Across Jordan in Seven Days
Jordan was jam-packed. We explored ancient ruins in the capital city of Amman, floated in the Dead Sea, visited what felt like Mars (Wadi Rum 🙃), and finished the trip wandering through Petra.
We flew directly from Cairo to Amman to continue our African/Middle Eastern adventures.
And I have to say, after the chaos that was Egypt, the calmness, organization, and infrastructure of Jordan was a welcomed sight 😅
If you're hesitant to travel to the Middle East, I think Jordan is a great country to introduce you to the region. They're far more progressive than some of their bigger neighbors, and they have a queen after all (who, ironically, is American-born!). It was clear how highly women's rights are held there.
Our view from our hotel in Amman. We were there just one night, but I wish it was longer! You can see Amman's famous citadel in the upper left corner, which we got to see closer up that following morning.
My first impression of Amman really reminded me of Athens... the white buildings, the terrain, the lively night life, and some ruins thrown in there as well.
The ancient Roman ruins atop the city of Amman made me feel like I was in... well, Rome.
And then there's Ken sitting on an ancient Roman chair... toilet? I dunno 😂
I wasn't sure about driving in Jordan, so as a safety net, I ended up hiring a private driver named Raed who sped us from point A to point B each day. He was lovely, and though I think we (mostly) could have managed it ourselves, there were a few times I was glad to have a local with us (e.g. with police check points and driving four hours into the literal middle of nowhere to get to the Wadi Rum desert).
And with that, Raed picked us up from Amman and we headed south to the Dead Sea.
Amman was a chilly 55 degrees with the wind, but descending to the shores of the Dead Sea just an hour away brought a balmy 70 degrees, and a thick, dense air that wasn't the same as true humidity... I don't know how to describe it.
We'd never been to a place this low before, so the atmosphere was just different. But in fact, we had made it to THE lowest spot on earth.
We stayed at the stunning Dead Sea Marriott Resort & Spa, and thanks to a little Gold Elite status 😏, we were upgraded to a suite with a view of the Sea from our balcony.
And the desert hills you see in the background? That's Israel just across the water! At night, we could see the entire city of Jericho lit up just to the north. Incredible!
You can see, particularly in the close-up photo of the water, that it almost had this oil-like sheen. The water was just thick... and weird, ha. Because of just how. much. freaking. salt there is in it.
And yes, it's true, you 100% float in the Dead Sea!
We next drove four or so hours out into the most desolate part of Jordan that there probably is—or at least that's what it felt like.
The Wadi Rum area is famous for its orange and red rock and served as the filming location for a handful of movies including Lawrence of Arabia and The Martian... because major Mars vibes.
And that Martian bubble right there was our accommodation for the night 👇
It was even pressurized to keep the whole thing upright, so there was a two-door entry system that sucked you in and made the loudest whooshing noise. It really made us feel like we were boarding a space ship each time we entered 😅
But after a four hour+ drive to get to the desert, we then hopped up into a dune buggy and were launched over sand dunes for around 20 minutes before our little bubble camp came into view. It was quite the journey!
At this point we were completely exhausted from our 16 hour days in Egypt, so we could have opted to ride some camels or head out on another dune buggy journey, but instead, we lounged, explored the terrain, and watched the sun set.
Another rough dune buggy ride back to the "mainland" and we were off with Raed again to the grand finale... Petra 😍
Travel is definitely not all glamorous—the photos are definitely a highlight reel, but the fatigue and lack of sleep that came with Egypt had finally caught up with us in the form of some lovely upper respiratory infections.
I've been sick while abroad more times than I'd like to admit (some definitely worse than others), but when you have a big hiking gig planned... it's definitely not ideal!
Petra is SO much more than the famous facade known as "the Treasury." It's an entire complex with hours of amazing hikes, look out points, and other stone-carved structures that are equally as impressive.
However, walking the 30 minutes just to get to this point had my lungs TRASHED. There was just no way.
We managed to climb out to the lookout point to see the Treasury in all its glory and put on some smiles for the photos 🙃, but I was more than ready to crawl back into bed at that point.
I would definitely go back to Jordan, and missing out on a big part of Petra may just be the perfect excuse to return ☺️