Jordan, Middle East | A Country of Contrasts

Jordan- Jane & Lauren

by Jane Miller

All that I really knew about Jordan when I booked my trip was that it was home to the Lost City of Petra, which I’ve wanted to visit ever since watching the movie Indiana Jones as a teenager!  So I’m not really sure what I expected – but what I found certainly didn’t match the vague notions I had in my head. For a small country Jordan certainly packs a lot in!

We arrived at a modern and attractive airport to be collected by our Jordan guide in his comfortable people carrier. Driving towards down-town Amman, Jordan’s capital, the conversation subsided as we began to take in our fascinating surroundings. The landscape and architecture is quite different to anything else my travelling companions and I have seen before.

Amman - Jordan

Amman is built on a series of hills, buildings are jammed together to cover every inch of ground and they’re all constructed in the same square, flat roof style, using the same light coloured stone, giving the whole city a boxy, monochromatic appearance. Many of the buildings appeared either unfinished or damaged, with columns of structural metal rods protruding from the rooftops.  Our guide explained that this is because of the Muslim tradition of generations living together – the unfinished upper story is where the children build when they’re ready. Most of the cities and towns we visited in Jordan had this same pale, boxy, unfinished appearance.

Jerash | Jordan

Jerash - Jordan

Against this backdrop we discovered areas of incredible beauty.  Our first trip outside of Amman was to Jerash. The modern city of Jerash is true to the Jordan building code – however it is also home to the ruins of a Greco-Roman city, which are some of the most complete and impressive ruins I’ve visited anywhere in the world. Much of the long colonnaded main street and the forum remains intact. There are two large temples and an incredibly well preserved hippodrome. With the help of an expert local guide it wasn’t hard to imagine what life would have been like thousands of years ago in this amazingly sophisticated and beautiful place.

Wadi Rum - Jordan

Wadi Rum | Jordan

Dead Sea - JordanAfter a dip in the Dead Sea the following morning, we took the long drive to Jordan’s desert area of Wadi Rum. Again, I had little idea what to expect, and arriving at our desert camp in the dark of night didn’t enlighten me.  Waking early I was absolutely blown-away by the incredible beauty of the sun rising over desert rock formations surrounding the camp site. Following breakfast we climbed into the back of an open air 4WD to explore this fantastic landscape. The scale, shape and colours of the ancient rock formations, rising up from the sand for mile after mile are simply breathtaking.

The Lost City of Petra | Jordan

The next part of our journey across Jordan took us through starkly beautiful mountainous terrain to the magnificent Lost City of Petra. An early morning start meant we walked through the soaring Siq almost alone. Our delightful local guide pointed out the ancient engineering features and carvings as we made our way towards the awe-inspiring Treasury hewn into the rose-coloured sandstone cliff face.  Simply breathtaking!

Petra - Jordan

We continued through the Lost City, passing dozens of tombs and an enormous amphitheatre carved into the rock face, and running the gauntlet of Bedouin touts offering “genuine” artefacts and trinkets. Riding mules, we mounted the 800 steps to the Monastery, another massive façade carved into the mountain top rock face. We walked a little further to one of two viewpoints on the cliff tops to take in the incredible vistas and enjoy at cup of mint tea with the friendly Bedouin vendor who has made this his place of business.

We discover Jordan on the following Bunnik Tours:

Highlights of Egypt & Jordan
Egypt & Jordan in Depth
Egypt, Israel & Jordan

Alternatively, you can add it as an independent tour or extension:

Jewels of Jordan
A Glimpse of Petra

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