I love being able to get out and about and explore the fantastic sights and places that Jordan has to offer. I love spending time with friends and entertaining. Last week I was able to combine both of these loves together, when a family friend from Australia came to visit us as part of his 5 week trip around the world. He had 5 nights/6 days with us in Jordan which for a short trip allows you to be able to see the major sights. Johnie was happy to let me play tour guide and organise the details of his time whilst in Jordan. He was also happy to be flexible and go with the flow when I had had to make last minute changes to the rough itinerary that I had emailed him as the weather forecast for the week wasn’t particularly cooperative.
I thought I would share what we did for the time Johnie was here to maybe tempt/entice you to come to Jordan and to see what is possible in the time we had.
My week as a tour guide started bright and early on the Monday morning leaving Wadi Musa at 5:30am to pick Johnie up at the airport at 8:00am. We had originally intended to travel back to Wadi Musa via the King’s Hwy. I changed this instead to going to the Dead Sea as the weather forecast predicted that Monday was the warmest day for the week and a must do when in Jordan is floating in the Dead Sea and it was very much on the top of Johnie’s list of things that he wanted to experience. The original plan had been to visit the Dead sea on Friday which was forecast to be the coldest day for the week. The Dead Sea being over 400m below sea level has it’s own micro climate and is often 10-15 degree Celsius warmer than the surrounding locations and even though the water temperature is about 20 degrees Celsius in January we still are in the middle of wet and cold winter!
From the Dead sea we traveled down the Dead Sea Hwy to the turnoff for Tafila. In my opinion, and certainly in my Dad’s, the stretch of road from the Dead Sea valley to Tafila is a spectacular drive as the road ascends from 400m below sea level to 1500m above sea level in a distance as the crow flies of about 15km. This makes for some amazing views down into the wadis (valleys) as you are slowly climbing to the top.
All day Tuesday and Wednesday morning were allocated to exploring Petra. I certainly recommend a minimum of 1 and 1/2 days to explore Petra as it’s a huge site and it’s not hard to walk 15-20kms each time you enter the archaeological site.
Wednesday afternoon we drove Johnie to Wadi Rum which is about an 1 and 1/2 hours from Wadi Musa. The forecast was for rain in Petra/Wadi Musa, but was due to stay clear in Wadi Rum. We dropped Johnie off with a Bedouin camp owner and he did a tour in the desert and then camped overnight in a Bedouin style tent. Atef, Alia and I headed back to Wadi Musa.
Alia with Johnie’s guide in Wadi Rum
On Wednesday night we not only received rain but also snow. Johnie was catching the local bus back from Wadi Rum and according to him, once he finally got back, the road to the south of us around Tayabeh was nearly closed due to snow and that the bus was lucky to make it through and that there were a few hairy moments when the bus was skidding sideways instead of going forwards. Johnie had got his wish though – he had been hoping on his trip that he would see snow although he probably thought it was more likely to be in the UK or New York and not the Middle East.
Thursday was a miserable day weather wise with continuous rain, hail, snow and anything else that the sky could throw at us. Johnie and Atef braved the cold, which with a windchill factor reached a low of -10 degrees Celsius, and checked out Wadi Musa and the surrounding areas including Little Petra.
Friday morning we headed off for Jerash which is about an hour north of Amman. We drove up the desert highway which as the name suggests makes it’s way straight through the desert from Aqaba in the south of the country to Amman. Jerash is an old Roman ruined city and is impressive not only in the buildings and features that remain but also in terms of the size of the site. The weather held up enough for the 2 hours that we took in Jerash and there were only a couple of periods of drizzle. The rain didn’t start pouring until we were safely inside the restaurant at the gate drinking mint tea.
Alia and I in front of Hadrian’s Gate. She was snug, warm and dry inside her pram.
Atef and Johnie at Artemis’s Temple
The plaza at Jerash
We headed back from Jerash to Madaba where we stayed the night. Madaba is about 30 minutes south of Amman and close to the airport. Saturday morning we quickly visited Mount Nebo and looked out from the view point where Moses stood and viewed the promised land. We also visited St Georges church which contains the remains of a 6th century mosaic of a geographical map containing of approximately 150 sites from the Holy lands with Jerusalem at the centre.
It was then time to head to the airport and say farewell to Johnie.