Postcard from Jordan

This postcard comes from Jordan, a trip my friend Federica took in April 2019 to celebrate her birthday. This is what she told me:

“For my 30th birthday, I gifted myself with a trip – my very first solo trip, and I picked Jordan.

This turned out to be an amazing trip, intense but also relaxing at the same time. Jordan is a country full of history, traditions, nature and art. It’s also very safe for solo female travellers.

My adventure started in Amman, the capital city, where I spent two days and a half. I loved the ruins from Roman times, like the Amphitheatre and the Odeon, and the ruins from Greek times, like the Citadel and the Temple of Hercules. But what really impressed me about Amman is its atmosphere: the busy streets, the cafes and the smoke from the narghiles – particularly in Rainbow Street – the bazaars with all the souvenirs, the market full al fruit, vegetables, sweets and spices, the traditional music, the smell of mint tea, the sound of prayers coming from the minaret of the King Abdullah mosque, the magnificence of the Blue Mosque and, of course, the warmth and hospitality of local people.

The second stop of my trip was Petra – one of the Seven Wonders of the World. I would recommend doing the ‘Petra by Night Experience’ and visit the canyon at night-time, only lit by candles creating a path that leads to the Treasury, the famous temple carved in stone.  Here we drank hot tea while a Bedouin storyteller told us about ‘Mother Petra’, accompanied by the sound of a flute playing traditional music.

The following morning, I visited the archaeological site by day. Since the candlelight doesn’t reveal much of the place at night-time, it really didn’t spoil the surprise the next day! I took my time to walk through the pink stone walls of the canyon, I took my lunch break admiring the temple, and went on up to the amphitheatre, the tombs, the columns and all the way up the 900 steps that bring you on the top of the canyon, from where you can see the monastery. The walk is long and a bit tiring, especially if you decide to take it a 2pm, like I did, but so worth it!

Don’t forget to visit Little Petra, the famous Petra’s little sister town, less famous but just as beautiful. You can visit it in one hour and you will be able to enjoy the canyon and its temples without too many tourists. This experience was made even better by the fact that I decided to sleep in a tent, rather than in a hotel – the tent was located in a Bedouin camping site on the mountains and, despite being very cold, it was an unforgettable experience!

Like for any good trip, I didn’t just go there to admire arts and landscape, but I loved the cultural aspect of it. And so, I took all the chances I got to interact with local people, enjoy a cup of tea with them, and last but not least, try local cuisine. My favourite dishes were, besides the famous falafel, hummus and tabulleh, also baba ganoush, mansaf – usually made with lamb, but also available as a vegetarian option – and manaish. “

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