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All the wonders of JORDAN

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Joel Fulleda
@joelfulleda
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Do it yourself trip to discover the Wonders of this unique country of which? hard not to fall in love. History, myth, religion, immense spaces, unique views, good food and a smiling people are the perfect mix that make Jordan a land that will leave? satisfied even the pi? demanding. Excellent possibility? to buy the Jordan Pass before departure which replaces the entry visa and guarantees entry to almost all? sites controlled by the Jordanian Tourist Board.

1 day

We left Rome at 11:15 with a Turkish Airlines flight bound for Istanbul. After a short stopover we leave for Amman, where we land at 20:00. The formalities landing are quite fast cos? as well as the return of suitcases. We go to collect our rental car reserved from Italy and without any problem we find ourselves setting the navigator towards Amman. The first news? it's cold .. exactly like in Italy. The second ? that despite being in the Middle East, Jordan welcomes us as a modern and organized country; along the highway that takes us to the city? only the Minarets and the Arabic inscriptions remind us of landing here. Around 22 pm we reach our hotel, the "Landmark Amman Hotel & Conference", located in a nice central district of the city? and instead we realize that we are in a corner of a complex world which, despite having preserved its peace, collides every day with the danger of those who, too close, are not at peace? In fact, to enter the hotel and reach the parking c '? a real check point, with automatic concrete barriers and they let us pass only after checking the trunk and passing the entire car through the metal detector. The hotel? very nice, modern, clean with large and comfortable rooms equipped with every need. It is a 5 star hotel but in Jordan for everyone. The prayer that rises from the Mosques marks the end of our day.





2 day

We get up early and after a refreshing coffee? we leave immediately to go and have a look at the Jordanian capital. We decide not to use the car not to have to waste time with parking and traffic directions and we take a taxi that takes us to the entrance of the citadel for less than 5 euros. The day ? cold but crystal clear and the not beautiful Amman opens before us lying on the hills with its dazzling white. Yes, Amman not? beautiful but we like it. Now you know about the Middle East. We enter the citadel and take a walk among the Roman ruins. We must be honest in saying that, as Romans, the columns and there? what else remains have nothing to do with what we have at home but we must recognize the care of the site and its spectacularity? for the position that offers splendid 360 degree views over the city. Leaving the citadel we begin the descent on foot towards the Roman theater and the area considered the old city? (advice ? to respect this order why? on the contrary, the climb must be quite tiring). We visit the theater which, although small,? well preserved and impressive for the slope of the steps and its position carved into one of the hills, the nearby odeon and after a stop in the "hashemite" square we slip into the area around Rainbow Street where we waste time among improvised souqs and we resist a few first purchases. Here Amman loses its modernity? state-of-the-art capital and turns into an old, shabby city? Arab, chaotic and crowded, dirty and permeated by the unmistakable smells of spices and stinks. But maybe ? this is the atmosphere that makes it traditional. Although we like to waste time between the stalls, our schedule? forced and so? we take a taxi back to take our car back to the hotel. For the moment ? time to leave the city? and leave to the south, tonight we must be in Wadi Musa and we decided to reach it along the whole famous Road of the Kings. The first stop? in Madaba, a beautiful example of coexistence and tolerance where mosques, Christian churches and Greek Orthodox churches stand side by side, a destination for groups of pilgrims visiting the Holy Land and famous for its mosaics. Our visit? was superficial but we could not miss the Church of San Giorgio and the map of Madaba, the largest mosaic. famous depicting the holy land and the itinerary to reach Jerusalem. We parked right in front of the church, made the visit and left immediately with take away kebabs, to be enjoyed along the road. Still several kilometers separate us from the goal. From here the path becomes gradually more? spectacular, transforming itself from rich cultivated valleys and olive groves to an ever more? desertic. We make the next stop when the road crosses the Wadi Mujib becoming nothing short of spectacular and? impossible not to stop at the panoramic points to admire so much beauty. From this moment on we really feel on the road and we begin to love every kilometer traveled. Once in Al-Karak we decide to skip the visit to the castle and to be satisfied with the view from the outside and continue further south. We pass At Tafila what? already? almost sunset, which takes us a few kilometers more? to the south, wonderful behind the dunes of the Dana reserve. The times are revealed more? long than expected and we can reach Wadi Musa which are already? 19:30. We settle in the hotel for a hot shower and go out for dinner. Here we have chosen a small budget hotel in the center of Wadi Musa, the Town Season, knowing that we will have spent little time there. Is it a solution with an excellent quality ratio? price, with large and clean rooms. The bathroom very small but clean too. For dinner we went to sensation and we chose the Al Wadi restaurant, right in the center of wadi Musa, a place in perfect local style, warm and welcoming with very kind staff. The food ?? excellent, with various specialties? must try. Fair prices. We go to sleep with the alarm set at 05:00 ...



3 day

It was the morning prayer that woke us up, when the alarm clock had not yet given the signal, but we did not wait for it. At 05:20 we were on the hotel terrace to try an early breakfast. The coffee? it was ready and we enjoyed it by seeing the very first light on Wadi Musa. Were they in the hotel like this? We were kind enough to wrap eggs and cheese in order to get out before the buffet opens. And so what? at 06:00 sharp we were at the entrance to the Petra site. And what about Petra? Rivers of words have been written and thousands of photos published. But to enter at dawn, practically alone, and walk the siq in a cold and silent January dawn to get to see the "treasure" among the rocks,? one of those experiences that makes you shiver, able to amaze even though you already know? what do you expect and ... move. For us ? was so. From the entrance of the site to the beginning of the Siq we took advantage of the free ride on horseback (tip not included :)) to feel like Jones's distant relatives but from here we continue alone. The Siq? the gorge carved into the rock of about 1,5 km that leads to the city? by Petra and? already? the siq itself to give an enormous charm to the ancient city? Nabataean. And so what? after a wonderful walk among the narrow walls, disturbed only by the hooves and horses of the first carriages, here is the "Treasure", the very essence of Petra. The thrill of seeing him between the folds of the siq is indescribable as the light begins to increase and begins to dye the walls pink. But Petra doesn't end at the treasure and wonder? to be discovered in every corner and glimpse along the tortuous and tiring climb that leads to the Monastery. And in fact from here we continue towards the remains of the theater, the tombs of the kings, the colonnaded road up to the beginning of the climb. From here in less than an hour (according to everyone's breath) you can hardly reach the Monastery but its beauty and the absolute silence that reigns there make it unmissable during the visit to the site. In reality? ? It is also possible to go up on the back of a mule but judging from what we saw on the way back, not? said it will be? in the end less tiring! Here at the Monastery we have our breakfast and then slowly resume the way back to the Treasury. And here we just sit still and look at it and we never want to leave. Is there now? many people who have reached the site but the silence remains. It almost seems that everyone does not want to outrage the charm and atmosphere that reigns here. There are magical places in the world and this? one of those.
Petra? rightly heritage of humanity? and hope? what do you stay like? forever.
Reluctantly we take one last look at the temple before slipping back into the gorge and saying goodbye to Petra with a sure goodbye. It is around 15:00 when we leave the site and make a quick stop to eat something before leaving for Wadi Rum, which we would like to reach before dark. And we succeed. The sun is setting when we reach the Visitor Center, after having crossed again spectacular views. Here? it is sufficient to show that you have a reservation in a tented camp and you can? continue by car to Wadi Rum village, a few houses inhabited by Bedouins. They all know each other and are notified of the arrival of customers. We do not wait more? 5 minutes before the arrival of our jeep that takes us inside the protected area to the camp. Gi? from this first transfer to sunset we are madly in love with this place. Making a madness of those from "at least once in a lifetime" we booked a panoramic tent at the Aicha Luxury Camp and only getting off the jeep we do not regret our choice. The field ? set against a rocky ridge in the middle of the desert. The staff, all young guys, welcome us to the jeep and quickly accompany us to our tent. The interior ? very comfortable and well furnished with a nice bed and private bathroom. Clean linen. Spectacular is the view in front of us on which night is falling. The only flaw is the cold ... it is still a curtain and the air conditioner present is unable to heat properly considering that we are already outside? at zero degrees! We immediately understand what the two fur-lined sheepskin lying on the bed are for instead of bathrobes. We enjoy the arrival of night in our tent and then we go to the restaurant. All the camping? a real eye-catcher. The restaurant, located at the top just under the rocks? a corner of true luxury in the middle of the desert. The buffet has a good choice and decent quality. The bar built under the rock where you can enjoy a tea and smoke a shisha is beautiful. This dream for one night costs about 230,00 euros ... which commensurate with the services and the tent itself are objectively too many ... but falling asleep under such a sky? starred by us now non-existent and waking up at the first light of dawn admiring the boundless spaces of this spectacle of nature makes it an experience so? beautiful, unique and magical to justify any price.



4 day

At the first light we open the curtains remaining under the duvets to admire the sunrise over the boundless spaces of Wadi Rum. Let's go to breakfast and bring the rams with us given the temperature? of -7 degrees. For 8.30 we booked the private excursion in the desert with one of the camp boys who accompanies us in a jeep. We turn for about 3 and a half hours touching and stopping at the most? known from the protected area: the stone bridges, the Nabataean inscriptions, the Al-Khazali canyon, the sand dunes and the Lawrence springs. Of course, a tea in the desert offered by two Bedouin boys could not be missing. Being in the middle of January guarantees not to meet many people and to find ourselves alone enjoying the nature that is truly spectacular here. Petra did not disappoint our high expectations but Wadi Rum far exceeded them. Around 12:00 we return to the camp and unfortunately we have to leave this red earth paradise where we are aware of leaving a piece of our heart. They take us back to our car with which we immediately turn north. Several kilometers await us to reach our next destination ... the Dead Sea. This time we use the highway until it intersects state highway 50. From here we are again immersed in spectacular views and face the great descent until we reach 65, known as Jordan Valley Hwy. Unfortunately, as we approach sea level, the sun that has accompanied us so far is obscured by a blanket of fog and further down the wind rises bringing with it the sand. At the bottom we are immersed in a blanket of yellowish clouds and the visibility? ? scarce. After a few kilometers we begin to glimpse the expanse of the Dead Sea and things covered in salt. No ? only time, but it seems to us that we have changed country. The villages are neglected and full of garbage, various tent settlements of international organizations inhabited by Palestinian refugees are visible. There is an air of frontier, and that feeling of being in a peaceful, welcoming and absolutely peaceful country disappears. When we reach the shores of the Dead Sea we are forbidden to find it moved .. well yes.. moved. The wind does not even allow you to get out of the car and so? we continue straight until we reach the hotel area. It's about 17pm: when we enter the Movempick Dead Sea lobby, they quickly escort us to our room. The hotel? fantastic even if the 5 stars go above all to the common areas, the gardens, the swimming pools and the SPA while the rooms are comfortable and clean but could be revised. Before the sun goes down, let's go for an exploratory tour of the hotel until we reach the beach ... cold, wind, rain, sand, and the long-dreamed stretch of water in which to float that beats its waves on the rocks. Needless to say, we hope it gets better tomorrow and retire to the hot shower. We take the courage to go out only at dinner time and considering the situation we decide to stay in the hotel, contenting ourselves with the only restaurant open ... the Italian one. Let's try so? a fantastic "Jordanian" pizza under the stamen of the Colosseum and Piazza San Marco accompanied by a compilation of perfect Emigratis. Fortunately we are very tired and what does it take?

5 day

When we wake up (more calmly this morning) fortunately c '? the sun and the wind? gone away cos? after breakfast we go back to the beach again. The dead" ? woke up even this morning and not? certainly like the photos that advertise it. We can at least get our feet in and they freeze. Even if it is really cold we do not give up the ritual of mud, lying in the amphorae on the beach. After the bankruptcy experience as seaside tourists we go to change and go out directly to Mount Nebo which can be reached in about 30 minutes. This time we face the big climb that takes us back above sea level with the road that climbs opening up to breathtaking views. We arrive at the entrance and pay for the ticket as the site is not among those included in the Jordan Pass. The visit to the memorial could not miss in our tour of Jordan and? a place where you can breathe peace. In addition to the church, rebuilt by integrating the ancient remains and where? visible a beautiful mosaic c '? a small museum and a terrace in front where? Is it possible to wander over Israel and see the city? of Jerusalem. Right here ? the famous cross with intertwined snakes has been placed. Whether you are a believer or not, you will feel here? still part of the story. We go down again the 1000 meters that separate us from the sea and go to lunch at the Samarah Mall, a nice shopping center near the hotel. We decide to spend the whole afternoon aboard the fantastic infinity pool enjoying the sun and relaxation while waiting for a fantastic sunset. For dinner we return to the shopping center having identified a sort of American-style pub where, finally, we were able to order a pint of beer!

6 day

This morning we get up early again and after breakfast we leave the Movempick and the Dead Sea heading north again. The first stop of the day? the baptismal site in Bethany beyond the Jordan. We touch the border with Israel and shortly after we are at the entrance to the site. Being in a monitored military area since? right at the border? it is necessary to leave the car and continue with the guide and driver after paying the ticket. With us there was no one else at the site and after a quarter of an hour of vain wait the guide decided to leave the same becoming so? our private guide. Also in this case, regardless of your belief, the visit makes you think. Reaching the place of baptism you can see the churches that have arisen here: Catholic, Greek-Orthodox, Russian-Orthodox, Protestant, Evangelical, Coptic and we are in a Muslim country. The whole community? Christian? gathered here, the story of John baptizing Jesus in this exact place? of Nazareth we are told by a Jordanian of a Palestinian mother, a few meters on the other bank of the river Israel has built a memorial ignoring the indications of the archaeologists and refusing to accept that that exact point, of which only a sort of dried up basin remains in at the bottom of what remains of the steps of a temple, it is not part of their territories. And when we reach the river, a few meters wide, that ritual is renewed even today for adults and children of many languages ​​and nationalities. Touching. After the visit we set off for our last stop in Jordan, Jerash. The landscape changes again, the hills, greenery, olive trees and crops reappear. We reach Jerash before lunch. The ruins of ancient Gerasa are undoubtedly one of the most popular attractions. famous sites in Jordan, among the best preserved Roman sites in the Middle East. Of undoubted charm the colonnaded street, the theater and yet ... isn't this site there? entered the heart. Sar? was the sky minus third, but the reality? ? what after Rome, the Valley of the Temples, Greece? difficult to fully appreciate what remains here. In short, our heart remains elsewhere. And so what? for the last time we get into the car again and set the navigator to Amman. Now is the weather? completely spoiled and it rains. Back in the city? we pass by the King Abdullah I Mosque and to spend our last hours at the Taj Mall, where we find again that luxury and that modernity? western that we had forgotten. It's after 21:00 and? right time to go. We go back home. We reach the airport and leave our four-wheeled escort and enter waiting to board the Turkish flight to Istanbul. We greet cos? Jordan, a few days but intense, which we will not forget.

7 day

We fly at night and at dawn we disembark in Istanbul where we await the connection to Rome where we land at 10.

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