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Trip Report Jordan for 5 days/independent travel - brief trip report with blog link

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Unlike my Egypt trip report - I really AM going to keep this brief and put the link to the blog up first - lots of photos and detail on the blog, which should be final in the next couple of days

http://lizandrichardsa.typepad.com/liz_and_richards_2008_adv/d_jordan/index.html

We spent 5 days in Jordan at the end of our trip to Egypt - here's a link to that trip report

http://fodors.com/forums/threadselect.jsp?screen_name=Elizabeth_S&fid=4

I worked with a guide/travel planner in Cairo who put together a terrific itinerary for us - including Jordan - here is his contact info

Ahmed Hamed Yousif
ahmedhayo@yahoo.com

Lots more information on traveling independently on the Egypt trip report that I linked to above

Day 1 - arrived in Amman early (10am) and our wonderful driver/escort Bashar was waiting for us behind customs so he arranged for our visas and off we went. (Ahmed arranged all our accommodations and guides/escorts for Jordan too)

We were spending 2 nights at the Dead Sea so on our way there Bashar suggested we stop at Bethany Beyond the Jordan (Jesus's baptism site) as our room wasn't ready and it would free up some time the next day....great suggestion.

Very moving site no matter your religious background - all our Sunday School lessons came tumbling back!

Stayed at Kempinski Dead Sea - gorgeous hotel - our blog looks like we're paid shills for the hotel! Stay there!!!!

Day 2 - Bashar picks us up at the hotel and we meet our guide for the Jordan portion - Osamah Twal - hysterically funny and fabulous. Really, for the next 5 days the 4 of us are like bad kids - laughing, teasing, joking and in between learning tons and tons about Jordan - present day and past

Today - Ajloun and Jerash - highly recommend both (see blog)

Day 3 - despite my attempts never to leave the Kempinski Dead Sea (it was only a small tantrum) off we go to Petra - stopping at Mt Nebo, Madaba and Karak along the way - Mt. Nebo was shrouded in fog but still well worth going and we really like forts and castles so enjoyed Karak (restaurant is good there too) - and Madaba is Osamah's home town so you're pretty much going there no matter what ;)

Arrived at Movenpick Petra about 6pm - fine hotel - arrange to meet Osamah at 9am the next day.

Day 4- To be honest I was a little worried about the (seemingly) late departure - I had read you should get there really early - but he assured me it was the best time (he was right - in January it's really cold and so we actually missed the early people and were basically alone in most places - which you'll see on the blog)

Petra was EVERYTHING you imagine it will be.......be sure to take the donkeys up to the Monastery (which is just plain fun) and a camel ride back up to the Treasury (which is a very good work out for your thighs)

Day 5 - a long day as our flight doesn't actually leave until 3am the next morning from Amman. Bashar and Osamah are determined to fill our day until midnight - power packed day!

Little Petra first - well worth the visit - and then a fabulous trip to Wadi Rum and then we drove to Aqaba to tour around (and lunch at a great seafood restaurant that is Osamah's favourite). We drove back via the Dead Sea Highway - there was a RAGING snow storm about to hit Amman and we insisted (much to their horror) we get to the airport early - as in 9pm. They wanted to sit with us but that was definitely above and beyond the call of duty.

Jordan was a complete revelation - as was all of this trip - a wonderfully complex, fascinating, friendly country - I highly recommend you read Queen Noor's autobiography before you go - I had just finished it as we arrived - it's an interesting glimpse into the political and cultural realities.

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