Stories

 

Jordan


From the 10th to the 16th of October 2013

We jumped on the third taxi of the day to reach Aqaba and caught a bus to Wadi Musa.

Three centuries BC, the Nabateans, the people of ancient Arabic tribes, settled in Petra. Located on the trade routes between India and China to the Mediterranean ports, they collected tolls and protected the caravans transporting incense, spices and Indian silks. Despite the Greek domination, the Nabateans were able to establish and organize a very important kingdom, but finally lost power in 106 AD, after the Roman domination and because of the main trade route changes. In the valleys surrounded by sandy mountains and rugged facades, they carved palaces, tombs, rooms and stairways, inspired by the Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Mesopotamian and local architecture.

    

In the morning, before the crowd, we made our way winding through the Al Siq, a 1200 meters long canyon leading to the Treasury. This beautiful jewel is 30 meters wide and 43 meters high and has been carved on the yellow red colored rock, depending on the brightness. Throughout the visit, we discovered the amphitheater and various monuments reshaped by erosion, earthquakes and floods. For two days, we took time to soak up the timeless atmosphere where donkeys, camels and horses roamed as we imagine they were doing at the time.

    

We then reached Karak for a visit of the castle. This was a good opportunity to stroll in a small town where tourists were rare and encounters with the locals were the most authentic. If there is a world of English which both children and adults remember well, this is "Welcome to Jordan ".

We met the local tourist police captain who after a short discussion invited us for a visit of the Bin Hammad valley. Several hot springs meet in the valley, forming a small hot water river. Unfortunately, we discovered the site at night and only had a glims of the shimmering green canyon flowing into the Dead Sea, 14 kilometers downstream. But it was a pleasure to have some Bedouin tea by the moonlight and relax in a hot water pool under the stars. If this place wasn't as difficult to access with local transport, we would have loved to spend more time.

    

We spent our last night in Amman, before transiting over to Israel. Despite our prior investigation, we discovered a deserted border due to the Aïde public holiday. We turned back to Amman and decided to go for a trip to the Dead Sea.

At 420 meters below sea level, the Dead Sea is supposed to be the lowest place on earth. As already experienced in a Greek salina and in a lagoon in the Atacama Desert in Chile, we floated like corks without any effort.

The following day, we left the country by the Allenby Bridge and reached Jerusalem.

Click here to read the following story about our trip in Israel.

See the album "Jordan - October 2013"