Archiv der Kategorie: Jordan

Jordan – Summary & Pictures

People: There’s not a lot of backpackers, but there’s also not a lot of hostels – hence you meet again and again. I was lucky to meet some really cool people to travel with while in Jordan, and rarely spent time by myself. As for locals – sorry Israel, but Jordan wins. Miles ahead. I was so happy that people finally seemed happy again to see me as a tourist. My first day in Amman was filled with a constant „welcome to Jordan“ and kids wanting to take selfies with me. However, I also got lots of attention from the guys – never in an annoying or intimidating way, but it did get a bit exhausting sometimes. Women with low self-esteem: go to Jordan!

Food: Falafel, hummus and other „dips“. In the beginning I liked it, but did get a bit sick of it in the end. That’s when the buffet in Wadi Rum came in handy! I started missing fresh fruits and veggi- onees prepared in a way other than mashed into a dip. My favourite was yet again knafeh – I stuffed myself with the cheesy deliciousness in Amman! Not as good as in Nablus, but still really really tasty.

Weather: Apart from the one grey day in Petra, it was sunny and almost too hot all along.

Costs: At 50€/day I managed to stay below my 60€ target, but surprisingly spent more than in Israel, even though I would consider Jordan cheaper. Why is that? First, I did not find any female Couchsurfing hosts and did not want to stay with guys in a Muslim country. Also, the hostels were cheap but didn’t have shared kitchens so I had to eat out. Lastly, the cost of the Jordan Pass, while well worth it, also impacted my budget.

Accommodation: I only stayed at two different hostels – one costing 7€/night and the other one 5€/night. The first one was ok, the other barely bearable. The things you do to save money!

Infrastructure: I used busses and taxis (sometimes shared). There’s no trains. Unfortunately there’s not a lot of public transport in Jordan, so many places are difficult or impossible to get to without a rental car.

Illnesses: All good once again!

Safety: Felt very safe and welcome.

Itinerary: I basically did (almost) all I could on public transport. I would have loved to hike Wadi Mujib, Dana nature reserve and maybe see some of the desert castles but that simply wasn’t possible without renting a car. Amman (incl. day trips) – Petra – Wadi Rum is the standard backpacker route. Some add Aqaba but it didn’t sound appealing to me.

Highlight: Petra, no question.

Lowlight: Madaba.

Click here to see all my pictures of Jordan:

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Me in front of the Treasury
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Moon or Mars? Touring Wadi Rum’s desert landscapes

As my last stop in Jordan, I had always had the plan of visiting Wadi Rum. Wadi Rum is a rocky desert landscape in the South of Jordan. There are no roads and only bedouin camps, so you have to go on an organized tour. My hostel in Wadi Musa/Petra had a very tempting cheap offer so that I booked the tour directly with them. It ended up being ok for what I paid: the camp was nice and clean, dinner was plentiful and delicious and the 3 h jeep tour – while not taking as long as some other jeep tours – took us to many amazing spots.

I left Petra early in the morning together with some other people from my hostel and we arrived at the bedouin camp in the late morning. Since our jeep tour was scheduled for the late afternoon only, we had lots of free time to chill, have lunch and go for a first walk in the desert. We found a cool viewpoint from which we could see the white desert in the distance and take some nice photos.

But the highlight of my stay in Wadi Rum was of course the tour itself. We set in the back of an open pickup truck and cruised through the breathtaking landscapes. As mentioned, we stopped at some cool sites such as nice viewpoints, a canyon and two rock bridges – but drive itself was already really, really cool!!

At night, after our dinner buffet, we got the choice between sleeping in the bedouin tents of the camp or outside under the stars. Well, what do you think I chose!? 🙂 Our guide took us a bit away from the camp next to a big rock where he made a camp fire and we put down our mattresses and blankets. I actually slept quite well – although I did get a bit chilly around my head and wished I had brought my woolen hat.

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It was a short night since we needed to wake up early for some transfers of other guests. And after some breakfast in the camp, it was time for me to leave as well. Not just the camp or Wadi Musa, but Jordan. It was a long travel day: shared taxi to Aqaba, Jett bus to Amman, taxi to the airport, flight to Beirut, taxi to the hostel. Backpacker life! Jordan, you’ve been good to me and maybe I’ll return one day with a rental car to visit the places I missed out on now…

Exploring Petra: Hikes, views and bedouins

If you’ve been following my blog over the past few weeks, you probably realized that I did A LOT. Especially in Israel, my days were full – from waking up early to heading to bed totally exhausted, travelling to new cities almost every day. Jordan so far had not been an exception – so once I arrived by local bus in Wadi Musa, I really, really felt like I needed a rest day. Sometimes, when you travel for longer, this is what happens! You need a day just to relax, surf around and get some things in order. Also, weather was grey-ish on my (originally planned) first Petra day which would have been bad for photos. Since I had one buffer day anyways, the decision was easy, and I only left the hostel grounds for lunch and dinner that day!

As things go, it ended up being a good decision: the next two days were fully sunny and I met some cool people to explore Petra together with. There are one or two things you have to understand when it comes to Petra: It is a huge site, not just that one famous Treasury carved into the red rock. And the best way to see it is to spend at least 2 days trekking around the site, going up to different view points – it is all about the views!

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I was lucky to be trekking with two guys who were even more into photography than I am. While usually, among backpackers, I’m the most crazy photographer, I was nothing compared to them – also in terms of experience and skills! So I ended up with lots of cool photos of myself from these two days. For once – not someone cutting off my feet and/or the top of the building. Haha!

 

On the first day, we maybe exaggerated a little. We first climbed up to a kind of unofficial viewpoint of the Treasury which one of the bedouins showed to us. He also explained to us a path crossing over to the High Place of Sacrifice – along which we had some of the most amazing views over the area. Definitely worth paying that bedouin some overcharged tourist fee for showing the trails!

 

We then continued the trail down to the other side, ending at the two restaurants – a good time for a much needed lunch break! Sun was also burning down at this point, so we kind of passed out for about 2 h in the restaurant. Lol. In our defense, we were the first ones entering Petra that day, being at the gate slightly before 6 am already!

 

After re-fulling and re-charging our energy, we went for the long walk up to the Monastery. Many, many steps! And annoying donkey traffic, carrying useless tourists up and down. Oh well. We went up in the late afternoon and ended up staying almost until sunset. We did not stay until sunset since the Monastery was getting into the shade step by step, so the light conditions would not have been great. I guess around 4 pm light was at its best.

 

I liked the Monastery, however, I preferred the Treasury (contrary to many people). The Monastery looks almost a bit too fake or restored to me – not sure if this is the case, but that is what it looks like to me. The Treasury had something more fascinating about it, probably also because you are reaching it after walking through the Siq (canyon) for about 20 min. After we left the Monastery, we only realized how absolutely exhausted we were. While I was fine for the first hour or so (of our long way back to the entrance), in the end I also felt my legs and every meter seemed just too long. In the end of course we made it – but let me say – do not underestimate the way back to the entrance after a long day in Petra!

On my second day in Petra, my group was down to Chris and myself and we decided to take it a lot slower. We had seen most of the highlights, so we only spent half a day more exploring the rest. We were also really, really done from the day before and our legs and feet still in pain! Still, we opted for another 6 am start to get the best light. We first took the trail past the Royal Tombs up to the other (official) viewpoint of the Treasury. It was nice, but I must say – I preferred our unofficial one from the day before.

 

Then, we explored some of the ruins in the center (around the colonnaded road) a bit closer. However, I seen realized that this was nothing major (some Roman ruins I had seen were better for sure), so after a quick round and some pictures, I called it quits and said goodbye to Petra. Was it as expected? To be honest, it was much, much better. While there is probably better ruins and carved out buildings to see in other places, it’s the whole setting that makes Petra special. The long walk through the Siq to reach the Treasury, the different viewpoints, the little cafes up there run by bedouins (looking like Jack Sparrow’s brothers), the surrounding landscape… Petra you have been absolutely amazing!!