Aqaba and Karak Castle

                                                                                                  Aqaba

Aqaba is a port city (mostly a resort town) on the Red Sea’s Gulf.  It is the most southern point of Jordan and is bordered by Saudi Arabia, Israel and Egypt.   Inhabited since 4000 B.C., it’s home to the Islamic-era Aqaba Fortress and the adjacent Aqaba Archaeological Museum.  Since these antiquities truly pale in comparison to some of the other treasures that Jordan has to offer, most come to Aqaba for the  beach resorts.   The sand is very fine and golden, the water is warm (even at the end of November) and windsurfing and other water sports abound.  Aqaba is considered a top destination for scuba divers, with notable dive sites including the Yamanieh coral reef in the Aqaba Marine Park, south of the city.

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Mars on Earth – Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

Entering Wadi Rum was a slow motion experience of leaving earth and entering a totally different world.  The sand slowly starts to turn a deeper and darker hue of red and the surrounding dramatic sandstone and basalt mountains jut out of its sandy floor.  Camels walk about the desert with or without accompanying owners under the bluest of skies as they have for thousands and thousands of years….

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Petra, magnificent Petra!

Treasury  – Sunrise

We decided to get up at 5 am and make it down to the Petra visitor center for 6 am when it opens.  There is a small but very informative museum there (free) which we visited the night before.  We wanted to stake everything out to be fully ready for our big Petra day – something that we have been looking forward to for a really long time.  We had pre-purchased the basic Jordan Pass (prior to entering Jordan) which covers most tourist attractions and the Jordan entry visa +1 day in Petra.  There is an option to add to your 1 day in Petra and purchase an extra day for $5/day up to 2 extra days.

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Amman, Ajloun and Jerash

Jerash

Arriving in Amman after a month in Egypt was a refreshing start.  We rented a car and were on our way to the Holiday Inn Express where we recuperated from the pollution and craziness of Cairo.   We arrived with our Jordan Pass in hand – which we highly recommend purchasing prior to entering Jordan as part of it’s fee is the Jordan entry visa.  You have a choice of 1 – 3 days in Petra and the pass covers most sights including the entry fee to Wadi Rum.  All the sights that we visited were part of the Jordan Pass except for a few churches in Madaba and Mt. Nebo.  

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10 days in Cairo and Alexandria

The Great Pyramid of Giza

Flying over Cairo was a vision of sand – mazes of uniform brown buildings creating domino like displays wherever you looked.  Driving into Cairo was an assault on our senses – the smell of diesel and burning plastic, the loud sound of never ending horns, the heat through the haze of pollution…45 minutes later we were in the serenity of our hotel at the Holiday Inn Express MaadiContinue reading “10 days in Cairo and Alexandria”

Crete

Our last 10 days in Greece were spent on the northern part of it’s largest island – Crete.  With thousands of years of culture and history, there are many pockets to experience and enjoy.  There is a big contrast between such a large island and the smaller less developed ones that we visited earlier.  My heart is with the less developed and less touristy islands as they are cleaner and much quieter.   Continue reading “Crete”

Paros and Antiparos

Paros quickly become one of my favorite islands of the Cyclades. Located in the heart of the Aegean Sea, Paros has many traditional villages showing off the unique Cycladic architecture with cobblestone streets, whitewashed sugar houses and blue-domed churches. The beaches are famous for their exotic turquoise  crystal clear water and the warm golden sand.  It is very easy to get around the island on an ATV and they are readily available at the port for about $25/day.   Given that we only have a small roller and a backpack to house all of our possessions, it makes traveling on an ATV very easy and allows us to see areas that a regular vehicle would have trouble accessing. Continue reading “Paros and Antiparos”