Saturday, March 3, 2018

Travel Talk Essential Jordan Tour, Part 5: Dead Sea and Kerak Castle

After our tour stops in Wadi Rum and Petra, we left Wadi Musa to stay in Amman again, with a couple of day trip/ stops in between. The Dead Sea and Kerak Castle trip actually took place on two different half days.

After our morning Petra run, we left Wadi Musa for Amman, stopping to see Kerak Castle in between. As with other castles here, Kerak sits on top of a hill with a nice view of the city.
Kerak castle
Kerak is a Crusader castle that was constructed in the 1140s (fairly young compared to all the other stuff we've seen!). In the 1180s the castle was captured by the muslim Sultan, Saladin. Then it was captured by rebels. Then by the Egyptians. It was also the site of a terrorist attack. Quite the tumultuous history, no?
Kerak castle

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Travel Talk Essential Jordan Tour, Part 4: Petra!

So far I've talked about my Travel Talk Essential Jordan tour in Amman, Jerash, and Wadi Rum desert. On day 4, we left Wadi Rum and made our way for what is (to me) the highlight of the trip: Petra! Petra is the ancient Nabatean city built into the sandstone rocks and cliffs.

So, all I knew about Petra before was The Treasury, which you and I have seen on many Instagrams and of course, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. I didn't realize how big Petra really was! It is 264 sq km (102 sq miles). So what I'm basically saying is, be prepared for a hike or at least a long walk.

The main trail goes from the Visitor's Center to the start of the steps to the Monastery, and it is 4km long (2.5 miles) - that does not include the steps though.

From the visitor's center you will walk through The Siq. It's a 1km crack in the mountain so you are walking in a narrow corridor surrounded by tall sandstone cliffs. There are a few things to see in the Siq, a taste of what's to come. At the end is a view you might have seen on Instagram as well. The narrow corridor opening up to the impressive Treasury!
And there it is, in full view. I wonder how long it took the Nabateans to carve this into the cliffs.
Now, if you really want to see the monastery but don't think you can cut it hiking up the steps, they do offer donkey rides (I'm not sure how much, depends on how good you are at negotiating, but one of the people on our tour group got one for 10JD). She did say riding the donkey down the stairs was a bit scary! Anyway, I decided to be healthy and hiked it.

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