Barely landed after the flight from Dallas, and the next morning already flight to Amman. But this time not as a steward but as a passenger! So there’s no time to lose. Quick packing bags, the last check on the weather and fly! Adventure, here I come!
In front of me the whole four days to visit the oasis of calmness in the ocean of storms and unrest. Jordan, almost continuously, from the moment it gained independence in 1946, is characterized by relative stability in contrast to other countries in the Middle East.
Due to the fact that only 5% of the land is suitable for the cultivation of the land, and there’s not many resources like gas, oil, minerals, therefore tourism it’s a large part of this young state budget. And being there you can experience it in your pocket in every corner of the country. Jordan, to put it mildly, doesn’t belong to the cheapest tourist destinations. But as you’ll see later in the post, each spent dinar was worth it.
By rented car, I drove towards the south to Wadi Rum, one of the most beautiful deserts in the world. Her roving red sands, limited only by picturesque rocks, reminded me that it just might look like Mars.
Apparently, a similar observation had a few Hollywood directors. This place several times served as a scenography for films whose action takes place on Mars – The Red Planet from 2000. Whether this year’s Oscar candidate – The Martian with Matt Damon.
To the Bedouin village I reached just before the sundown. Dinner by the campfire I shared with an American girl, couple from Belgium and the Mexican – German married couple, in which the Mexican volcano of energy plus the German mercenary, turned out to be a great combination, which I had to convince even further in my journey :)
The next day, after a night spent under 4 thick blankets (in February, at night the temperature drops close to 0 degrees Celsius), together with my guide Mohammed and his hoary Toyota Land Cruiser, we started to explore the valley (Wadi in Arabic means more or less – valley).
Amazing landscapes contrasting with a perfectly blue sky, I admired from the perspective of the jeep, dunes or rocks I climbed on. And all this completely without any people! Literally nobody! :)
Perhaps only occasionally sometimes a camel appeared…
In the footsteps of Indiana Jones
Sundown came and it was time to say goodbye to Wadi Rum and the Bedouins, who hosted me and head northwest. In the direction of one of the New 7 Wonders of the World – to the famous Petra!
Still drunk with excitement after the amazing experiences on the Jordanian desert, already was waiting for me exploration of the former capital of the ancient people of the Nabateans. “Fortunately,” to sober up helped me a night in the cheapest hotel in the city, where the lack of hot water was also accompanied by… lack of heating.
Low temperatures, however, have a great advantage. Usually accompanied by period called “off-season”, which is characterized by a very small number of tourists and therefore I had Petra mostly for myself :)
The gold age of this ancient metropolis took place yet before our era. Then came in the possession of the Romans, and later the Arabs. After it was forgotten for several centuries. This state lasted until 1812. When the Swiss Johann Ludwig Burckhardt (traveler and explorer of the Arab world), being at that time nearby Petra heard the rumors about the remains of the ancient city not far from his present location.
Excited about the possibility of re-discovery of the famous Petra, persuaded his Bedouin guide that he’d like to sacrifice a goat at the tomb of Aaron, brother of Moses, which he knew that is close to Petra. Guide believed and so sneaky Swiss rediscovered for the western world famous Petra.
Fortunately, I didn’t have to use such a tricks to reach there. I just had to buy a ticket for about 70 $… but the money in that case didn’t play a role. To reach the city I had to walk through approx. 1.5 km long narrow gorge. Already during this journey, I was all excited.
But what emerged after some 20 minutes of walking, made me want to just jump high from joy :) What I’ve seen from a childhood on the movies of Indiana Jones, who was penetrating Petra in search of the Holy Grail, in National Geographic magazines, or in countless documentary films now appeared just in front of me!
View of the most famous building – Al-Chazna (treasury) I was contemplating from up and down, before emergence in full sun and at the sundown :)
But Petra isn’t just Al-Chazna. The city amazes not only with its architecture (that draws patterns from the Greeks and Romans), but also by its size. To traverse the length and breadth, you need whole day.
In addition to the countless tombs, I had the opportunity to admire the theater that could accommodate at the time of its heyday nearly 10 thousand spectators!
Even bigger than the famous Treasury is Ad-Deir (Monastery), to which leads 30-40 minute trail. If you ever come to traverse it, please, never use services of scams offering you transportation on donkey, horses or camels. It was really bad to see how these animals are treated…
With the architectural skills of the Nabataeans and its original colors, of which took care the mother nature, Petra definitely deservedly holds the title of one of the New 7 Wonders of the World (established in 2007). To tick remained just the Great Wall of China, Statue of Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Taj Mahal, and the pyramid of Chichen Itza in Mexico :)
Cruel Templar and traces of Christianity
Jordan, like other countries in the region at the turn of the X and XI century was the theater of wars of the Crusaders against Muslims, who conquered those lands within the crusades.
I went to one of the most impressive castles that remained after those days – Kerak. The most famous lord of the castle – a Frenchman of the Knights Templar – Reynald of Chatillon, in addition to robbing caravans and Muslim pilgrimages, was famous for its creative cruelty.
Before dropping his prisoners from the walls of the castle with a height of approx. 500 m, he was ordering to lock their heads in the wooden cages that during the flight, they wouldn’t accidentally lost consciousness before hitting the rocks.
Definitely calmer looks town of Madaba, where the Church of St. George hides the oldest known mosaic map in the history of art. It dates back to the VI century AD. It depicts the Holy Land with the specific location of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, the delta of the Nile and Jordan.
Together with Eva from Germany and Caesar from Mexico, I mentioned above, we also went to the Mount Nebo, from which Moses saw the Promised Land for the first time. In 2000 mountain visited Pope John Paul II. In remembrance of that visit he planted an olive tree that’s there till today.
Alone does not mean lonely
By going on this trip, I hadn’t have the slightest doubt about the destination. Jordan long time was on my bucket list. What puzzled me was the fact that I was going there alone. In my mind were thoughts that maybe alone will be a bid sad or bored in the evenings.
However, none of these things! Travelling is always an opportunity to meet interesting people, equally eager to get know the world. And so it happened this time! Surely I now had someone to visit while in New York, Munich or in Brussels :)
Therefore, if ever any place in the world will attract you, never give up to visit it just because there’s nobody there. Believe me, there’s always somebody!
Video from the trip you can see here: