Jordan

January 22nd: We woke up at 3:30am to catch our 6:20am flight from Rome to Aqaba in Jordan. Luckily, our Air BnB host was able to drive us to the airport (for a fee). From the airport in Aqaba, we caught a cab to our hotel. It was the most organised cab service we’ve come across. There was an employee handing out “tickets” that outlined the various costs and directed us to a cab. One of the most dreaded hassles is having to haggle for a reasonable cab fee, especially from an airport, and especially when you’re tired.

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The Red Sea waterfront in Aqaba.
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Dinner view

January 23rd: During our leisurely morning breakfast, we saw a bus schedule for a tourist bus heading to Petra. We had thought our only option was a minibus that would leave around 11am (or when full), so we were excited to find out that this direct bus left at 8am! In 20 minutes! I’ve never packed quicker. We made it with 2 minutes to spare.

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Petra is a city in the ancient Nabataean Kingdom, about 2000 years old.

We arrived in Petra early enough to spend the afternoon exploring. We walked the Main Trail through the Siq (narrow gorge) to the Treasury/Al Khazneh. It was amazing! I didn’t think it could live up to the hype but it did. It was so exciting to get a peek at the Treasury from within the Siq.

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The Obelisk Tomb: the tomb is on the upper floor while a banquet hall for funerary rites is on the ground floor.

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Horse-drawn carriages raced back and forth between the visitor’s centre and the Treasury. They looked really uncomfortable (no shocks).
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An eroded carving of a camel caravan in the Siq. You can see the merchant’s lower body on the right. The camel’s underbelly is still visible on the left. The rest you can roughly make out.
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EEEEEEEEE!!!! First peek at the Treasury!
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There she be! The Treasury (Al Khazneh/Al Khazna) is almost 40 metres high, carved out of the sandstone rock face nearly 2000 years ago. It is believed to be a mausoleum of King Aretas IV. There was a rumour going around that the urn at the top contained treasures. The local Bedouins tried shooting it down in the early 20th century, but no treasure was recovered.
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After the Treasury, the path opens up to the Street of Facades, a row of Nabataean tombs.

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We ate lunch in front of this little cutie and his sister. Cutest little dumpster pups.

January 24th: We woke up early and started our walk into Petra just after sunrise. We walked the Main Trail again to access the Al-Deir (Monastery) Trail.

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What a lucky bit of happenstance! A puppy!
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A cafe at the highest point along the trail.

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Al-Deir is larger than the Treasury but gets less attention. It was most likely a temple (and not a monastery).
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We bought bagged lunches at our hotel: pita, jam, cheese, cucumber, tomato, banana, apple, cookies, and water.
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The Great Temple. Use your imagination…

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On our way out. It’s just so cool!

January 25th: We were up early again. This time to catch the only bus (on a Friday) to Amman, in northern Jordan. Our friend Brent got us in contact with his friend who lives in Amman so we got to meet up with Ezra and his fiance Sara! We went out for a brunch buffet, rented a car, and drove to the Dead Sea.

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Salt crystal clusters littered the beach.
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We forgot the newspapers to read so we just pretended.
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We stopped for fries, hummus, and sodas at a viewpoint over looking the Dead Sea. It was very hazy.

January 26th: After breakfast, Ezra and Sara drove us to Jerash so we could check out the Roman ruins.

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Hadrian’s Arch, at the entrance.
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Many, many columns.

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Temple of Artemis
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The Oval Forum, enclosed by 56 columns.

After returning to Amman, we walked around, ate street falafels and Syrian ice cream, went wine tasting, and topped off a great day with nachos and beer!

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Roman theatre in Amman.

Ezra and Sara were so kind and welcoming. They showed us so many things and let us totally monopolize their weekend. Plus they were fun to be around! Thanks Brent 🙂

January 27th: We bused back to Aqaba and had mansef (traditional lamb, yogurt, and rice dish) for dinner. It was delicious!

Next, we headed to Indonesia!

 

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