One day I said sitting in Afghanistan I thought...- Hey, while I am in Italy - I should pop over and visit my friends in Jordan before I go home.
I booked the ticket and the rest is history.
It did not help that with just a week before leaving I had spoke with three people about how amazing Jordan was and how Petra would blow me away.
We drove the back roads to the Dead Sea. When I say back roads - I mean crazy Middle East roads! At one point I felt I was in the Anbar or Farah even.
But as we got closer I could actually smell the water. We joked that it was more like a combination of goats and water but you never know.
I am sure the drive during the day would have been pretty amazing but the black night was all around - very little light pollution. We checked into the resort and you could see the sea by moonlight - the next morning was the first glimpse I had of the Dead Sea!
Since we got in late we relaxed as much as we could and head to explore Majib Wadi. I had heard about this place a few weeks ago when my friends from Amman had posted facebook pictures. But until you are there and walking through it - it is hard to explain. It is a 45 minute hike to the end - but is filled with running water and rocks to climb over. We caught it at the last week open for the year. It gets too dangerous. At a few points they have mounted ropes to pull yourself up and over the rocks. On the way back you slide down rocks with the rushing current. What a true highlight. The rock walls were filled with brilliant walls of red and brown, Just a true great adventure. I lost all of the pics but trust me, an amazing experience.
We were already wet so we drove back to the resort to do the Dead Sea. To be honest those that know me - know I do not float. I dog paddle the best that I can and even living next to Lake Erie for 17 years that is all I have. The weather was warm enough and surprisingly the sea was warm once you took the initial plunge if you will. Before you go in - you have to lather up with black mud that is scooped out and placed in these huge urns by the shore.
This combination is suppose to bring some healing principles. And since I still have messed up heels from Afghanistan it could not hurt.
Surprise of the day... I can float... This place was relaxing and slow paced and great company just what I needed.
Excellent - Excellent Turkish coffee with Cardamom. Could not stop smiling while drinking it. A little piece of heaven.
Once the sun set I was blown away that I could look across the sea to Israel.. How strange that by sight distance maybe 5km away was the worlds most contested land ever in history. This is also the lowest point on earth - 400m below sea level.
We set the alarm early for the next morning because we had around a four hour drive to Petra. The main road took along the sea and then up and over the hills. It was desolate in most case - dry, dusty hills.. We saw the occasional herder, Bedouins.
The closer we got the Petra the more activity. It is a tourist town much like all tourist towns around the world.
I was not 100% sure what to expect - especially since everyone that I mentioned the trip to began to talk about Indiana Jones and all of the ancient civilization... Well, they were right but completely different the from the ancient places I had left in Rome just a few days before.
All I can say is wow.. I am not sure how they created all of this but pretty amazing. Inside the "park" they had - camels, donkeys, and horse carriages. We rode camels in the middle of the 7th Wonder of the World. How can you beat that?
Overall amazing day. I am not a huge fan of archaeology - but this is something that should not be missed.
Amman is a huge city - and I like it.
Now granted I was not doing the driving and I am thankful for that.
It has the same mixture of big city and then right smack in the middle ancient ruins.
Had an amazing hot stone massage by a man from Egypt that used to be a wrestling coach.
Great dinner with new and old friends.
Funny we went to dinner at Romero's in Amman - Excellent food and the owner was perfect. Best Gnocchi of the trip :)
Crazy we were all in the same place at the same time.
Drank more Great Turkish coffee, Ate at Hashem Restaurant for excellent falafel's, Turkish Bath...
love... love.. all of it.
Overall, this trip was not about following specific guidebooks or checking off the sites. It was just to be.