Sunday, June 26, 2011


Jordan – April, 2011
After a delicious oriental salad at our campsite on the red sea we caught the ferry to Aqaba, Jordan, a very small seaside village.  After a quick orientation walk down the only street in town we had dinner at a little local restaurant  and shared some meze plates of tahini, hummus, tabbouleh, pita bread, eggplant dip and some grilled lamb and chicken kebabs.  In the morning I wandered down to the beach and saw little children dressed in swimsuits but many of the women were wearing black heavy burquas which cover them from head to toe, leaving only their eyes and hands visible or at the very head scarves.  I stopped at a bakery to pick up some spinach filled pastries for later and then we headed into the Wadi Rum, a valley cut into the sandstone and granite filled with sand dunes, rock paintings and petroglyphs.  It was here that T. E. Lawrence based his operations during the Arab revolt of 1917 – 18.  Riding in land rovers we had a great look around, stopping to slide down some sand dunes and hike up to some rock caves before stopping at a Bedouin camp for the night.  We six were the only ones there along with a couple Bedouins who cooked us some chicken and potatoes underground and set up a camp fire.  It was fantastic to sleep under the stars as there were lots of blankets to keep us warm.

After pita bread, jam and homemade cheese for breakfast we drove out of the desert, transferred to a little mini van and drove to Petra, a UNESCO world heritage site, famous for its rock cut architecture.  The “must” sees there are the “treasury” carved into the sandstone cliff, the amphitheatre, many tombs found in rock caves and the beautiful mosaic floor of the Byzantine church.  According to Arab tradition Petra is where Moses struck a rock with his staff and water came forth.  We had one day with a guide and one free day to wander the cliffs at our leisure – it was truly awesome.

The next morning was cold and rainy but we stopped at the Dead Sea nevertheless.  Before going in we had a scrumptious buffet lunch of lentils, olives, chicken, stews, many type of rice dishes and even a grand selection of desserts.  Also called the salt sea, the dead sea is a salt lake bordering Jordan and Israel.  It is one of the world’s saltiest bodies of water which makes floating easy but swimming almost impossible.  There are changing rooms, towel rentals and showers but it was a very cold and rainy day so we didn’t linger long!!!  We walked up Mt. Nebo where God showed Moses the promised land and supposedly where he is buried as well. 

We arrived in Madaba just in time for a quick orientation walk and to eat felaful pita bread sandwiches for dinner at Ayola Coffee shop.  In the morning a few of us shared a taxi to Jerash, a well-preserved Greco-Roman city where we wandered through the ruins of old cathedrals, amphitheatres, hippodromes and temples.  We returned to town with plenty of time to visit the many churches and museums filled with the city’s famous mosaics including the the oldest Byzantine Mosiac map of the Middle East on the floor of St. George’s Orthodox Church .  Our last dinner in Jordan was at Haret Jdoudna Restaurant (,  an old atmospheric home with delicious food.  My chicken w/potatoes and herbs cooked in a wood burning oven and fattoush salad were very tasty and a great way to say “good-bye” to Jordan.

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