Part One - Jordan
Olive Baptista is a Specialty Tour, Luxury Trains & Cruise Consultant at UNIGLOBE Geo Travel in Nanaimo as well as an intrepid traveler and adventurer. Olive shares her adventures on a recent trip to Jordan and Turkey.
I just returned from a great tour of Jordan and Turkey where I traveled with a group of lady friends who are very adventurous and always eager to see and do things. Both countries offer a wide range of places to visit and explore,a variety of food and fabulous shopping . Some of us had visited India together in 2011 and hence I was aware of the things to add in the itinerary for each day.
Our flights were out of Vancouver so we headed out the night prior and stayed at the Accent Inn Vancouver Airport . The friendly and helpful staff makes it very convenient for a stopover.
Soon after our arrival Wadi Rum and a ride in the desert up and down the dunes in an open jeep got the adrenaline flowing. Some of us jumped out of the jeep and tried to walk up the dunes. The sand was heavy and the trudge up was exhausting. It was fascinating to see the young guide run up. We felt age was definitely catching up with us as our steps were slow but sure.
The evening camel ride to see the sunset was a great photo opportunity.
The highlight of our trip to Jordan was Petra, a beautiful city carved in the mountain and now a Enesco Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The Petra Marriott hotel was luxury plus and a great hotel to use on the visit.
The tour operator used on the trip was Bestway Tours and Safaris. They are a great operator to deal with and they have excellent ground handlers.
The walk through the gorge which cuts through the mountain to Petra valley is quite long and deep with rock formations on either side that are quite spectacular with all the colours that have formed through years of erosion.
The first glimpse of the Treasury as we exited through the gorge was breathtaking. The sand was heavy and the trudge exhausting. We spent the day walking through the excavations that cover a vast valley. The next large structure is the Monastery, built higher up on the slope of the mountain and dates back to the 1st century BC. There are around 300 steps leading to the entrance.
After our trek through the site in 35C temperatures our guide convinced us to visit a Hammam (Turkish Bath) for a complete treatment. After paying and entering the change rooms we were thoroughly surprised to see that it was not restricted to women only – a fact our tour guide conveniently forgot to mention. He had a good laugh when we met him again for dinner. We related our experience when we suddenly noticed the men in the steam room. Needless to say it was quite a struggle and creative experience to cover up with the skimpy little wraps they provide. In the end we felt they were never going to see us again so that was not so bad.
Dinner was interesting. The guide had a special Jordanian meal prepared for us at a local restaurant. After refreshing lemonade
loaded with mint we were served a delicious meal on a large tray. The lamb was served over some saffron rice. We were given a jug of buttermilk and yogurt which we had to pour over the lamb. We then received a demonstration of eating with our fingers. This was a merry mess with food on our faces and all over around the table. We looked like kids after a messy spaghetti and meatball dinner. It was an excellent way to end our visit to Jordan