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Goway’s Africa and Middle East Specialist, Laura Vagners, gives an account of a recent FAM trip to Jordan which she led.
There is nothing more exciting than visiting a country where the sights and sounds that you dream of exceed your expectations. My first visit to Jordan, along with nine travel agents and one journalist, was no exception.
The beginning of our time in Jordan was spent amidst the ancient facades of Petra. We all know the famous scenes in the Indiana Jones movie of the Treasury, but did you know there is a 1.2 km siq that you must walk through to discover this facade? The siq has many clues about the history of the ancient city’s culture and life, and without our trusted guide, none of us would have any idea! When we finally laid eyes on the Treasury, we all went silent. Our breath was truly taken away when we saw the details and its the grandness, not to mention the fact that this ruin is still standing after hundreds of years of sandstorms and flash floods.
Most surprisingly, we all discovered that Petra is so much more than the famous Treasury. We explored ancient caves, dwellings, rock formations, and tombs, all among the hustle and bustle of the local people. If time permits, hike to the Monastery (850 steps going up!) for even more breathtaking views.
For a taste of adventure, we hopped into the back of a jeep and rode through time and history in Wadi Rum, home of the Bedouin. We stopped along the way to see where famous films like Lawrence of Arabia and Martian were filmed. A highlight was having an opportunity to spend time with the local Bedouins to learn about how they are keeping their ancient culture and traditions alive.
Without a doubt, what surprised our group the most were the ancient ruins of Jerash, one of the largest and most well preserved ancient Roman cities in the world. Walking through the ruins takes you back in time and offers beautiful views of the city. However, Jerash also features a spectacular contrast of old and new.
After a week of touring and exploring, we were all craving some time to relax and kick our feet up… or perhaps float our feet up? “Just lean back and float,” was the advice given to us as we dipped our feet into the lowest point on earth, the Dead Sea. After going against what we all had learned during swimming lessons, we were all laughing while we got used to the weightless sensation. I am pretty sure we all left our Dead Sea treatments feeling (and even looking) 10 years younger.
Along the way, we enjoyed local Jordanian fare. Grilled meats, vegetables, salads, and dips flavoured with local spices – the cuisine is simple and healthy! Just a note, however… as delicious as the traditional Arabic coffee is, avoid drinking it after 4pm. Few of us were awake until the following day’s sunrise!
This is just a very small taste of what travel to Jordan has to offer, as adventure, history, culture, gastronomy, relaxation, and wellness are all part of the visitor’s experience.
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