As I stepped off the plane, I was greeted by my driver Hasan, who gave me a warm embrace and a genuine smile. This set a lovely tone, which turned out to be constant theme through the entirety of my trip. Jordan had long been on my bucket list of places to visit but other than the world-renowned Petra, I didn’t quite know what to expect.
I began my week in the capital city of Amman, which was unique and beautiful. The city is set across sprawling hills with houses stacked for miles behind one another, giving off a completely fascinating look. As I made my way to the top of the citadel, I was able to turn 360 degrees and feel like I was taking centre stage with seemingly the whole city around me.
After a few days in Amman, we departed towards Petra on the famous Kings Highway, the route can take just three hours non-stop, however, we stopped at a whole host of intriguing places. There were two highlights for me. The first was undoubtedly Kerak Castle, which is simply stunning, with unique passageways and architecture to wander through and appreciate. The other was the “Wadi Mujib” which was a dramatic canyon and one of the most spectacular natural features in Jordan. They refer to it as their very own Grand Canyon. We turned around the corner and came face to face with this chasm, which came seemly out of nowhere.
As I arrived in Petra, I was blessed with beautiful weather and this fortunately carried through to the following day. I had always wanted to see Petra, it had been somewhere I desired to visit. That, however, comes with pressure for it to meet the expectations I had bestowed upon it.
I am beyond happy that it went over and above what I was hoping for. It truly does live up to its prowess. Naturally, I wanted to see everything, so I woke up early that morning and arranged for a local guide to take me on a 8km hike from Little Petra to Petra. It was a phenomenal hike, there was a point when we could have taken a safe path or a more adventurous one. The curiosity prevailed and we went on an adventure, taking in some of the most unbelievable scenery with chasms and mountains all around us. There was even a moment where we had to free climb to make it to the top, needless to say, it was an awful long way down. Despite the adrenaline pumping, it was an amazing experience and one which came with great reward. We were the first to the monastery. I took a deep breath and just let it sink in. This has been standing since the early 2nd Century and yet looks in immaculate condition.
We then descended into the rest of the rose-red city to explore the iconic scenery. The walk down from the monastery was steeper than I expected. Many tourists were using mules to climb to the summit. As I gradually reached the bottom, I began seeing more of these incredible caves, which were actually used as homes to the Nabataeans. I was totally enthralled by the history and the setting of this place, it truly was magical.
The final part of my Petra experience was the Treasury. It is known far and wide for its iconic photo through the crack in the rock. Naturally, there were far more tourists in this section as it was far more accessible, this did not distract from its magnificence. I feel eternally grateful to have seen it.
We continued to Wadi Rum which was unbelievable, having only really experienced a desert in Australian outback this was a very new experience for me. I wasn’t sure how I would find being isolated and away from civilisation, but it actually turned out to be completely liberating. No screens, no light pollution, nothing but natural surroundings for miles, this was the perfect escape for me.
We drove through the dunes and saw some of the most beautiful sights, including some of the filming sights of Matt Damon’s “The Martian”. We finished our tour and checked into an intimate camp know as Memories of Aicha. These gorgeous tents come in a few varieties, but I went for the panoramic dome-shaped tent which offered a view from the bed out to the starlit sky. Magical doesn’t do it justice, this is undoubtedly one of the greatest places to stargaze.
The final stop on my journey was the dead sea. This was completely unique considering you can float without any effort due to the concentration of salt. Despite its healing properties, I was surprised how low the water levels were in comparison to the resorts. I was unaware of how much had receded in recent years due to a difference in climate and the mining of the water.
Having now witnessed this first hand I would certainly suggest only doing one night in the dead sea to see this natural phenomenon. For anyone looking for more of traditional beach escape, the picturesque town of Aqaba is perfect with teeming marine life and golden sandy beaches.
My journey through Jordan was eventful and truly memorable for a variety of reasons. None more so than the hike through to Petra, taking in the scenery and learning about this ancient civilisation was something that will stay with me forever. I feel truly blessed to have seen it first-hand.