After being in a tranquil sojourn at the Dead Sea, we were ready for some spirituality. Waved a bye to Ishtar and embarked on a 30 minute drive to the sacred Mount Nebo – it is said that it was here that Moses was shown the Promised Land. A small byzantine church stands atop Mount Nebo, in commemoration.
Now that our spiritual tanks were tipping north, we made a run for the rum ! We were south of Jordan bound via the scenic route 35 (also known as the King’s Highway). There are other faster options to travel to south such as the desert highway or the Jordan valley highway, albeit faster they are pretty boring. Route 35 is the scenic route that takes you through the little towns like Kerak (which houses the magnificent Kerak Castle). The route also takes you through the mountain pass of Moujib with its breathtaking views over the dam. The local (Bedouins) are found outside each and every view point or any place where the tourists converge with make shift stall selling everything from the region’s handicrafts to the infamous Bedouin tea; The Bedouins are the original inhabitants of this place -they used to lead a nomadic time in the bygone era but with the growing popularity of Jordan as a tourist destination, they have aligned themselves to various touristic activities. Driving can be arduous at times on this route, but is totally worth it. Beautiful sunsets, Bedouin tea, dramatic landscapes, all the way.
After about a 4 hour drive, we were at our destination – Wadi Rum. A UNESCO world heritage site and one of the most visited destinations in Jordan. It is one of the most enchanting, captivating and unique places you would ever visit. Step out of your tent at night, under a gazillion stars and you would know what I am talking about. It is incomprehensibly vast and strikingly beautiful. One of nature’s best and most magnificent works. It is totally unscathed, unblemished, raw and natural; well, at this moment and when you are here you know how important it is to preserve it, the way it is. The government is doing its part but it is a collective responsibility and we can do our bit as well; , especially for the coming generations. The earliest human settlements (Neolithic settlements) in Wadi Rum date back to 8 century BC. Numerous Nabataean inscriptions, a Nabataean village and temple and various other artifacts found here all indicate that the valley has supported human settlements for over the past 10,000 years. Seems the magic and allure of the valley has been drawing in its inhabitants for centuries.
There is an exhaustive list of activities on offer here from rock climbing to camel treks and desert safaris; the list goes on. We took the camel trek and the jeep desert safari as we were there for only one night and strapped for time – two nights in this place is highly recommended; there is a lot you can do. In addition to a dramatic desert landscape that spans over 720 square kilometers, Wadi Rum is also a bird lovers’ paradise with over 100 recorded species. Golden Eagles, Doves, Sinai Rosefinch, etc. seem to love this place as well. The lights play an important role here; not only the landscapes changes from dawn to dusk to the night but the absolute clear skies here enhance its hues. The blue sky of daytime is spotless and come nightfall, well, you feel like you are walking under a colossal crystal chandelier, with the caressing light from the moon focused on you. It follows you. Apart from the skies, the cliffs look so dramatically different based on the time of the day and positioning of the Sun. Yellow to orange to fiery red to cool blue to almost purple. You could spend days in this place and keep on rediscovering the same thing over and over again.
Awe-struck and quite frankly dazed and spell bound with our experience here we were back in our car and Petra bound. A couple of hours, though beautiful wind farms on the way, lands you in Petra.Petra is as magical as it gets. Perhaps the most mystical place in Jordan. Well magic and mystics aside, it snowed while we were here – a rarity for this region. Woke up one morning to see the whole valley enveloped in white. Moreover, our hotel was a gem (the find of our trip) and it has been covered in an another blog https://luminoustrips.com/2019/07/16/the-petra-marriott/. When the weather settled, we did visit the famed Rose City. It lived up to every superlative ever said in its honour. It is simply stunning! Petra was the last stop on our itinerary. We drove about two and a half hours via Route 15 to the airport at Aman to return our car and hop on to a flight back.
Jordan is such a diverse country with so much to offer. We loved every moment of our time here. The people are so warm, friendly and hospitable. This country is certainly a one of a kind and a must visit!
Thank you for the memories