I am a nomad, a wanderer getting lost in alleyways and hidden tracks, craving full moon and skies full of stars. My soul carefully listens decrypting the calls of its mates. My wings long to be stretched and drenched by other foreign sunsets and sunrises.
I am an explorer never satisfied by a sedentary life. I travel, not only to find the beauty where I go, but to carry it with me. As Henry Miller says:“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
Summer was quickly slipping out of my grasping hands, and my passion for discovery was urging me for a new adventure. Luckily I had a business trip to Jordan, so I decided to spice it up with some Exploring time. I had no expectations at all and that was the key to a very pleasant surprise! All I knew was I did not need a visa, so that reduced the stressful preparation of any trip. Plus it is an hour away from Beirut!
Jordan, this ancient land bearing the traces of many civilizations, is famous for many of its historical sites.
I was highly interested to pass the weekend exploring:
- Petra, the famed red stone city capital of the Nabatean kingdom
- Wadi Rum, the valley of the moon, a timeless place, best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab revolt.
- And lastly the unbeatable relaxing destination: the Dead Sea; Earth’s lowest elevation on land and the home of no living creature due to its high salinity (8.6 times saltier than the ocean), yet it has so many health benefits due to the high mineral content of the water and the mud
Lacking the time to organize the trip, I contacted Rida agency through a friend of mine. Hanan from the agency was assisting me to plan the trip.
The first part of the trip was from Monday to Thursday with long office hours in Amman.
Where to stay:
The Boulevard, Rotana. Lovely service and area, I stayed in the 3rd tower where Café Italia is located. The staff is so helpful and they make sure the stay is enjoyable. I was impressed by the quality of the breakfast buffet too which pleases all palates. I definitely recommend this hotel and its location is very practical.
What to do:
I did not have much time to explore the touristic sites of the city, however, my friend ensured I have the best time ever! For the first time ever, I enjoyed Latin dance in many venues in the city; such a unique experience! I even participated in a party in an international school of dance, beat that!
What to eat:
Another area that fascinated me in Amman was the foodie scene. The restaurants have mastered the plates they are offering and I am talking about international dishes. I highly recommend the restaurants I tried (reviews in the links):
- Cloud rooftop in the Boulevard area
- An authentic brunch of falafel, foul and hummus prepared by my colleague!
On Friday morning, my loveliest driver Osama picked me up to start our journey: the first destination was Petra city. Around 3 hours drive from Amman. Upon arrival, I purchased the tickets 50 JD including 1hr and half guide and horse ride. Expect to be surprised by the impeccable English of the horse riders who will even take your photo with their pride horses: mine were Monica and Tornado! My guide was a Jordanian Italian PhD student in the field of sociology and effect of travel on people. We had an interesting conversation during the tour too! Petra is a must see indeed.
I was aiming to reach Wadi Rum by sunset to enjoy it fully. I managed somehow to detach myself from the charm of Petra and left it by 4:00 pm to reach there around 5:30.
I had booked a jeep tour with Khaled. Another amazing knowledgeable person I was lucky to meet in Jordan. He showed me around, took the best photos ever and informed me about the history of the place.
He dropped me after that to Captain Camp where I was spending the night. You can check my full review.
The stay was enjoyable with a friendly service, a tasty dinner: the traditional zarb is not to be missed! However, though I was warned with dropping temperature at night, the sleep quality was not top due to the heat inside the tent; and with the small unique window, it would have been better if they installed ventilators in each one. I noted that one of the group tents had an AC in it, so why not the others too! I made sure also to wake up earliest possible to catch the sunrise: another captivating moment in the desert that is totally worth the few sleeping hours! As I explained in the review, they should re-think the breakfast to introduce other authentic dishes.
And what a better way to end my trip than tanning under the burning sun and enjoying a mud bath along the Dead “bringing me to life” Sea! A four hours drive passing through Aqaba all the way up to the Jordan Valley. I chose to stay in Marriott resort (full review in the link).
I reached there around noon time, after checking in and enjoying a light bite in Il terrazzo restaurant, it was finally time to soak in the sun and enjoy the wide three pools available at the resort.
A stroll down the beach area where jars of mud are available for “pamper yourself” time was a must, and then let the charm of effortless floating, natural healing and de-stressful time take you away!
A cliché yet needed moment of another beach remarkable sunset was also on the list! My last day started with an early rise for not so phenomenal sunrise followed by a tasty breakfast from the wide buffet offered in the resort, and rewind repeat the tan and mud bath-floating sequel to profit from the last hours in the best way possible!
And so, with heart, mind and eyes filled with beautiful sceneries, memories and encounters, it was time to say Bye bye Jordan and hello Beirut!
“Stuff your eyes with wonder, live as if you’d drop dead in ten seconds. See the world. It’s more fantastic than any dream made or paid for in factories.” – Ray Bradbury