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Tag Archive: Jordan

3/2023 – Jordan

In 4th grade, Susan studied Egypt. Ever since that, the pyramids have been on the trip list and in January we booked a last minute trip on the Nile.  Since we would be in the neighborhood, we added the Uniworld pre-trip to Jordan. How much planning went into this? Not much!  Mark had never been on a group tour but he agreed to give it a try.

United made this whole trip easier by adding a direct flight to Amman from DC.  After we arrived in Amman, Uniworld took care of the details and we just followed directions.  They even met us before passport control and took care of the Visa on Arrival.

After arriving 3 days before the tour officially started, we booked our own day tour of Amman.  The city was pretty quiet during the day (relatively) because Ramadan started the day before we flew in.  The Arab food at the Iftar buffet (meal eaten after sunset during Ramadan) in the hotel was yummy and the staff pointed out the special iftar desserts we had to try!

Olives for sale in one of the Amman markets
Citadel. We had a retired Jordanian military officer as a guide. He asked if we are British before telling us how the Brits screwed up the Middle East after WWI.
View of Amman and the Roman Theater from the Citadel
Mark and Susan at the Roman Theater in Amman

John O. and Sue H. , friends from Fort Collins, joined us in Amman the day before the Jordan trip started. To give you some perspective, the tour itinerary went like this (and not the order we would have done it):

  • Amman – Jerash – Dead Sea – back to Amman
  • Amman – Petra (THE highlight of Jordan) – Wadi Rum
  • Wadi Rum – Aqaba
  • Aqaba – Madaba – Amman

Hadrian’s Gate at Jerash. Every time Hadrian visited a town, it seems they built him a gate.
The Dead Sea is at the bottom of these steps. If you look really hard, you can see Mark and John on the sand before they got in it and floated around. Sue and Susan retreated from the sun!

The Jordan tour group only had 12 people in it and we were 4 of them. Another 2 couples were fun and easy to deal with. Another 4 came from Nebraska. Let’s just say we didn’t want to have beers with 2 of them in the evening. Every group trip has “one of those” and our’s was Norm from Nebraska.  The day we left Amman for 2 nights, Norm left his passport in the bathroom of his hotel room. WHY do you even have your passport in the bathroom?   Who knows!  Fortunately, the hotel found it and held it until we returned to the hotel 2 days later.   Off to Petra!

We spent 4 hours there and 4 DAYS would be better. The site is huge – the Treasury, a monastery after you climb 800 steps (no time for that), Royal Tombs (only saw them from a distance), an amphitheater, camels, other ruins. This is definitely on our list to come back to.

After a 1.3 km walk to the bottom of the Siq, the Treasury appears at Petra.
Mark, along with the camels, vendors, and other tourists, in front of the Treasury. Yes, you saw the Treasury in an Indiana Jones movie.
Camels are everywhere! These 2 were along one of the roads we took to Wadi Rum.
Glamping in the desert. The tents came with flush toilets and showers.
View from our bed in the tent
Starry, starry night! The stars would be better with a smaller moon. It was too bright to see many stars.

Our last day was a drive from Aqaba to Madaba to Mt. Nebo to Amman. The highlight was lunch in Madaba where we FINALLY had upside down chicken … chicken and rice and veggies and lots of spices cooked in a big pan (wok size) and flipped upside down to serve it. It was the best food of the whole trip!

Upside down chicken!
Mosaic floor at the Franciscan Church on Mt. Nebo. And before anyone asks, we had NO idea what Mt. Nebo is famous for. We had to Google it to discover that this is where Moses stood to see the Promised Land before he died. If this is wrong, talk to Google.

We were exhausted by the time we arrived back to the hotel in Amman and checked in again. Norm got his passport back! The four of us headed to the bar for a beer and a sandwich for dinner.

It’s a small craft beer world. The only craft beer made in Jordan is from a brewery started by a Jordanian guy who went to grad school at U of Colorado in Boulder. He learned about craft beer there and decided to start a brewery in Jordan.  Pretty good beer.

Jordanian Craft beer with a Colorado connction

That finished the Jordan trip. Mark and Susan loved Jordan … nice people, great food, safe country and cities. We walked to find the laundromat one day in Amman and several people pointed us in the correct direction. When one dryer didn’t work after we inserted our coins and we used another one, the owner dropped off the equivalent of $4 for us back at the hotel after he finished work.

We brushed up on geography lessons in Jordan, too. Aqaba, Jordan, is on the Red Sea – about 1km. from Israel, 10 km. from Saudi, shares other borders with Syria and Iraq. They describe themselves as “a nice country in a bad neighborhood.”

May 2017 Planning Update

Thank heavens for Excel spreadsheets!  I use them to keep track of where we’ll be every day, where we’re staying, flights, trains, etc.  Another spreadsheet is tracking costs and what we have left to book. I even have a worksheet to calculate how many days we need to take anti-malaria meds.

The spreadsheet is getting longer and details are added by the week.  We have most of the long haul flights organized and have organized a tour in Jordan for 8 days – seeing Jerash and Petra, the Red Sea and the Dead Sea.

The latest detail is setting up a tour in India.  We’ve decided to use Audley Travel with a driver and tour guides in each city.  We’ve been working with Byrn Woodworth at Audley Travel   and she’s been great, so far.  She gave us “homework” to do – check out hotels, make a list of cities we want to see and what we want to see in each city.  Bryn took that information and came up with an itinerary along with 3 or 4 hotels in each city for us to consider.  The tour includes driver between cities and private guides in each city along with admissions and hotels with breakfasts.  Dinners and lunches are on our own.  After some more research on our part, we’ve made that reservation!

Now it’s time to start filling in the blanks – trains, a few hotels, short flights.

Today was pretty frustrating when I tried to book 2 seats on the Indian Pacific train from Perth to Sydney on the Great Southern Railways website .  I made it through the booking process but when I clicked on “Payment”, the website just sat and stared at me for 5 minutes (Yes, I timed it.) with the little message “Payment Processing”.  Finally, I checked my credit card website and, sure enough, they’d approved the transaction.  No booking number appeared, no email showed up with a booking number and I couldn’t log on to an account, even though I’d attempted to set one up.  I couldn’t even get Great Southern to reset my password.  Their site SAID they were sending me an email so I could set a new PW but that email never showed up.

I sent Great Southern Sales and Booking an email. The autoreply announced they are experiencing a greater than expected number of emails and to just hang on and wait for a reply. Wonder why??  Now, I’m sitting on hold with Great Southern trying to get this figured out.  Thanks heavens for Skype!

5/22/Update – Great Southern was really helpful after I got through the hold – a mere 15 minutes.  The booking is done – yeah! Now we have to figure out the rest of the time in Australia!

Let’s add Jordan to the itinerary.

An interesting story about Jordan on 60 Minutes gave us an idea to make a stop in Jordan for a few days to see Petra and the Dead Sea.  It would be prudent to check with the U.S. and U.K. governments for any travel advisories – travel to Jordan is a go!  The CTP (chief travel planner) looked for some tours in Jordan so now it’s a matter of choosing a good one.  Another task added to the “to do” list. Now the itinerary has grown to Rwanda … Cape Town … Seychelles … Dubai … Amman … and back to Europe.

Lonely Planet books  became our go-to travel sources ever since we found them when we lived in Australia and discovered that they include laundromat locations!  Finding a place to do the laundry is VERY important!  Now the books are offered in e-versions and, when LP has a sale, I stock up on e-versions of the books. I can always print out a few pages to take along and I don’t have to lug the whole book in my backpack.  Today, I added a book about Jordan and another one about the Arab Peninsula.  Does this mean we’re REALLY adding those countries to our plan?