Jordan Trip Recap

Trip Start Oct 24, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Sunday, April 7, 2013

After two months back at school, both the teachers and the kids at our school were more than ready for a holiday, so we were thrilled to get our itchy feet on a plane bound for Jordan very early on April 7th. We had a mere week for our semester break to explore the best it had to offer -- and, while it is a comparatively small country, there was more than we could reasonably cover in the time we had. So, as always, we had to pick and choose and hoped that we weren't excluding anything major from our itinerary.

What follows is a short summary of how we spent our time buzzing around the country; as usual, pictures and more details will follow (someday, somehow).

Sunday, April 7th - Aqaba:
We'd found such amazingly cheap flights to Aqaba that our original plan was to base ourselves there and spend the bulk of the week on the beach with a few day trips thrown in to the must-sees. However, over time our itinerary evolved, and Aqaba became a minor stop along the way: in the end we just spent our first and last days in the city (which, as it turned out, was plenty).

Aqaba occupies the country's only strip of land on the Red Sea -- and the only sliver that keeps it from being landlocked. As such, its main attraction is the beach, and that's where we spent all of our time while in the city. 

Monday, April 8th - Wadi Rum:
Wadi Rum is a beautiful desert valley in southern Jordan made forever famous by T.E. Lawrence (aka: Lawrence of Arabia), who used it as a base for his operations during the Arab Revolt. We booked ourselves onto a tour of sorts through Wadi Rum that found us riding camels, touring sand dunes by Jeep, sand sledding, and hiking through desert canyons, then capped it off with a night in a Bedouin camp.

Tuesday, April 9th and Wednesday, April 10th - Petra:
We left Wadi Rum on Tuesday morning and drove the King's Highway to Petra, the country's biggest tourist attraction featured at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. We gave ourselves two half days to explore the incredible ruins, including both one late evening and one early morning, which turned out to be the best times to visit and avoid the crowds.

Wednesday, April 10th and Thursday, April 11th - Wadi Mujib and the Dead Sea:
After hiking the ruins of Petra on Wednesday morning, we drove north to the Dead Sea, near the Israeli border. We met up with Darren and Stephanie there, two old pals from our Vietnam days, and did one of the coolest things we've ever done: a hike/scramble through a river gorge. The hike was phenomenal, and the day only improved from there as we crossed the road to hop in the Dead Sea and bob in the salty water.

Thursday, April 11th and Friday, April 12th - Amman and Jerash:
Once we'd had our fill of salty seawater, we drove further north to the capital city, Amman. We spent two nights in Amman with Darren and Stephanie, and were even able to meet up with our Jordanian friend Lina -- another friend from our time in Hanoi -- who only happened to be back in the country for a day and a half. While in Amman, we also took advantage of our proximity to some well-preserved Greco-Roman ruins and made a short jaunt out of the city to check them and the town of Jerash out. 

Saturday, April 13th - Aqaba:
Saturday was our last day in Jordan, so our travels took us south along the Dead Sea highway, back to the city of Aqaba for one final day on the beach. 

As I said above, we didn't expect to get up to much in Jordan when we first booked the tickets, but it became clear that the little country had a lot to offer, and we're really glad we took the route that we did. In fact, I wish we'd had a few more days to explore the crusader castles and the northeast of the country -- or perhaps it's best we didn't have time so we have a reason to go back to lovely Jordan!
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