Category Archives: Jordan

The Rest of Jordan

Don’t hate me for putting in the rest of Jordan into one post. I have a few posts of the UAE that I wanted to share with you, so I want to wrap this spring break up! There were three more things we did in Jordan beyond what you already read. 1. Karak Castle. 2. Bethany Beyond the Jordan and 3. Little Petra.

Why no Dead Sea you ask…IT. WAS. CLOSED! Bizarre I know. How can one close a body of water? There was a Arab World Leader’s Summit while we were there, so the road and hotels were closed:( Oh well.

Here is the Karak Castle slide show. I said it once (twice?) and I’ll say it again… I love castles with no roped off areas. Are we allowed to follow this ancient hallway? Always yes.

Also, shout out to Matt. Nice photos!

Not pictured it the photos was the straight drive up a mountain to get to this place. I swear you would burn a clutch out (does that sound like I know mechanics?) in one month (one day if I drove) in this place.

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After a long drive back from Petra, we stopped at Bethany Beyond the Jordan for a tour. Since the River Jordan is the border between Jordan and Palestine this was a military controlled area. In one spot, there was a rope across the river!


This is the Baptismal site of Jesus by John the Baptist. The ruins are of 4 churches that have stood here over time. Originally, this was part of the River Jordan, but the river has naturally moved. Now, the site is still over a fresh water spring. Matt went for a dip in the River Jordan where it lies now.


This is the River Jordan now, and you are looking into Palestine. The church in the distance is across the border.

These last photos are of Little Petra, which is about 20 minutes from the Petra entrance. Remember, Petra is a city, is goes quite a ways. We went here on the first day we arrived at our camp. I consider it a little teaser of the big event.


What you see from the road. It really gets you pumped up for the adventure that awaits!


…it wasn’t. Haha but great advertising.


I loved spotting little stair cases high in the rocks. I like spending time imagining what was there in its prime.

Sheep Crossing

I really wanted this one to be its own post, just to take you back to the charming Congo days. This photo deserves it’s day in the sun!

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Traffic Jam



Amman, Jordan

Before going to Jordan we were told by several travelers to skip Amman. Apparently the Traffic is bad and there is more to see outside of Amman. Two people told us that Amman was not to be missed. “A little Greece,” “Charming culture.” We opted to risk it and head into Amman’s center. Though, we cabbed to our hotel in the center, and only rented a car once we were headed out. It was a good decision I think. The roads are a bit confusing.

We really loved our time spent in Amman. It had a charming hustle and bustle. We walked along the streets then BAM! ancient ruins, right there!


Roman Theatre right in the center of town. Apparently they still occasionally do shows here. The stairs were a bit treacherous! (RARE! A picture of Matt!)

On our first evening, we signed up for a cooking class at Beit Sitti. A family run business in a charming house. This was our first introduction to how adorable Amman is.


These are the walking directions from our hotel to the cooking class. Great 8 minutes. Upon walking: STRAIGHT UP! some of these little turns are actually staircases. Little narrow stairs to expedite your trek from street to street. Many of the stairs are painted and decorated.

The location of the cooking class was an old family home. We learned that Amman is built on 7 mountains. (Hence the 7 pointed star on the Jordanian flag) The charming buildings, narrow roads and stairs were reminiscent of Mallorca a bit, and maybe what I imagine Santorini to be. (Donkey’s included, but not in Amman anyone…I don’t think)


I loved this art work on the stairs right outside the house.

The cooking class was lovely. We made a traditional rice and chicken dish, a salad, pita bread, hummus and a nest like dessert. My favorite was the smoked rice. They put charcoal in the rice pot to smoke it, then added almonds and raisins to it. The chicken also had a delicious sauce. We had rice and chicken almost every evening (once it was lamb and rice) and I didn’t tire of the different flavors and sauces.

Below is a utensil chandelier and a plate wall. I took these because I think my mom would like them. And of course, the food.

This was a great night to introduce Jordanian food. It was delicious. For breakfast everyday there was hummus. Everyday. It’s possible I could tire of hummus:)

After our evening in Amman we headed to Petra, but we came back for our final night and day. In the evening we sought out the “hip” street with some cute shops, restaurants and roof top hangs. This made us love Amman even more! I love an up and coming area.

Our last day we went to the Amman Citadel: various ruins that sat on top of yet another mountain. It was amazing how many times that area changed power. There were ruins from so many different centuries. Maybe if I was more fluent in history I could go into detail. I’m just going to spout words like Roman, Byzantine, pre 1st century. I hope that suffices.


Here is a view of part of Amman. You can see the Roman theatre down the hill. If you want a wider view, and view of the citadel, check out this panorama that Matt took. (Click the circle arrow in the top right corner. Then, hold your mouse to move around on a computer.) Panorama

Above all, something I really enjoyed about Amman was the walkability of the city. It was a fun place to stroll and window shop.

Hopefully I’ll be back soon for more Jordan…and more UAE. I’ve got some local topics queued up.

Down the Rabbit Hole

When we visited Fujairah, I wrote how cool it was to visit a castle that wasn’t roped off. We visited two more castles in Jordan that captured the same experience. In a later post, once those pictures are edited, I’ll post about Kerak Castle. For now, enjoy my favorite anecdote from our trip. Seriously, such a surprise adventure…

We visited Montreal Castle in Shoubak, Jordan one afternoon. Just like the first castle we had been in, this crusader castle was quite damaged by earthquakes, but it had some really cool quirks. First, we walk into one castle room where they had collected tons of stone art, pots etc from the area, then in the next room there were wooden boxes full of writing tablets! Think Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade when he finds the coffin with the tablet about the location of the Holy Grail. All I wanted was to pull out a piece of paper and some charcoal to capture a rubbing of the words! We don’t have pictures of this dark room, so I hope my description is sufficient.

Next, we come across a stairwell that goes down into the dark. Not roped off? Let’s go! Down…down..down….DOWN…ummm it’s still going. How far do we go? But, really is it safe? Thank goodness for this cellphone flashlight! Still going! We can’t even see the light of the entrance.

I was the first one to chicken out, so Matt and I turned around. AND about halfway back up…the light on the phone goes out, so we had to stumble out. Alas it always remains a mystery?


As we re-emerge, a group said that they have a guide who is taking them down. IT COMES OUT DOWN THE MOUNTAIN!!!!! There’s a way out! So naturally, we joined them.

Boys and Girls, I’m telling you, what a find! Apparently this route was originally leading down to the well, the water supply for the castle. People would have to walk the 200m or so down to the well, then back up again. There were little notches in the wall for their torches too!

This time with our guide we ventured down the steps and down..and down and so on. It really goes a long way. We were essentially walking down the mountain…inside the mountain. At the end, we climbed a ladder and popped out on the road!

I’m just so tickled by this little find that would likely NEVER happen in Europe or North America without headlamps and helmets.

Check back soon for more Jordan themed blogs.