When I landed in Amman, the capital of Jordan, I had a vague idea about what Jordan had in store for me. I was obviously curious because it had been on my bucket-list for a while, and also because it was my first taste of the Middle East. I have to say that the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan grows on you. I thank Jordan Tourism Board for inviting me and unveiling to me a fascinating country.
What I loved the most about Jordan is that each city has its distinctive aura. Amman is so different from Aqaba. Petra has its own mystery, while Jerash has its own secrets. Now that I’m back home and looking back at my trip, I have resonances of all the places that I visited in Jordan.
So what makes Jordan an alluring land?
The rundown sites of Jordan capture your heart pronto. I particularly loved Jerash, which has the traces of the Bronze Age. The 2nd-century Hadrian’s Arch, the Corinthian columns, the oval Forum, the communal baths and the theatres exude the never-fading grandeur of the ancient ages.
I believe the most outstanding facet of Jordan is its barren beauty. The eroded hills that are scattered across the country have their own charm. Petra looks fabulous with its caves, tombs and temples, while Wadi Rum oozes magic with its sandstones and rocks.
Perhaps the most intriguing part of exploring Jordan was meeting the Bedouins. The Bedouins are Arab nomads, who dwell in the Arabian and Syrian deserts. They are known for herding camels and goats.
Also, it was a pleasure meeting Marguerite van Geldermalsen, a New Zealand-born nurse who came to Jordan in 1978 and married a Bedouin. Later, she wrote a book named ‘Married to a Bedouin’ based on her own life in Jordan.
I have always found the Middle-eastern culture remarkable – the camels, the desert, the belly dancing, the music, the mint tea and the hukka. There’s something about the way the Jordanian men and women dress, their lifestyle and the aura that they exude.
Jordan is passionate about art. I discovered some beautiful mosaic work in Madaba, which is renowned to be the Mosaic capital. I was fortunate to visit a mosaic shop, where I got to see how Mosaic is made – they assemble tiny square pieces of coloured stone or glass called tesserae. Also, I loved the coloured sand bottles and ceramics that make excellent souvenirs.
Food is epic in Jordan. Although I have mixed opinions about the food in Jordan, it is definitely an experience to dig into a Jordanian platter. There are so many colours on your dining table that it’s like a visual feast. They eat plenty of fresh veggies, olive oil, eggplants and breads.
Jordanians are warm and friendly people. It was nice to interact with a few, who glanced at me with welcoming eyes and asked, “Are you from India?” They seemed to be quite happy to see foreigners travelling in their country.
Do you have Jordan on your bucket-list?
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