Sometimes, the least of expectations brings you the most of happiness. I experienced this during my recent visit to Jordan.
Right from my childhood, I was always interested in visiting new places and my dad encouraged this by taking us to most of parts of India during the summer vacations. He always made it a point to visit places of historical and mythological and in some cases, religious significance. As I grew up, I wanted to visit different countries. But marriage and motherhood brought a pause in the travel plans. My son is a bit of a picky eater so I was not risking any long holidays. Now that he is 4, we wanted to give it a go. The 5 –day long Eid weekend provided a perfect opportunity and the country we decided to visit was Jordan. And I am glad we did.
After about a dozen or so e-mails back and forth with our tour consultant we decided on the following itinerary:
Day 1: Dead Sea
Day 2: Madaba, Mount Nebo and a cooking class at Petra Kitchen
Day 3: Petra and Wadi Rum
Day 4: Jerash, Ajlun and Amman city
We landed in Amman at the Queen Alia International Airport on a warm sunny day. We were met at the airport by one of the representatives of the travel agency. After completing the payment formalities, we were handed over to our driver cum guide, Fares. He made us feel so welcome and comfortable that within minutes we were chatting as if we knew each other for a long time. One of the reasons we enjoyed Jordan as much as we did was Fares. He was very well informed and patiently told us the history of each and every place we visited and top of all that, his choice of restaurants were superb keeping in mind that we were vegetarians.
DAY 1 – THE DEAD SEA
The Dead Sea is about 75 km from the airport. The Dead Sea is nearly 400 mtrs below the sea level and there is a sign on the road from where we start going below the sea level.
One can feel the pressure in the ears as we go below. We arrived at our resort by about 2 PM. Just as we were settling in our room, the guy who had helped us with our luggage came back saying that he didn’t like the view our room provided ( it was facing the entrance) and he has arranged to shift us to a sea facing room. ( Its another thing that we had just tipped him generously) But to be fair to him, the new room had an amazing view of the Dead Sea and the mountains of Jerusalem in the distant.
The view from the room
After a nice lunch and a nap later, we went to the Dead Sea.Dead Sea, as the name suggests is not a sea but a huge lake. It is so salty ( the salt content is about 8 times the level of the oceans) that there is no life in the waters and one can actually float in the water. The salt is the result of the evaporation which has been taking place over years. Having read about it in school, I was eager to experience the floating myself. I was a bit scared initially, because I can’t swim but with a little help from my hubby, I was able to float.
Here, I am floating in the waters of the Dead Sea: (I look a bit uncomfortable because I am. I was trying to float in the water without getting my hair wet. I had just set my hair the day before and I did not want to spend the rest of the tour with an unruly mane)
The mud of the Dead Sea and the waters supposedly has many minerals and has healing properties. Visitors come here to alleviate their allergies, skin rashes etc. Here you can see me with the mud pack on my body.
A sumptuous dinner and a peaceful sleep ended our first day in the amazing country of Jordan and the tour got only better from here.
Notes for vegetarian travellers:
- We had veg pizza for lunch
- The dinner was a buffet. We had pita bread along with hummus(chickpea dip) , moutabel( grilled eggplant dip) and fattoush ( veg salad) followed by plain white rice with grilled vegetables.
( To be continued)