Jordan: The Spirit of Legends
Travel across the Jordanian desert to discover Petra and many other wonders of the Nabateans alongside Archaeology experts.
"Andrea did a wonderful job designing an itinerary to suit three generations of diverse interests, and was flexible and responsive to last minute changes and requests. He showed us many hidden treasures of this beautiful region that would have missed we're it not for him."
- Heather on her journey in Italy
A possible, beautiful itinerary for you
Not Bad for a Drive to the Hotel
Arrival in Amman. It is a populous, modern city that bustles with activity in a businesslike manner. However, as you dig deeper, you discover that the past seems to want to burst through the surface. In plain sight, you can enjoy ancient monuments and remains from civilisations so ancient that they seem a distant echo in the history of the World. As if a revelation, the Ammonites seem to whisper from three-thousand years ago; you hear the pious prayer of the Byzantines, who thought they were building a celestial city; you hear of the Crusaders, of the Ottomans, of modern Jordanians a true congregation of culture and destiny. Underneath it all, you seem to hear the quiet rumble of the Bedu, those who have endured through the ages.
You set out from your luxury hotel in Amman to the South West. You are confronted with your first real taste of the desert. The Jordan Mountains are a subtle work of nature’s artistry. It would appear that they are not very colourful, but you soon discover that it is all about the nuance. The desert is opening up for you. You arrive at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on Earth, and a mysterious place that befuddled the Romans: A sea where you don’t sink? What a barbaric proposition! As you dip into the curious waters you have to concede they were exaggerating a bit: it’s actually great fun. Read more
The Silk Road
Today you are treading on history, quite literally. From the Dead Sea you head to Madaba along the King’s Highway, an ancient route that was a fundamental part of the Silk Road. In antiquity, whoever commanded this road was master of global trade… which leads to wealth of a different kind. In Madaba, famous for its mosaics, you get in touch with a conception of the world that is very alien to our own. Nevertheless, there is something moving and deeply human in the way these mosaics configure the Realm Seen and the Unseen. Even for those who are not religious, the views of Wadi Al-Mujib are breathtaking and inspire a sense of awe. The day ends in Kerak, an ancient castle that saw the drama of the Crusades, and has remained to bear witness.
The Legend of Petra
Petra is one of those places that can only be experienced, and all descriptions seem blasphemous. So I, respectful of the power of legends, shall describe nothing but your approach to this portentous wonder. Your horse is saddled and ready to go. It is an unruly mount, because you wouldn’t want for things to be too easy, not today. Soon you come to terms with your horse, who, despite all his experience in the desert, seems awed and nervous to enter the deep crevice that soon surrounds you. The temperature drops immediately, and the deep shadow accentuates the colours of the desert rock. The wind has stopped, but a breeze, like a breath, caresses your skin softly. There is silence, and a glimpse of the divine.
Lessons in History
One day in Petra would not be enough. Today you explore the ancient Nabatean Capital alongside your expert guide. You soon learn to read the signs in the stones, to interpret the images, and the wonders of Jordan are made clear to you. History seemed like a distant, abstract thing. Today you find out, it is still here, with us.
Today you explore another marvellous Nabatean site, Siq al-Barid or Little Petra. You then make your way to Wadi-Rum, one of Jordan’s most breathtaking desert sites. Here you venture on a Jeep, or a camel, or, for the adventurous ones, you go for a trek atop the arch-like rock formations. Your adventure continues until sunset. At twilight, you join your Bedouin hosts on their tent. They offer you tea (it means you are welcome). They share with you their food, their hospitality, and they tell their stories and their legends. Under the stars, their words seem to come to life, like sparks from a fire, against the darkness of the infinite sky.
The strange rocks and desert landscape of Dana Nature Reserve hold many surprises. You hike along the rocks and catch glimpses of the magnificent Nubian Ibex. It is a landscape that seems to belong more to a half-remembered dream. You look back, and it seems the perfect conclusion to the last days. From Petra to the Dead Sea, Jordan has given you a transformative experience, body and soul.
Last night, as you were heading to Amman, felt a deep peace, a cultivated satisfaction. Whoever said the desert was infertile never travelled through Jordan. You are enjoying a delicious breakfast in your luxury hotel. In a few hours, you will board a plane and head back home. The mark of a wonderful journey is that it is not same person that returns.