If you are planning to travel to Jordan, I have some good news for you. Byond Travel is offering the readers of Travel Tales from India Rs 6000 off if you book your vacation with them through this link.
Clicking on the link should show you a window with the picture shown above. You can register with the link to avail the discount. The discount is valid only on the first purchase.
Not only that, Byond further lets you personalize your Jordan Itinerary. Once again if you wish to personalize your itinerary and avail a discount, use this link. Since I did a short trip myself (I was invited by Jordan Tourism Board and I have Business Relationship with Byond) I would surely add Petra and Wadi Rum if I were planning a trip again.
If you are looking for reasons to go, I will give you five of my experiences.
Jordan is popular with Christians for the biblical sites. Mt Nebo, Madaba, Bethany Beyond the Jordan, all have deep significance for Christianity.
Amman is the capital city. I found it a beautiful mixture of old and new. They have luxury hotels and brand new shopping malls and they have old amphitheaters and shopping district. I was more fascinated by the history and culture. Shopping malls after a while look the same everywhere.
When my family knew I was traveling to Jordan they were not so thrilled. I told them if the tourism board thought it safe, it must be safe and I am going. I clearly remember my husband saying, “there are millions of Syrian refugees out there.” And I retorted, “yes and all of them would be sitting in Amman.” My trip went perfectly fine. In fact the mandate of the trip was to cover Pope Francis’s visit the country. In spite of being in Middle East, Jordan is a peaceful nation.
A lot of Indians are vegetarians. I am a vegetarian too. Jordan has fabulous vegetarian starters. The people and restaurants are hospitable. They will find something vegetarian for you. As long as you don’t insist on the Indian food, you would do fine in Jordan.
It is an experience of a lifetime to float on the dead sea and read a newspaper! Need I say more? But one has to be very careful to keep the water out of the eyes, it stings like mad!
This year starting from March till about now, I traveled a lot. When I traveled a lot I would crib because I was traveling too much, which would leave me very tired. Then for the past two weeks I have been at home. So, now I am getting nostalgic about traveling and then, you guessed it right, I crib again! So this is a nostalgic Skywatch Friday, featuring the Amman Citadel in Jordan. I visited Jordan in May 2014.
The Amman Citadel is ancient, said to be occupied since neolithic period. It is also known as Jabal al-Qal’a. One meaning of Jabal is a hill. This citadel is on one of the seven hills which constituted the original city of Amman. It is said to have passed influence of three religions- Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is a popular tourist destination in Amman. The main ruins which you can see above is the Temple of Hercules.
The citadel is spread in a vast area and has many places of interest. Jordan Archaeological Museum is within the grounds. Umayyad palace, a huge water tank and a mosque are other points of interest. Visiting this place would require some amount of walking.
The view of the city from the Amman Citadel is quite impressive. The day we visited the place it was not too crowded. The weather was nice, we had clear blue skies and a nice breeze. The sun was happy to lord over the sky. As the place is quite huge it never felt crowded. Almost everyone climbed up the ruins to get photographed next to the pillars of the Temple of Hercules.
I had left my zoom lens in the bus itself, as I never thought I would need it at this spot. Guess what? There were birds around the place and I did kick myself for not carrying the lens around. But that is a minor regret. Overall, it was a wonderful half day that I spent at the Amman Citadel.
Immigration and fun are almost an oxymoron, at least in most of the places I visited. But Jordan changed all that, I can now say immigration fun in the same sentence. While going into Jordan. it was almost the same as anywhere else, getting out of Jordan was fun. But then first things first.
I visited Jordan as part of Indian media invited to cover the Pope’s visit to Jordan. I was told that Jordan grants visa on arrival to Indians. As we were accompanied by the officials of the Jordan Tourism Board before immigration, none of us were asked to show USD 1000 in cash. I wonder if they really want a visitor to show USD 1000 in cash to give visa on arrival? I have never traveled anywhere with that kind of cash! My visa on arrival was smooth but I guess it was also because I was invited.
Fast forward to the time when we were getting back. There were nine of us checking in one after the other at Queen Alia International Airpot, Amman. Almost all of us had bought the local sweet Backlava. So people ahead in line were entrusted with the task of asking if it was OK to carry backlava in hand luggage? When the lady ahead in the queue asked she was told firmly, “no ma’am.” All of us behind her went into a tizzy. She also went into a tizzy. Then the counter person laughed and said, “ma’am I was only joking, of course you can take it in your hand luggage.” That should have given me some inkling of the things to come.
After depositing my luggage I proceeded to the passport control. When a counter became vacant I asked if I could proceed in sign language, and the person said no! So, I stood in the queue thinking that counter might be closing. I cursed my luck in general as well. Then he talked to an airport staff in Arabic who told me I could proceed to that counter! When I started walking, he too started laughing and said, “of course you can come to this counter, why not?” Now I was wondering what was going on! While he looked at my passport he said, “Bandra 25 Bandra 25 Bandra 25, are you taking that one?” I laughed and laughed.
Now won’t you agree with me that this was one of the most hilarious immigration experiences you ever read about? I do remember two passport control personnel saying bye to me, at Thailand and Maldives but this was something unique.
The only thing that comes close to this was a person, staff, at Johannesburg, South Africa at the luggage belt, who was dancing while we waited for our luggage!