The Jordanian Wanderers

28th Nov 2019

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience like travel can never go back to its old dimensions.”

How true the above line is. And my mind always longs for places which are unexplored by the masses. This time I had my eyes set on the mystery called “Jordan”. Some of you, may immediately think “Jordan? Desert? Why not Europe?”

Europe is definitely extremely beautiful, but after taking a trip to Jordan I realized that this small gem hidden in the Middle East is so underestimated.

We were travelling in early December, which meant the weather would be chilly but tolerable. This time around, we were accompanied by my husband’s college friend and her husband, and I must add here, that unexpectedly we got along like house on fire with the same wavelengths and striking the right chords all throughout. Indeed the people you travel with, determine how your trip will go, and we were blessed again!

We were to fly in and out of Amman, which means we were travelling from the North of Jordan to the south and then back again to Amman through the coast.

Firstly let me start by telling you that Jordan is an extremely safe country, in spite of being locked in a high risk zone. Secondly, to save some bucks, please buy the Jordan Pass, if you are planning to visit Petra and attractions in Jordan, this might be a great way to save up. The main draw of this pass is that your tourist visa fee (which costs 40 JOD) is also waived if you’ve purchased the pass before arrival to Jordan and staying for at least 4 days in the country.

We landed in Amman on day 1 in the morning, and instantly headed towards our rental car. Like always we opted for self-drive, with a Nissan patrol, which my husband really admired and loved to drive.

We scouted some good places to eat, and since we were a bunch of starving & tired vegetarians, we found a great restaurant by the name “Tandoori Oven” in one of the plush areas of Amman. After eating to our hearts content, we started our drive to Petra – the rose city, which was a total of 3 hour drive.

The drives in Jordan were particularly outstanding, with splendid views of mountains spread across your highway, and the setting sun forming the perfect backdrop.

We reached our hotel “Edom” in Petra, which was just 800 mt away from the entrance gate of Petra. It was a nice, cozy hotel to spend the night, and we realized winter was welcoming us as we instantly took out our woolens!

Our dinner was at “The Cave Bar”, a mere walking distance from our hotel. As the name suggests, this hotel was actually a cave back in olden times, and the management decided to preserve its setup, thankfully. We loved the ambience, but since we were tired, we retired early to be all fresh for our Petra expedition the next morning.

I was particularly excited for Petra, because me and my husband have a pact to see all the wonders of the world, and this was our 3rd together!

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 1/8 by Manasi Shende

The Nabatean ancient city Petra has become the ultimate symbol of Jordan, and it’s really no surprise why – everything there was majestic. It looked like I was in a set of an Indiana Jones movie! Well, actually, I wasn’t too far off – Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade WAS filmed here! As we walked, I made a note to myself to read the famous book ‘Married to a Bedouin” once I was back home.

The main attraction in Petra is the Treasury. To get here, you first walk the 1.2km long Siq, a narrow gorge that serves as the entrance to Petra. I was brimming with anticipation, and at about 20 minutes in I started to wonder if we were ever going to get there.

But my friends surely knew how to keep that excitement levels up! As soon as the Siq ends, the reveal of The Treasury at the end of the Siq was magical! We must have walked more than 10 km in Petra, but it was magical, and we got a great number of pictures perched on the mountains!

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 2/8 by Manasi Shende
Treasury at Petra

After grabbing a quick bite at a small café “ Pizza House”, we embarked on our next journey which was to experience the “Martian life”! Due to the extreme terrain that makes it look extraterrestrial, it was chosen to be the set for movies like The Martian and Lawrence of Arabia.

Wadi Rum, a UNESCO World Heritage area with miles of stunning golden rock and sand stretching for miles in every direction, makes a picturesque landscape indeed. We followed our camp guide “Uday” to our desert camp site “Wadi Rum Night Luxury Camp”. We were staying in bubble tents, which offer a panoramic view of the stars because of their transparent built up.

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 3/8 by Manasi Shende
Stay at Bubble Tents in Wadi Rum

We were taken on a quick drive to watch sunset by Uday, racing his way on red dunes, and chasing the sunset. At the sunset point, Uday, an Arab Bedoiun, told us to have fun while he wanted to click our pictures on our phones. We started posing, and that is when Uday said “It seems you kids have forgotten the idea of fun, follow me.” He removed his shoes, and ran in full speed up on the red sand dunes, and urged us to do the same. Surprised by his command over us, we followed, and the 4 of us realized that somewhere in growing up in a civilized manner in the city, we had forgotten the beautiful mess called “childhood” which brings real happiness. That moment of us running on the cold sand, not caring about the marks on our clothes, racing to see who finishes first, will always remain in my memory. With this, Uday, a Bedoiun won our hearts!

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 4/8 by Manasi Shende

We returned back to our tents when the sun set at 4:30 pm, and lounged around settled on bean bags, having hot noodles. That night was one of the most beautiful nights, for we had zero network in our phones, which meant we were socially cut off. The 4 of us star gazed and talked about everything under the sky, quite literally. After a few engaging conversations, I was all praises for my extremely well read (almost on every matter on this planet, not kidding) friend Anuj. Not only him I also felt a new found respect for my friend Aditi particularly, who is a perfect example of a self-made, independent, hard working woman who also knows how to really live her life. Quickly I thanked my stars for putting such beautiful & positive people in our lives.

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 5/8 by Manasi Shende
My Blanket of stars!

As I closed my eyes, I had a smile on my face because I had always dreamt of sleeping under the stars, and my dream finally came true.

The next morning, we took off to our next stay – the Magic called DEAD SEA. You cannot visit Jordan without dipping yourself in The Dead Sea. This sea, by definition, is the lowest point on the earth, and because of the high salt content in it, it makes anyone impossible to sink. The feeling of floating on the ocean was a strange feeling, but great! You probably won’t be staying in the water too long, since the water is extremely salty. For me, I found that my skin started getting tingly and itchy after about 5 minutes.

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 6/8 by Manasi Shende

Our hotel Ramada offered us a comfortable, lazy stay and we enjoyed every bit of the Dead Sea views from our balconies. I would highly recommend “Ashur Pizza & Grill”, Kempinski, for a quiet dinner if you ever visit Dead Sea.

It was already day 5, and with a quick trip to Mount Nebo, (if you are lucky to have a clear sky, you can see Israel, Jerusalem from here) we headed to Amman. We made a pit stop to shop for the very famous Dead Sea products which were mainly salt masks, scrubs, and mud packs with healing properties.

We headed to Amman, which was a 2 hour drive only, and as always, chased the sunset view from atop the Amman Citadel. What will particularly stay with me from this place, was the Islamic prayer one can hear from the hill top, all at once, as if the entire city is praying together, the setting sun, birds flying back to their nests, and the sound of the chill wind gushing across the air as if it is trying to speak in our ears, What a beauty. We enjoyed our last cup of coffee in Amman relishing that view, and headed back to the city.

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 7/8 by Manasi Shende

We spent our last evening, walking around the streets. Amman had a lot of flea markets, and we could see how hard working the people were. We crossed over to the famous “Rainbow street” - a beautifully decorated street with a hub for cafés, boutique shop and restaurants with some great people-watching.

Photo of The Jordanian Wanderers 8/8 by Manasi Shende

The next morning, after our last breakfast in Jordan, we left for our home, Dubai. We strangely felt so connected to Jordan, and a part of us was sad to leave this gem.

World-class archaeological sites, spectacular desert scenery, friendly people, delicious food and guaranteed best climate – there are plenty of reasons to visit Jordan. Jordan will offer everything to everyone’s taste, and that is the beauty of this supremely adjusting, loving country. Take a trip guys, before this country starts losing its charm.

PS – Jordan, I love you!