Gary is currently in Appleton, WI (Mar 19th, 2015)

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Tuesday Travel Update – Floating Around the Dead Sea


The Canyon in Wadi Mujib

The Canyon in Wadi Mujib

After two weeks in Croatia, mostly exploring the Dalmatian Coast I’ve arrived in Jordan.

I previously visited Jordan in 2009 during my first trip through the Middle East. I arrived via ferry from Nuweiba, Egypt and only explored the southern part the country: Aqaba, Wadi Rum and Petra. When we were contacted by Jordan Tourism (who paid for my trip) about a return trip, I expressed an interest in seeing the northern part of the country and returning to Wadi Rum and Petra to reshoot those sites.

The northern part of Jordan is full of deep history. Ruins on the same site overlap from Nabataeans, Romans, Byzantines, Umayyads and Ottomans. Just to give you an idea, here is a sampling of the sites I was able to visit during the last week:

  • Roman city of Jerash
  • The Umayyad site of Quseir Amra (World Heritage Site)
  • The Fort of Azraq
  • The Citadel of Amman
  • The Bethany Baptismal site of Jesus
  • The Ruins of Um er-Rasas (World Heritage Site)

All of those sites are within a 90 minute drive of Amman. I’ve sort of been kicking myself for not having taken the time to get to Amman back in 2009.

As I am writing this I am on the shore of the Dead Sea where I’ll be leaving in a few hours, heading south to Petra and Wadi Rum.

A frequent question I get from people is if I ever return to places I have previously visited. The answer is, yes. I’m more than happy to return to places I’ve been to in the past if those places are exceptional. My photography has improved considerably since 2009 so I’m looking forward to reshooting both locations and getting some of the shots I missed previously. Both Wadi Rum and Petra are 5-star attractions in my book and probably the two biggest attractions in Jordan. (Actually, Wadi Rum doesn’t get nearly as many visitors as Jerash or the Dead Sea, but it should)

I’ve been battling a really bad cough the last two weeks, ever since I arrived in the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia. I am finally getting over it, but I still have a lingering cough that seems to go away when I’m active. Being at the Dead Sea has helped. Not only is it warmer here, but the increased atmospheric pressure of being so far below sea level makes it easier to breathe. I have found many times in my travels that the cure for a bad cold is just warm weather and sunshine.

I’ll be in Jordan for the next week and then I’m off to Italy to get ready for my photography tour that begins on May 11.

Sponsor Updates

It is a bit late, but last month the folks at G Adventures ran a survey to find out where happiness fits into people’s lives. Not surprisingly, it is pretty important. Here is a great infographic they created to show the results of the survey:

The G Adventures Happiness Survey

I’d also like to give a thank you to the folks at Hostelworld and the Fresh Sheets Hostel in Dubrovnik for hosting me during my stay in the old city. Fresh Sheets is the only hostel currently located in the old city of Dubrovnik.

What I’m Reading

Ender's GameEnder’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I have heard so much about it and have heard it referenced so often that I figured I should read it for myself. I just began reading it last night so I have nothing to say about it so far.

Carthage Must Be Destroyed: The Rise and Fall of an Ancient CivilizationCarthage doesn’t get much attention anymore. You can travel over a large part of the world to see Roman ruins, but you can’t see much in the way of Carthaginian ruins. The Romans made sure that there wasn’t much left to bear witness to their existence. I’ve always thought the story of Carthage was interesting, so I figured I owed it to myself to learn more about it. The book starts from its beginnings as a Phoenician colony and goes through the end of the Third Punic War.

Monuments MenAs I was driving through Germany last March, a constant theme in every city I visited was the destruction, or lack thereof, which occurred during WWII. Just before the invasion of Normandy, the Allies created a small group who’s mission was to protect, preserve and repatriate the artistic heritage of Europe. It is an interesting story insofar as it was even a priority for the allies during the war. It is also a lesson that has been completely forgotten by the current US military as they had no such team in place during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.


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  1. Jordan’s such an interesting country. It’ll be fun to see how your views on Petra and Wadi Rum change with a second visit.

  2. Terrie Exley says:

    “Floating around the Dead Sea” reminded me of a funny story my mother told me about her trip to the area. Great blog here about places to visit there. The infographic is also awesome! Thanks for this post

  3. Petra is definitely on our list of beautiful places to visit. I find that survey to be fascinating, but maybe a little bit skewed? Most people who visit the website want to travel or do so at the moment.

  4. Alex says:

    Totally agree about Wadi Rum! My time in Jordan was limited so I was initially hesitant to go to Wadi Rum. I haven’t heard much about it, unlike Petra or Dead Sea but I am so happy I followed my gut and went anyway. I was blown away by the calm beauty of the desert mountains. I would even go as far as saying that if I have to choose between Wadi Rum or Petra, I would choose Wadi Rum — although it would be a hard decision. (Also, partly because entrance to Petra is pretty freaking expensive)

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About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
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