Jerusalem Jordan - Jul 19 - Jul 23, 2019
Our trip to Jordan was excellent, exciting and quite dramatic. Everything went off like clockwork. We were met at the appointed times and places by our drivers without fail. All instructions were clear, and we were often given extra time just to be safe.
We were picked up at 7:45 am near our Jerusalem hotel and taken to the Border Crossing, where we were dropped off by our Israeli driver. Then after crossing we were met by our Palestinian driver, Haithan, and cossed into Jordan where we took the long drive along the Dead Sea to Petra. Haithan kept us entertained with stories about the people and customs of the area, stopped and let us take pictures with camels, showed us natural springs and gorges, and much more. His car was cool and clean and equipped with wi-fi, which made it nice.
Petra was a remarkable place to see. We visited Little Petra first then we went on to the main Petra at about 11 am. We chose to visit it at our own pace and to read the clear and informative signs ourselves. The natural rock formations were stunning. We went from a hot and sunny environment to a cool and shady one in an instant, preferring the latter.
Walking through the gorges was quite an overwhelming experience, and seeing the elegantly carved monumental buildings really moved us. To think that an ancient civilization lived there! The Nabuteans were very industrious people and we came to admire them. The primitive holes carved out of the caves and used for wine making and water storage and holding staircases and artwork were all eerily mundane. Stony remnants of the everyday labors of a long-vanished people surrounded us and we were mesmerized by them.
We unfortunately were there on a very hot day, and on our way out we were very very warm and could hardly wait until we reached the Visitor Entrance. The sun was beating down on us very hard, but we made it on foot without a donkey ride. We felt quite victorious!
We stayed at the Petra Moon Hotel, which was itself a dream -- a lovely boutique hotel with all the amenities. .After our exertions, we went out to dinner in the evening after on the rooftop at the buffet there. It was delicious and bountiful. The breakfast buffet was another delightful experience, with all kinds of bread, an omelet bar, fresh fruit, yogurt, nuts, dates, juices...everything! The service was wonderful. They held our luggage and called our driver for us because we did not have cell phone service. I would recommend this hotel to anyone.
Our driver picked us up on request at our hotel and drove us the two hours to Amman, with stops on the way, and dropping us off at our hotel, the La Locanda, another boutique hotel -- this one with a music theme. The rooms did not have numbers, but rather the names of a famous middle eastern singers or musicians. Our room was named Sabah Fakhri, a Syrian tenor. The next morning Azzam picked us up and took us to the Citadel and then we sat and had a relaxing tea at a restaurant that overlooked the main street. We wanted to get to the airport for our flight to Cairo that night so he obliged us and took us there. Jordan was a great trip.
But it wasn't over because we had to fly back into Amman from Cairo, then cross over the border again into Israel. This was a challenge, because it was a Friday and the Israel border closed at 11 am and our flight was scheduled to arrive at 9 am. But thanks to our tenacious driver Azzam, who picked us up at the airport (and said we got through in only 15 minutes!) and told us he was quite sure we would make it in time as he ferried us through the confusing mass of people on the Jordanian side of the border, we made it! Amjad picked us up on the other side of the border and drove us to the Jerusalem bus station and needless to say we made it to the rest of our destinations. It was quite an experience, that border crossing day. Sometimes we didn't know what was being said among the parties involved. All I know is Azzam said to take care of the bus driver, which we did. A couple on the bus behind us did not know what was going on, had shelled out a hefty "tax" to somebody and were quite bewildered by it all. Thanks to Kimkim I feel like we were quite spared. Thanks so much to Lena, who answered every email and every question I had. Mary