Jordan: Petra and the Desert Fortresses


This was a 10-day Andante Travels tour, with most of the group from the UK, two from Arizona, and Margaret Grant and myself.  This was the 14th Andante tour for Margaret and myself, plus I did a solo tour, “Istanbul at Christmas”, a few years ago.

Most of the photos are geotagged, which means that you can see where each was taken to within a meter or two.  At times, I used a new camera which has built-in GPS support, but for unknown reasons it didn’t geotag all of the photos.  Photos from another camera were geotagged another way.

The itinerary below is based on the final email programme provided by Andante, with comments and corrections added by me in [brackets].  The “Photos” links beside each day number, and the “Day N” links at the top of each page, will show the photos for that day.  I also added a map to each day’s page, showing where photos were taken on that day.

Day 0
[Doug and Margaret fly from Denver to Heathrow, connecting with the group’s flight to Amman on day 1.]

Day 1
Fly London to Amman and transfer to our hotel.

Day 2  Photos
Our first visit will take us to the remains of the Hellenistic palace at Qasr al-Abd. Afterwards we will make our way to the Dead Sea, the lowest place on earth. In the late afternoon we will receive a tour of the British Institute in Amman.

Day 3  Photos
We take a coach to two Decapolis cities: Umm Qais (ancient Gadara) overlooking the Jordan River valley in the morning and the well preserved Roman city of Jerash (ancient Gerasa) in the afternoon.

Day 4  Photos
Today we explore the dramatic basalt city at Umm al-Jimal in the morning, while in the afternoon we will see the desert castles of Qasr [al] Azraq, [Qasr al] Amra and [Qasr] Kharanah, with far-reaching views over the surrounding empty landscape.

Day 5  Photos
We spend the morning in the capital of Jordan, Amman, visiting the citadel and its museum. We also stop at the Memorial Church at Mount Nebo. That afternoon we head to explore the Madaba archaeological park and its 6th century mosaic map.  [Since the Jordanian flag visible from the Citadel, at one time the world’s largest, was not flying, I’ve added a photo from an earlier church trip to Jordan.]

Day 6  Photos
This morning we journey to Umm al-Rasas to visit the archaeological site with remains from the 3rd to the 9th century, as well as the marvelous mosaics. In the afternoon we drive via Wadi Mujib to the mighty ruins of the Kerak crusader castle.

Day 7  Photos
All day on foot in Petra. We will explore Petra during a walk into the site, both for the sense of discovery, and because there are so many interesting monuments in the area. This evening there will be the option to join the “Petra by night” walking tour with local guides for those who wish to participate. [Climbed up to the Monastery - in 2003 we rode donkeys up.  Didn’t do the night option.]

Day 8  Photos
Another full day in Petra. [I decided not to climb up to the High Place, but it was a great climb for those who did, and the alternative day was great for us.  The museum was well done, too.]

Day 9  Photos
In the morning we drive to the Neolithic site of Beidha, also known as Little Petra, where prehistoric houses can still be seen. This is followed by a jeep tour of Wadi Rum and its spectacular desert scenery.  [Drive back to Amman for a late dinner and a shortened hotel night before heading to the airport on day 10 at 5:00.]

Day 10
Drive to Amman for our return flight to London.  [Wrong - see day 9.  After our 8:00 flight with the group to Heathrow, Margaret and I connect with a nonstop flight to Denver, arriving still on April 5, with our luggage.]

March 26 - April 5, 2018

All photos are size-reduced for the web.  If you’d like a full-size photo or two, or a DVD containing all of the photos, just ask!