There are so many travel experiences that I dream about.
I want to go on safari in Kenya. I want to travel through Sri Lanka by train. I want to see the magic of the Galapagos with my own eyes. I want to see the hectic-ness of Papua New Guinea for myself.
There are so many things on my bucket list, and luckily for me, every now and then, I get a chance to experience something really really special.
I remember when I was a little munchkin of just 8 years old, I had watched Raiders of the Lost Ark with my dad, and then a few weeks later had rented Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom on VHS during school holidays. After watching Indy in the second film, I avidly waited for another opportunity to go to Blockbuster so that I could get yet another fix of the world’s most attractive archaeologist!
Eventually, I got a chance to watch The Last Crusade, and though it was my least favourite of all the three films (I had great taste, even as an 8 year old – and lets be honest – Raiders reigns supreme) I found myself absolutely fascinated by the stone city that The Last Crusade showcased.
As an older human with access to internet, I eventually learned that this stone city was in fact Petra, in Jordan. Ever since, visiting the lost city was something I dreamt and dreamt about.
So, earlier this year I finally made it to Jordan (and to Petra) but flights do not go directly to Petra, so I had to arrive into Amman and work my way South. As it turned out, the journey to Petra was much more than just a means to an end – it was an adventure all on its own!
I landed into Petra absolutely knackered and not off to an amazing start. I waited and waited in the airport for my luggage to come through and my backpack just never came! Eventually someone ushered me to an unmarked door and told me to look for it there, but it was all very odd. Then, I was pushed into a room with five men and told to identify which bag in the (large) pile was mine. I picked out my backpack and was then told to completely unpack the entire thing! I ended up being in there for over an hour while they searched through every crevice of my backpack. They never told me what they were looking for, but as it turned out, they were only looking for my camera lens! If they had communicated that it would have been a much easier process – but I digress.
I eventually made it to my hostel and proceeded to snooze half of my life away!
As a result of my sheer exhaustion, I didn’t end up exploring anywhere near as much of Amman as I had planned to, but what I did end up seeing was pretty gorgeous.
I particularly enjoyed visiting the citadel. Located up on a hill, it provided stunning views of the densely populated metropolitan city below, and the Roman ruins were absolutely breathtaking.
When it came time to leave Amman, I had two options regarding how to get to Petra. I could have gotten on the JETT bus and gone via the desert highway which would have been the cheaper option; but instead I chose to hire a private driver to take me from Amman to Petra via the famously scenic Kings Highway, making numerous stops along the way.
This was definitely a more expensive option, but I had spent a lot less than anticipated in Iran and Egypt, and as a result, had the cash spare to splurge a little. As it turned out, this was the perfect way to use the extra moolah, and I am so glad that I skipped the boring bus!
The first stop was magnificent Mount Nebo! Located just 36km south of Amman, this 817m peak is mentioned in the Hebrew bible as the place where Moses first got a glimpse of the promised land. In addition to being a place of religious significance, it is also absolutely stunning!
If you make the trip to Mount Nebo, you are sure to be rewarded with views of endlessly rolling hills, a picturesque smattering of emerald green shrubbery, and maybe even one of those magical blue skies that just seems to blend into the horizon.
There is a small church on the Mount Nebo lookout point, but as a non-religious human (and having been completely and utterly spoilt with all the amazing mosques in Iran) I was much more interested with the landscapes than I was with the church!
After I was satisfied that I had seen all I desired at Mount Nebo, it was time to hit the highway, and seriously, what a highway it is!
I had been told that the Kings Highway was picturesque, but holy fricking moly, I hadn’t expected it to be quite so breathtaking! The highway is curvy and meandering, but I doubt you’d want it any other way.
I mentioned above that I hired a private driver to help me travel from Amman to Petra. As it turned out, I struck gold on the driver front! Assam (pictured below) was the definition of perfection. This Jordanian gem was hilarious, kind and endlessly patient with me wanting to stop for photos. I honestly couldn’t have asked for anyone better!
Something I came to learn about Jordan is that there are dogs EVERYWHERE!
I certainly was not complaining. There isn’t much that makes me happier than time spent with excitable doggos, so this part of Jordanian life was one that I was extremely enthusiastic about.
As it turned out, it isn’t just dogs that are in abundance in Jordan; there are a veritable tonne of goats as well!
After not too long we came to the undeniably pretty Mujib Dam, which is located between the cities of Madaba and Kerak. This dam mostly serves Amman, which has massively helped a city with a seriously limited water supply.
Early in the arvo, we arrived at Kerak – a small city of just 21,000 people. The appeal of a visit to Kerak is Kerak Castle – a large crusader castle dating back to the 1140s!
Considering the age of the castle, it’s condition in the present day is exceptionally impressive. There are many surviving walls and smaller structures that all look only a few hundred years old!
As everywhere else in Jordan, humans are not the only beings present at this notable attraction – check out this super photogenic (and super pregnant) kitty!
I spent a good 45 minutes exploring Kerak Castle before jumping back into the car and getting back on the road!
We only made a few more quick stops after leaving Kerak.
The first was just on the side of the road to check out this uniquely coloured hill…
…the second was at the Wadi Dana lookout point…
…and the third was an enforced stop due to some unexpected traffic!
Eventually we made it to Wadi Musa – the town adjacent to the Lost City of Petra. I settled into my hostel and got an early night, as the next morning I would be rising before the sun to get to the Treasury by first light.
Getting to Petra: Flights arrive to Amman from many major airport hubs, from Amman you can either drive or bus to Petra
Petra Gate Hostel: A basic but comfortable hostel – dorm beds start at $16/night
Threads: My white top is by Tigerlily Swimwear
Camera: Images captured with an Olympus OM-D E-M1 in conjunction with M.Zuiko 12-40mm f2/8 lens
Remember: Skip the desert highway and go for the stunning Kings Highway!