I hate doing these ‘nutshell’ entries because it’s a sure sign that I’ve been too busy to journal. I much prefer a more relaxed pace in which I can write freely when I have the notion. But what’s to be done when there is so much to see in so little time?
Without further ado, I will share what we’ve been up to in Jordan by site, since we’ve been seeing lots of them:
Wadi Rum – We went on a jeep safari through Wadi Rum, which is easily some of the most dramatic desert landscape I’ve ever seen. The rock is primarily sandstone above ground, which means that over time, the elements have shaped it into beautiful and interesting forms. Some of the rock looks as though it is melting in desert sun. I would have liked more time here to trek, but alas! It will have to wait for another time. Petra calls…
Petra – This site, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, is the highlight of any visit to this beautiful country. Petra is an exquisite example of the wonder that both nature and nurture can produce. Nature produced the multicolored sandstone that contains a full spectrum of reds and browns swirling together in unique patterns. Combine this with centuries of wind and rain, and the result is a unique blend of gentle curves and jagged angles that make every foot of rock as unique as a fingerprint.
Add to this the nurturing and skill of the Nabataeans, an ancient Bedouin tribe that dates back to 647 BC and who gave up their nomadic ways when they saw the benefit of developing the valley floor into a city where trade could be conducted. Their city of classical facades and more tribal cave dwellings, which is well-hidden in a valley of rock, is a study in contrasts and an experience nothing short of mystical.
Kerak and the Dead Sea – after seeing castle Kerak, which is a Crusader castle that sits atop a hill overlooking the King’s Highway, we visited the Dead Sea, which is the lowest point on earth at 1312 ft below sea level. While most seawater is about 3 to 4 percent salt, the Dead Sea is a whopping 30% salt, which makes the water so dense and buoyant that you float without any effort. I took a quick float in the salty waters while Krystal and Brendan waded in (the high saline content can sting if you have sensitive skin or cuts, so that ruled them out of the floating experience).
Mt. Nebo – As described in the Book of Deuteronomy, Mt. Nebo is the mountain upon which Moses stood as god showed him the Promised Land below. Moses is said to have died on the mountain, but there is disagreement on where his body was buried—the Christians and Jews believe it was on Mt. Nebo, while the Muslims believe it was in a tomb across the River Jordan. Regardless, they all seem to agree that this is a holy place as believers of all three religions come here to glimpse a bit of what Moses saw thousands of years ago.
Jerash – Jerash is north of Amman and the site of one of the best-preserved Roman cities that you can find in the Middle East. It is mentioned often in the Old Testament and was founded in about 170 BC, but archaeological finds indicate that the area was settled as early as 1600 BC.
I am in Amman at the moment cooling my heels before I make the journey home. I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve seen while I’ve been here…my only regret is that I didn’t have more time in this country to see more of Wadi Rum and do more hiking in Petra. Perhaps another time.