Crossing the Red Sea to Jordan, exploring Petra like Indiana Jones, Madaba, floating in the Dead Sea and chilling out in Amman.
We took a ferry from Nuweiba in Egypt accross the Red Sea to Aqaba. Although the journey is less than 20 miles the ordeal took us most of the day and left us very confused. We decided to spend a couple of nights in a hot hot sea side town of Aqaba. This town is on the Red Sea and Jordan River and you can see Isreal and Egypt from the beach. It is also Jordans second biggest town and there is a lot of domestic tourisim. As it was the end of the Eid ul-Fitr celebrations there were still many families still around enjoying the last of the holidays.
View of Egypt
View of Israel
We hired a driver to take us north to the famous city of Petra. He took us along the Kings Highway into the nature reserve of Wadi Rum where Laurence of Arabia was filmed and there are a number of Beduoin settlements
The ancient lost city of Petra is one of the most recent wonders of the world. Its easy to sea why as its a pretty amazing place and one of the highlights of our trip! The settlement of Petra is as old as 300BC and was considered a lost city and was only re discovered in 1800's by a Swiss explorer. Stephen Spielberg really put it on the map in the late 80's with Indiana Jones' Last Crusade. This film is on every night in most hostels and you can buy the characters hats and whips from vendors around the town!
We got a 2 day pass which let us see the large site at our own pace. As tempreatures went to upwards of 40 we tried to go out a bit later in the day.
The walk to the entrance of the site is through a killometer of dramatic crevaces. It really sets the scene for the breathtaking sight of the Treasury.
One of the most impressive landmarks we've seen to date, completely carved out of its sand stone enviornment.
We hiked up a hill overlooking the site for som more spectacular views
Outside the amphitheatre
There is similar building to the treasury built high on a mountain at the edge of the site. Spectacular views at sun set.
We also visited the oldest pub in the world the Cave Bar on the site. This 2000-year-old Nabatean
tomb served one of the only beers to be had in Jordan.
From Petra we travelled north to Madaba which would be our base for visiting the Dead Sea, Bethany-Beyond Jordan and Mt Nebo.
The site Bethany-Beyond-Jordan is the spot on the river Jordan where John the Baptist is said to have baptised Jesus. The site is extreamy important to all sorts of christians who flock here in droves and have themselves and their children baptized.
This is the spot although not too much water these days.
Ultan overlooking the river Jordan.
Next we went to Mt Nebo which is said to be Moses's final resting place where he showed the chosen people the prmoised land.
From up here you can see Jerusalem, Jerico, The Dead Sea, Nabalus, Lake Tiberius and even Bethlehem in the distance.
Ultan made great friends with out driver Mackleet who begged him to do some driving and give him a bit of a rest. The petrol was half price (less than at €0.50 a litre)and nearly dissapeard before our eyes it was so popular!
Statoil Jordan style!
Floating in the Dead Sea was another incredibly surreal experience. The water is a warm, slightly heavy, nearly viscous substance. So full of salt and minerals that nothing can live in it. Its impossible to swim normally in it as you feel so light your legs just pop up to the surface as you bob about. It's great craic!
We were advised not to shave in advance of getting in as you will only discover cuts you didn't know you had. The not shaving was not really a problem for Ultan!
The mud around the Dead Sea is great for your skin!
We were also advised to wear modest swimwear in this area rather than bikini's which you would probably wear anywere else.
Local ladies wore either full clothes or whats called burkini's
On to Amman Jordan's capital and largest city is built on several hills and has a skyline of many mosques and minarets.
It has the largest free standing flag pole in the world!
and an amphitheatre
and a citadel with ancient ruins
All in all Jordan gets a big thumbs up!