Park
The view of Madaba
The mosaic map of the Middle East in the Basilica of St. George (Madaba)
The view from Mount Nebo
A mosaic in the Moses Memorial Church (Mount Nebo)

Day 3

It was quite an adventurous day. I wanted to go to the Dead Sea but there was no public transportation. And I’m not a traveler who is keen on taking taxis or going on a tour. What were my options then? Hitchhiking.

I started hitchhiking near Mount Nebo, 9 km from the town of Madaba where I had stayed. 20 minutes later a car stopped. It was full. The driver asked where I was going and so I replied. He said it was too far but he flagged down another car, talked to the driver in Arabic and arranged a ride for me for free. So I got a ride to the turn off 20 km away. I was going to hitchhike further and in the next car that stopped, there was the very same driver who had arranged the ride for me. I assumed he had been driving behind the car I was in. He said I needed to walk 4 km. The car started moving but then stopped and the driver made the people inside the car make room for me. He decided to give me a ride. Amazing. But I wasn’t sure if the people in the car liked it. They had rented a car with a driver who might also have been their guide.

He then asked where I was going and I said I was going to the Amman Beach. He said the entrance fee was 20 JOD (28 USD) and I said I knew. He than suggested that he call his friend from a hotel and arrange for me access to a beach for 25 JD including a buffet lunch, swimming pool, shower, towel. And so he did. And so I spent a nice time at a 4-star hotel and enjoyed floating in the Dead Sea. I couldn’t believe it. It was a great deal. I was so lucky.

Going away I hitched a ride with 3 others drivers one of whom was also a guide/hired driver. He was also super helpful.

After a mud bath at the Dead Sea
Dead Sea
Dead Sea
Dead Sea
Dead Sea

Day 4

In the morning I visited the castle in Karak. I can’t say I was impressed but the views were beautiful. I decided to go there as I had spent the night in the city and it was supposedly one of the highlights in Jordan.

I spent quite some travelling to the Dana Biosphere Reserve where I intended to do some hiking. I reached the place in the afternoon and even though I only had a few hours before it got dark I went for a hike.

It’s one of those hikes where you descend first and you need to climb up to get back. Unless you only go in one direction ending up at a different place. Since I was staying in Dana village I only hiked about two thirds of the trail and then went back. It was quite a nice hike in a wadi (canyon) with a river, which was almost dry.

But it was quite demanding, especially the ascent at the end.

The view from the Karak Castle
Karak castle and the old town
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve
Dana Biosphere Reserve

Day 6

I finally went to visit Petra, the single most popular place in Jordan. I was a bit worried it may be too touristic for my liking but it wasn’t that bad at all. And the place was phenomenal!!! I loved it. I only knew Petra from pictures and postcards and thought the Treasury (the most famous building) was all there was. I couldn’t have been more wrong. There is so much to see.

Beside the Treasure, there is the street of the facades (a large canyon lined with numerous tombs), a Roman Theatre, Byzantine Church, the Great Temple and also the Monastery, the second most amazing structure there.

There are perhaps 8 or 9 different trails than one can take to explore the entire complex. I’d say that two or three are the main ones. I walked along three trails completely and I took a fourth one to a viewpoint.

I highly recommend  you to visit Petra. It’s gorgeous.

The first glimpse of the Treasury (Petra)
The Treasury – the most famous facade of Petra
Monastery (Petra)
Monastery (Petra)
The rocky mountains around Petra
Royal Tombs – Palace Tomb (Petra)
Royal Tombs – Urn Tomb (Petra)
The Street of Facades (Petra)

Day 8

On the very last day in Jordan, I went to another historical city called Jerash. It’s known for the ruins of a Greco-Roman city of Gerasa.

There are a couple of structures which are worth seeing such as Hadrian’s Arch, Hippodrome, Oval Plaza, the Temple of Zeus, the Temple of Artemis and a few more.

Hadrian’s Arch (Jerash)
Oval Plaza – Forum (Jerash)
The Cardo Maximus – a collonaded street (Jerash)
North Theatre (Jerash)

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