Jordan & Syria April 2009

April 25, 2009 - May 10, 2009
Saturday, April 25 - Bilbao - Paris - Amman
Sunday, April 26 - Amman - Desert Castles - Amman
Monday, April 27 - Amman - Madaba - Mount Nebo - Dead Sea - Kerak - Petra
Tuesday, April 28 - Petra
Wednesday, April 29 - Petra - Wadi Rum - Aqaba
Thursday, April 30 - Diving in Red Sea, Aqaba
Friday, May 1 - Aqaba - Damascus
Saturday, May 2 - Damascus
Sunday, May 3 - Damascus - Krak des Chevaliers - Amrit - Lattakia
Monday, May 4 - Lattakia - Ugarit - Qala'at Salah ad-Din - Aphamea - Hama
Tuesday, May 5 - Hama - Dead Cities - Deir Samaan - Aleppo
Wednesday, May 6 - Aleppo
Thursday, May 7 - Aleppo - Qala'at Ja'abar Lake Al-Assad - Rasafa - Halabiyya - Deir ez-Zur
Friday, May 8 - Deir ez-Zur - Palmyra
Saturday, May 9 - Palmyra - Bosra - Jerash - Amman
Sunday, May 10 - Amman - Paris - Bilbao

Petra The TreasurySalaam Alaykum!!!

For a while I've wanted to travel to Jordan. After seeing pictures of Petra and of people scuba diving in the Red Sea, I knew that this country was a "must visit".

I can definitely say that after being there, and in Syria for 2 weeks, the pictures don't do it justice!!!!

We decided that spring would be a good time to visit Jordan, as it wouldn't be too hot (it is a desert after all). As we were planning our route through Jordan we had heard of people who went to Syria also and loved it. So, we decided to plan a route through Jordan and Syria.

Floating in the Dead SeaOut of the two, Jordan was my favourite place to visit. It's all desert, but it has so many different sights. The Desert Castles were impressive in that they were in the middle of the desert with nothing else around and so well preserved. From Mt. Nebo we had wonderful views of the Jordan Valley, Jordan River, Jericho, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea. We floated in the Dead Sea. This was a really unique feeling. It's so funny because you sit down in the water, but your butt never hits the bottom!!! And when you to try to stand up, it takes a lot of strength to push your legs down against the water and get them on the floor of the sea. I had a Dead Sea mud scrub, too!!! I had mud rubbRed Sea Divinged all over my body, which is a really thick, black mud. When it's dried you go into the Dead Sea and when it comes off it leaves your skin so soft!!!! Petra...there are no words to describe's one of the most beautiful sights I've ever seen. Pictures do not do justice to what Petra is like in person. The Wadi Rum Desert was really fun. We took a full day 4x4 jeep tour there. We climbed the rock bridges, ran down the red sand dunes and watched the sunset. And I went scuba diving in the Red Sea!!!! We explored a sunken ship, saw a lot of plant life and a lot of clown fish (Nemos!!!).

Syria was also very nice, but a lot of the same types of sights. Mainly they were ruins, castles and forts. They are so well preserved that it's amazing. We also visited the souqs of Damascus and Aleppo. It was fun watching all the people buying and selling. There was everything from spices to meat to clothes to make-up to fabric. Basically anything and everything is sold there!!!! Palmyra was also a beautiful place to visit!!!

From all the things we saw and did, I have two parts of the trip that stand out:

    Wadi Rum DesertJordan: One of the things I've always wanted to do is run down a sand dune. As we prepared for this trip I had read about and seen pictures of the red sand dunes in the Wadi Rum Desert. When we finally got to them during our 4x4 tour, I was so excited!!! We climbed to the top (it's not very easy walking on a sand dune), took a few pictures and started the run down. Satcha went down 1/3 of the way so that when I ran he could take pictures of me. Then I went down 2/3 of the way so that I could do the same for him. And then, the last 1/3 of the way we ran down together. This was the most fun!!! We held hands as we ran down the sand dunes. My legs were out of control running so fast!!! I don't think I've laughed so hard!!! I felt like a little kid!!!!
Camel Ride!!!
    Syria: As we prepared for this trip I was questioning whether I should ride a camel or not. I had heard that it was really uncomfortable, so I wasn't too convinced. But, when we got to Jordan and I saw the camels I knew it was an experience that I needed to have!!!! In Jordan there were a lot of opportunities at the sights, but since it's a very touristy thing to do, the camel owners ask for a lot of money for the rides. So, I left Jordan without having ridden a camel. I thought that I really missed my opportunity because as we travelled through Syria we weren't seeing any camels (the only tourist sight in Syria with camel rides was Palmyra). While we were driving from Deir ez-Zur to Palmyra Naym, our driver in Syria, noticed 2 Bedouins with their camels (there were over 100) walking close to the side of the road. He asked if we wanted to stop and take pictures. We did, so we stopped and got out. While we were taking pictures he said to me that 1 of the Bedouins was going to get a camel for me to ride (I had mentioned earlier in the week how I wanted to ride a camel)!!!! So, I got to ride a camel in the middle of the Syrian Desert and not in a touristy way. For me this was so original and one of the best experiences in Syria!!!!
The people of Jordan and Syria were very friendly and hospitable. Not once did we feel danger or unwelcome as visitors. I definitely recommend visiting these countries, not only for the beautiful sights, but also to experience their welcoming and kind culture and society.

Salaam Alaykum!!!

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Maureen said...

Welcome Home, can't wait to see the pictures of your travels.
Love, Maureen