After a brief 10 days of guiding in Israel, I joined up with two new friends to trek from Israel into Jordan.
I felt like traveling to Jordan, as well as other Arab nations, was a very important bit of travel to do after touring Israel. With such a heated political situation between many different groups in the area, everybody has their own opinion on what’s going on, who’s wrong and right, and what should be done. I was eager to experience more of the Arab view of the conflict in Israel, as well as experience the culture and country in general. Luckily for me, two of the participants I had been guiding the previous 10 days on Birthright decided to come along with me for the first few days of my trip.
Starting out, we had a basic plan, but left most of our specific itinerary to chance – we all traveled with a small backpack and minimal gear, making it easy to move around and adjust our itinerary. Also of note, during this trip I was shooting photos with my iPhone 5 and Sony RX100M2
Starting out, Chelsea, Hannah and I met up at the Florentine Backpackers Hostel in Tel Aviv, Israel – a fantastic hostel, with good basic accommodations, a lively and social rooftop, and within easy walking distance to the old town of Jaffa. Of note, Jaffa has some great street art, and a lively bar and shopping district.
To get to Jordan, we took a Taxi on a Saturday all the way to the Sheik Hussein northern border crossing, which was uneventful and easy to get across.
Finally, in Jordan!
After crossing over into Jordan, we hopped another taxi into Amman, with a quick lunch stop. Even stopping at a roadside restaurant, we were immediately impressed with the awesome food in Jordan – definitely a step above the Israeli fare we’d been eating the weeks prior.
Once in Amman, we found the Farrah Hotel, a basic, but comfortable accommodation, where we had our own 4-bunk room.
The first two days Chelsea, Hannah and I spent exploring Amman. Sites visited included the Citadel, Roman theater, various shops and tea spots, the mosque, and the world’s largest (freestanding) flagpole. Additionally, we found a bar or two on Rainbow street that served beer – which is quite a rare thing in Jordan. After two days exploring, the three of us felt comfortable walking around, and generally knew our way around the few neighborhoods we explored.
Chelsea checking out some books
Selling dyed chicks and chickens
An Egyptian weaver, making a rug while watching camel racing in Abu Dabi on TV
On our way to the roof for sunset, we saw this guy
Sunset in Amman
Black tea with mint, all the time.
World’s Largest Flagpole! (on left)
Temple of Hercules
After two days of exploring Amman, and with our new friend Sarah, I rented a car and the four of us took a road trip east on Route 10, into Jordan’s eastern desert. We would have driven all the way to Iraq if we could have, but unfortunately didn’t have the time or security detail. Instead, we did an incredible loop through the desert, stopping at epic desert castles and a tranquil desert oasis.
Desert Castles, quite spectacular
This tea was made from sage and other stuff from a nearby tree, and we were told it would cure Hannah’s headache.
The harsh eastern desert – but we had fun!
After day three, Hannah and Chelsea traveled back to Israel, and I traveled solo down to explore Petra. Petra was an incredible experience, and the rock formations were truly incredible. In Petra, I stayed a night at the Valentine Hotel, and then moved further south to live with a group of Bedoiun at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp.
Tea break, looking to the south.
Petra by night was a great experience – a bit crowded, but sneaking away from the crowd and exploring the Siq in the dark was mystifying.
After a week of exploring Jordan, I got a little antsy to get out of the desert, and hitched a ride with with a guy from the Bedouin camp back up to the Amman airport. Next stop, Beirut, Lebanon.