Thursday, May 21, 2015

Our Jordan Adventures - 2015

I think the first phrase taught in English in Jordan is "Welcome to Jordan!" We heard it everywhere - they are such friendly people!

Poppa flew over from Texas a few days before we left for Jordan. The kids had some air miles to use up, so we surprised them with an upgrade to business class for the flight to Amman, Jordan. Chris booked us a 7am flight, so we had to get up really early so we could enjoy breakfast in the Emirates lounge before our flight!

Lloyd Kneesh met us at the airport (our first "Welcome to Jordan"). We rented 2 little cars and were off to the Larsa Hotel near the Holley's apartment. Lloyd took us out for a Jordanian lunch, then we visited the Citadel. The weather turned cold, windy and wet.
Amman, Jordan

Holley's apartment 

Roman Theater

Lunch with Lloyd

Palestinian refugees settled here.

At the Citadel - kinda cold and windy!
Katelin enjoying the cool air.
Jennifer, Saige and the tour guide

Friday morning the Holleys and their visitors the Linquist from Canada met us at the Larsa hotel, and we had a convoy up to Irbid to enjoy some fellowship with Ram (Mercy was still in Sri Lanka). The countryside was beautiful with hills and olive groves. The small cities were busy with Friday prayers.

Ala and Liezl's home 
View on the way to Irbid, Jordan 
We had a little fender bender - got hit from behind. Only 2 hours of discussion with the police. Rental car company was happy with the police report! Thank goodness for full coverage insurance!

Olive groves
Roadside market

Beautiful rainbow!
Back seat shenanigans! 
Saturday morning we checked out of the Larsa after breakfast and headed south on the King's Highway. Our first stop was the Christian city of Madaba where we visited a mosaic workshop and bought a mosaic called The Paradise Tree of Life. The next stop was Mt. Nebo where Moses viewed the Promise Land.
Mosaic being refurbished from an ancient church near Mt Nebo.

Entrance to Mt. Nebo

Directions pointing out the cities across the valley.
Moses' view of Israel 
Next stop - Kerak castle, a crusaders castle built in the late 1100's. The road wound around the mountain side. It is amazing that people can live out here! There is little access to shops, water, etc - lots of Bedouin and refugee tents and some camels.

Roadside stop to take in the view and have a snack.

View of the town from the walls of Kerak Castle 

We met a man in the castle that must have been a tour guide - he gave us an impromptu tour and history lesson. And we found some kittens. Matthew and Jolee were so taken with the cats that they soon lost us! The security guard found us, and we never had to worry about them wondering off again!

This pregnant lady wanted her picture taken with Saige, and she wanted me to email or Facebook it to her, but she didn't know how to write her name in English!
We had one of the most delicious meals of the whole trip just down from the castle. It was an off-time to eat, so we had the restaurant and the chef to ourselves. Best Arabic bread ever! 

After stuffing our bellies, we headed down the King's Highway (2 lane road with lots of speed bumps) towards our hotel for the night The Petra Palace. It got dark, and the GPS wasn't working, so we pulled to make sure we were headed in the right direction. Before long, a Jordanian man had stopped his big truck and was knocking on the window asking if we needed help. After pointing the way, he said, "Welcome to Jordan!"

We arrived at the Petra Palace (unique hotel within walking distance to Petra) and because they didn't have joining rooms, they gave us a few extra rooms - 4 family-sized rooms. At least, that's the way I understood it! They were confused when I gave 2 of the keys back. And they served Umm Ali (a delicious Arabic bread pudding dessert) for breakfast, so life was good!

Petra - there are few words that do it justice. Magnificent. We spend one day there - rode horses in/to the Treasury, then donkeys all the way up to the top. It was a wonderful day!

Cowboy Matthew
Jennifer and Saige 
Horse ride into Petra was included in the ticket price - just add a tip, please!
Katelin and Jolee
Chris and the camera bag!
Poppa and the GoPro!

The long walk down the Siq to the Treasury - 1200 meters 

Julia and a Bedouin girl selling trinkets.
Guide explaining the ruins.
Julia's ride

The Treasury - actually a tomb!

Caves where Bedouins live/lived.

Donkey and mules to the top! 800 stairs to the Monastery.
Saige loved her "gonkey" HeeHaw!

Bedouin's shop.
Up so high you cab see for miles!

Donkey's can't climb up here, so we walk the rest of the way.
Tea anyone? 
The Monastery
Tip top - nice safety railing!
We had hospitality tea with a sweet Bedouin woman who fell in love with Julia. Julia left with little camels.

Going down on donkeys is more fun than going up!

We were tired out that night! We enjoyed a nice dinner with some traditional Bedouin dishes. We weren't sure what we were ordering, but they were tasty!

The next morning we started south again towards Wadi Rum and the Starlight Bedouin Camp. We went on a tour of the desert - climbing, sand boarding, drinking lots and lots of sweet and spicy Bedouin hospitality tea!

Poppa and Chris fitiing in with the locals!

Rock drawings
Our ride!

Saige and her momma!
Sand in your shoes? No way!!

Wadi Rum Bridge

Tour guide 
Starlight camp site - we had a tent for 10! Tea, anyone?

Volleyball in the middle of nowhere!
Saige is a desert girl!

Dining tent

Our family tent! Memories being made - Movenpick the next night!

Morning climb - Jolee and Matthew
Camp view from rocks above.


The next morning we started south again towards the Red Sea. We stopped in Aqaba for lunch, then on to the Movenpick at Tala Bay for 2 nights.
Baklava shop where the owner asked for Katelin to marry his Syrian son -ah, NO!
Aqaba, Jordan - tip of the Red Sea
View from our Movenpick hotel room.

The water slide was a big hit!
Matthew enjoying a pool-side drink
Some os us scuba, some snorkel, some do neither - so we all went out together on this big boat. Best day ever!

Egypt across the International Waters

Scuba diving in the Red Sea!

Macey doing what she does best - writing!
 The next morning we were off to the Dead Sea. We stayed at the Marriott and enjoyed the pool after a few minutes in the Dead sea. It is amazing how thick the salty water is.
Jolee carefully floating in the Dead Sea

View of Israel and the Dead Sea from the Marriott
Dead Sea at dusk

Dead Sea mud!
Salty water hurts the sunburned skin!

The hotel overlooks the Dead Sea
View of the Dead Sea from the highway
Friday we left the Dead Sea and headed to Jerash - an ancient Roman town. Then we headed back to Amman to meet with the Holleys, Lloyd, and Craig.

We flew home Saturday morning ... Jordan was quite an adventure!


  1. Hello, I enjoy your blog from Montana through Russ and Andrea. What a beautiful and interesting place that you live! Alison

  2. Thanks Alison. It's fun to share our adventures with friends and family ... and friends of friends!