THE TREASURY BUILDING AT PETRA


 

Jordan is Israel's closest and friendliest neighbor. Our border with Jordan is our longest border (400 KM) and it is only one of two countries which we can drive into and visit (the other is Egypt).  We've always wanted to visit Petra, but the logistics of visiting never worked out for us. Then we saw an ad for a 2 day bus trip with a guide whom we know and which started and ended about 2 minutes from our home in Haifa truly an offer we couldn't refuse. 

The itinerary for the trip was as follows:

 
 
 5 AM Friday morning

2 hour ride to the Bet She'an border crossing

Cross into Jordan

Transfer to a Jordanian bus, and pick up the Jordanian guide and Jordanian policeman who accompanied us for the entire 2 days

  Visit Jerash, a well preserved site of Roman ruins
  Visit Amman, capital of Jordan, after 2 days of snow
Drive to Petra for overnight stay Overnight at the Petra Marriot
Saturday morning  Visit Petra
  Visit Wadi Rum, jeep ride, Beduin lunch
Drive to Aqaba, Jordan's only seaport  
Cross border back into Israel at Eilat Bus ride home to Haifa (got home at 2 AM.)
 
 
 

 

 
 

 
     
 

Here are our general impressions of Jordan.

 
 
  • The people were friendly and we detected no hostility to us as Israelis.
  • It was lots colder than we expected. This winter has been cold and the few days prior to the trip brought snow to the region, but we really weren't ready for  sight of Amman after 10 inches of snow, or of icy roads, and the most impressive of sights Petra after a snowfall!

  • The food was what we expected and pretty much identical to the Arab diet in Israel, but not as good. We ate full meals at the restaurant in Jerash (tourist restaurant but tasty food), 2 disappointing meals at the best hotel in Petra (The Marriot Petra) and one Beduin lunch at Wadi Rum.

  • The clerical work at the border crossing was primitive and inefficient, although they did register our fingerprints.

  • If you bring in a cell phone other than Orange, it may be kept by the authorities until you leave the country.  This happened to us, but It was never explained why.

  • The country's standard of living is far below that of Israel's.

  • King Muhammad is doing his best to move the country forward and provide work for everybody.

 
     
 

 
     
 

Here are a few words about the places we visited.

 
     
 
 
 

Jerash is located about 48 KM north of Amman and is one of the largest and best preserved Roman cities outside of Italy. It is an easy day trip from Amman if you are staying there.
The city first gained prominence during the 4th century BC in the days of Alexander the Great, but had its golden age after the Romans arrived and turned it into a thriving metropolis of 20,000 citizens and one of 10 great cities of the Decapolis league. After the 5th century AD, a variety of conquests, and earthquakes took their toll and the city went downhill and eventually became virtually uninhabited.  It was rediscovered under the sand in the beginning of the 19th century but wasn't excavated seriously until the 20th century. 


BELOW:
JERASH ENTRY GATE

CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL
TO OPEN THE PHOTO ALBUM

 

Below are some links about Jerash:

 
     
     
 

 
     
 
 

Amman is the capital of Jordan and almost a third of the country's 6 million citizens live there. Unfortunately, due to delays on the Jordanian side of the border crossing, we arrived in Amman later than anticipated and therefore had no time to walk around or visit anything. All we did was drive around in our bus and see a city dealing with the aftermath of an unexpectedly heavy snowfall.

Below are some links about Amman.

THE TEMPLE OF
HERCULES IN AMMAN

   
     
     
 

 
     
 
 

BELOW:
SUNRISE AT PETRA

CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL
TO OPEN THE
PHOTO ALBUM

Petra is truly remarkable. It was also very cold until the midday sun warmed things up as it sits at an elevation of about 1200 meters. It is absolutely incredible how an entire city was carved from the mountain, and it certainly deserves its being a UNESCO world heritage site and being named one of the 7 new wonders of the world.  The city was inhabited by the Nabateans and flourished for over 400 years around the time of the Roman empire and the life of Christ.

 

When you visit Petra, you should be aware that there is a considerable walk from the entrance to the main attractions. There are several forms of transportation available, including camel, horse, or horse drawn "chariot". 
Right next to the ancient site of Petra is a small modern town called Wadi Mousa with about 20,000 people.  The town is called Wadi Mousa because it is associated with Moses and there is a site within the town with the rock Moses struck (according to the Biblical story) in order to bring forth water for the thirsty Israelites wandering in the desert. There are many small hotels scattered through the town and
It is the address used for most of the hotels in the area. As I mentioned above, we stayed at the 5 star Marriot Petra which is located on the edge of town and looks very nice, although the food is far from 5 stars.

     
 

Below are some links about Petra.

 
   
     
     
 

 
     
 
 
 

Wadi Rum is a fascinating area filled with fantastic desert landscape. There are all kinds of activities available here - climbing, hiking, jeep trips, and camping. However, overall there are few facilities although there is a brand new visitors center. The area is known  to the Beduins as the "Valley of the Moon", and the scenery is very similar to areas near Eilat on the other side of the Jordan rift.
Our group took a "jeep tour" to visit several beautiful places and finished with lunch in a Beduin tent. Be advised that the jeeps really aren't jeeps. They are open pickup trucks with outside seating in the back. It was bitterly cold driving at 40 or 50 KPH. You can see us shivering in the photo album.
If you do decide to visit here, either come on an organized tour, or
do some research to learn what is available and make arrangements in advance.

BELOW:
DESERT SCENERY AT
WADI RUM

CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL
TO OPEN THE
PHOTO ALBUM

     
 

Below are some links about Wadi Rum.

 
     
     
 

 
     
 

Below are some general links about visiting Jordan.

 
   
     
     
 

 
     
     
   
     

This is a page from our site "Travels with Steve & Alisa".  It describes one of the many trips we have made together.  We've built these pages not just to describe our trips, but to help other travelers if we can.  Please use the information we've provided freely, and let us know if you have any questions we might be able to answer about your own planned trip, or just let us know if we have helped you. Or perhaps you have some information we could add to the site. Visit our home page using the link to the right.                 

Keep traveling and enjoy your next trip!!                         ~Steve & Alisa~

FIRST UPLOADED: 26-FEB-2008