Here’s how we started our love affair with timeless Jordan, a country that is steeped in majestic ancient monuments, stunning landscapes and sacred history.
After carefully curating the perfect itinerary for a drive in Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, we embarked on the great adventure with 27 participants, including the most adorable 2.9 year old kid, Ariana.
While Jordan is known for the ancient Nabataean city of Petra, carved from rock over 2000 years ago, which is one of the new 7 Wonders of the World, we took our time to explore the best of what this country has to offer. From the rocky desert of Wadi Rum to the drive to the lowest point on Earth – Dead Sea, our Jordan expedition was full of fun, food, uncountable photos and desert sand.
The expedition officially began from the capital of Jordan, Amman. What followed after the initial greetings was a night of endless laughter, intense conversations and a few too many drinks to help break the ice. The next day, we excitedly took charge of our specially arranged 4*4 and got exploring. We visited Madaba, City of Mosaics and Mount Nebo, which is one of the most revered holy sites of Jordan. We ended our day with a stay in Feynan EcoLodge, which is hailed as one of the top eco lodges in the world by National Geographic Traveler. This idyllic candle-lit lodge which was set deep in the heart of the mountainous Dana Biosphere Reserve, at the end of a rugged track, provided us all with some much needed peace and quiet.
Next day, we continued our drive to the moon like landscape of Wadi Rum Desert. Wadi Rum is the world’s richest and largest archaeological site set in a spectacular red sandstone landscape. Here everyone got a chance to drive in the desert for the first time. The vehicles constantly getting struck in the sand made the drive more challenging. Being well aware how most of our favourite films like Indiana Jones to Red Planet to The Martian are shot here amidst the vibrant desert of Wadi Rum, we all took turns to pose like an astronaut (Matt Damon) stranded on Mars (recreating the poster from The Martian).
While the day was dusty and dramatic, it was the night that left us all in awe as we witnessed the magic of blazing shooting stars. We tested our photography skills to capture the night sky before resting in our Bedouin style camps.
One of the highlight on this expedition was our lunches. We had a team who were driving 1 hour ahead of us and arrange picnic style lunches for us all. One time we had lunch in a gorge and another time overlooking the spectacular desert valley. This was also the first expedition where we didn’t have to open any of the packed Indian food that we took with us, despite having 10 vegetarian members. The food in Jordan was so good that we didn’t miss Indian food at all!
Next up was the much awaited visit to the lost city of Petra. Pick any travellers bucket list and we can assure you that Petra will be on the list. It was our time to tick this one of the 7 new wonders of the world out of our bucket list. After experiencing Petra by the night and during the day, we believe that there is nothing quite like seeing Petra lit by candles, moon and stars.
After satisfying the historian in us, it was time to relax, renew and refresh ourselves as we slather the Dead Sea mud on us. We drove through the Dead Sea highway parts of which are 350 metres below sea level. We witnessed remarkable scenery to reach the shores of Dead Sea making it the lowest point on earth!
Now who doesn’t want the odd feeling of floating without any effort at all? We certainly had a great time defying gravity in the mineral-rich waters of Dead Sea that has so far managed to lure in the beautiful Egyptian Queen, Cleopatra to Brangelina, and Nicole Kidman! Oh and we also posed for the obligatory reading-while-floating photos for our Instagram feed.
Jordan hasn’t been less than a paradise for us with warm and welcoming people, history, nature, beautiful sites and delicious food! Jordan has been the end of our 2017 expedition calendar and the start of many life-long friendships and ofcourse unforgettable memories.