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.
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:
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 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 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.
As 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.
- Physicist Proposes New Way To Think About Intelligence Inside Science
- A foodie revolution cooking in West Africa Guardian
- Berlin airport fiasco an embarrassment for Germans USA Today
- Chinese tourism: The good, the bad and the backlash CNN
- Meet Harry Beck, the genius behind London’s iconic subway map The Verge
- What’s Behind The ‘Fairy Circles’ That Dot West Africa? NPR
- Why are the French drinking less wine? BBC
- The Unintended (and Deadly) Consequences of Living in the Industrialized World Smithsonian Magazine
- The death of the guidebook will open up new worlds Guardian
- A surprising map of the countries that are most and least welcoming to foreigners Washington Post