Jordan, travel

Mars on Earth

Wadi Rum is Earth’s Mars! Even Hollywood thinks Wadi Rum is the closest to what we believe Mars would look like as the film “The Martian”, was filmed with it as their backdrop. Apparently so was the last Transformers movie, except I don’t really recall.

 We travelled through the desert on the back of a pick up truck, not the safest way to travel admittedly, but pretty common in the area. What was added on to the truck for tourists was some cushioned benches and an optional cloth to cover the open roof. No seat belts of course.

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Jordan, travel

Public Beach at Aqaba

I wish our tour allowed us to stay longer in Aqaba, because the beach was gorgeous. We only had a half day there so unfortunately we did not get to do very much except take a quick peek at their local public beach.

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Something unique about beaches in Jordan is that there is a large distinction of ownership. The beach is basically divided up between various hotels Рand to access the beach you would need to be a guest at the hotel or pay some sort of entrance fee.  We had a similar experience to visit the Dead Sea where we paid to enter a private beach.

Given our short time in Aqaba, our tour guide only brought us to the (free) public beach. Which is I’m sure just as gorgeous as anywhere else along the shoreline. However, the main flaw with this activity in our itinerary was our Aqaba visit happened to fall on a Friday, which is the main weekend day off for locals – and as such the beach was packed. Continue reading

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Jordan, travel

Jordan – Petra

The “Lost City” of Petra. One of the Modern 7 Wonders of the World, featured famously in Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. ¬†I have to shamefully admit that I did not even know about Petra until I was researching up on what there was to do in Jordan when contemplating whether or not I wanted to travel there. Considering I went to one Wonder of the World last year (Machu Pichcu), it made perfect sense to visit another this year!

Petra was the main highlight of our trip to Jordan and we got one full day there. Continue reading

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events, Jordan, travel

Jordan – Mount Nebo and Petra by Night

Tour wise, this 3rd day of our trip was, hate to say it, but the most boring itinerary wise. Especially since we are not very biblical or knowledgeable in that aspect.

Our morning started off with a visit to Madaba, a city famous for it’s mosaic art, especially for the Madaba Map which dates back to the 6th century and has been preserved ¬†inside the Church of Saint George. Continue reading

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friends, Jordan, travel

Jordan – Desert Castles and Dead Sea

Day 2 of our tour was extended to a full day with the addition of visits to 3 different desert castles, free of charge! We aren’t quite sure as to why but, we won’t complain.

  1. Qasr Amra ¬†(Amra Palace) – one of the best well known desert castles in modern day Jordan as it depicts an early example of Islamic art and architecture. Only the foundation of ¬†the castle complex remains and a small cabin which was meant for a retreat house. ¬†Amra Palace is particularly famous for its well kept frescoes (mural painting technique) all alongside the interior walls of the building. Most of the art shows hunting, biblical figures, dancing and some nudity ….which makes the building sound very questionable given it also has a large bathouse, haha. 

  2. Qasr Al-Azraq (Azraq Castle) – known as the Blue Fortress as it used to hold a lot of water which was then transported to other cities for¬†use. It’s strategic value was due to its location by an oasis which was the only permanent water source in the desert area. The basalt used to construct the castle reminded me of medieval ¬†European castles more than what I would have imagined in the Middle East. 

  3. Qasr Al-Kharanah (Alharana Palace) – whether this building is really a “castle” per se or not is unclear as it does not appear to have been¬†used for military purposes. There are no slits in the walls for arrow / boulder attacks against intruders. It’s location is also not close to any body of water to make it very useful as a resting spot for travelers. However it is remained intact extremely well and we were able to walk around and through the floors of the castle. The layout of the castle is perfectly symmetrical. 

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Jordan, travel

Jordan – Jerash & Ajloun Castle

Back in January, Alicia and I spontaneously bought a flight deal from Toronto to Dubai for 2 weeks and decided to choose another country to go to for 1 week within that time from Dubai. The country we chose in the end was Jordan. I was a bit worried about the safety and travelling around on our own, so we opted for a tour. We chose a 6 day tour through Viator (which was operated by Zaid Travels).¬† In summary, the tour really did bring us to most of what there was to do and see in Jordan and we ended up getting some additional activities added on to the itinerary too. The only thing that was not so great about this tour was 1) We got put into a bilingual tour probably due to low popularity of the tour itself…and our guide was more so a Spanish guide than English one.¬† 2) Lunch was not included but the tour would bring us to places to eat…however they were either always lunch buffets or on our last day a “home cooked” meal…which all of them always costed 12 JOD, which is like near 24 CAD!!!! That was a huge gripe for us.¬†¬† Overall I would still recommend it if you are interested in visiting and touring Jordan and want a guide or trip organizer as they planned everything out. You can always request specifically and English guide and pack your own lunch to omit my issues.

Our tour originally consisted of only 6 travelers, us 2 and¬†4 Mexican aunties. Later on for Petra and Wadi Rum, another 2 Spanish uncles¬†joined us too. Unfortunately due to language barrier we couldn’t befriend them that easily.

First day we went to Jerash to view its ancient ruins – which is one of the most well preserved Roman ruins in the world. Continue reading

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