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So much history, culture, joy and fun

Jul 18,2020 - Last updated at Jul 18,2020

As international travel is generally suspended, except in special circumstances, and as the COVID-19 virus is hitting several countries in the world with venom; internal tourism provides an excellent option for those in the country who are willing to seize the opportunity.

Last week, my family members and I took leave from work, packed, settled in our car and headed south.

We took the scenic Dead Sea Road aiming to arrive at the Dana Reserve first. We had not been there for some time and wanted to have a look, before we proceeded to our hotel in Petra.

A few kilometers past the Dead Sea, we turned left climbing the beautiful Tafila Hills. Awesome views of the Jordan Valley and the hills of Palestine. A must to pull over just before the top and take some pictures.

At the Tafila juncture, we took a right on the historic King’s Highway and drove till we came to the Dana camp site. At the entrance on top of the hill, we were greeted by two friendly staff members. We took an update from them as we were enjoying the breathtaking scenery of the camp at the foot of the valley and the adjacent hills and as we were sipping the sweet tea which one of them made for us.

We then headed to the guest house which we found had been expanded and upgraded; extremely elegant. After a tour of the facilities, we resumed our journey to Petra on King’s Highway, stopping briefly at the Shobak Castle.

When we arrived at the hotel in Wadi Mousa, situated at the top of a hill overlooking Petra, we had a relaxing afternoon and evening, sitting at the balcony enjoying the unique view of the magnificent Nabatean city, one of the seven wonders of the world, the sunset, and then the moon and the stars, and listening to a Bedouin singer from the area.

The second day we spent inside Petra walking, hiking, riding, chatting with people, inspecting all major attractions. So much positive energy, even though the numbers of the visitors have lessened dramatically. Back at the hotel, we enjoyed another sublime afternoon and evening overlooking the ancient ruins.

The following day we headed to Aqaba, but stopped briefly at Wadi Rum for a tour among the magical sands and mountains.

We spent four days in Aqaba relaxing at the hotel, enjoy the lively beach, visiting the small but rich aquarium at the University of Jordan’s Marine Station, and sampling fresh fish dishes at several restaurants.

We had a great time, and on the way back we agreed that the experience was as thrilling and special as any of the best experiences we had during our several outstanding trips abroad, with one clear advantage: sparing us air travel which consumes so much energy and resources.

Everything was up to expectations and even better: the food, the lodging, the service, the people, even the weather.

But what truly stood out was the history of the places we visited. So much prehistoric, historic, Greek, Roman, Biblical, Koranic sites. And the so many wonders of nature and culture: the one and only Dead Sea, the magnificent Petra, and the spectacular Wadi Rum: where can you find places like these within a couple of hours’ drive?

Important also wherever we went were: the health consciousness on part of the staff, the cleanliness, physical distancing, the observation of health guidelines in dress, in food and beverage, in reception, etc.

Jordan lived up ably to the COVID-19 challenge, and we are now reaping some significant outcomes, high among which is the large window of internal tourism.

Jordan, now as well as before the COVID-19 virus outbreak, has so much to offer in terms of mammoth historical events, natural wonders, geographic and topographic variety, and weather: in the south, the north, the east, the west, and in between.

Just get behind the wheels and go. No visa, no obligatory air travel, no jet lag, no travel agents, and no long distances. So much history, culture, joy and fun.

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