Holiday: Jordan – Day 2 (17th April)

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Welcome to Day 2! We’re in Jordan for 10 days with great mates, Ralph & Karen. For our second full day here, we’re on the move, leaving the Intercontinental Hotel here in Amman behind and heading to the famous Kerak Castle. We have a change of Hotel too – our home for the next four days – The Petra Boutique in err, Petra. Read on… πŸ‘

Click for more about our Jordan Itinerary

Perfect!

I used to call this ‘porridge weather’…. not too hot… not too cold… just right, but as many of you know, we don’t say the word ‘porridge’ any longer otherwise my hand begins to shake! 😬


What you may have missed…

Day 0 – Arrival
Day 1 – Lazy Day


Early Breakfast

7.55am: The four of us had breakfast slightly earlier than planned as our schedule had been shuffled forward. The original somewhat relaxed ‘pick up at 10.30’ had morphed into ‘be ready at 9am sharp!’ πŸ₯΄. It was certainly busier in the restaurant this morning and service (luckily) was slightly sharper too! πŸ‘

Our Chariot of choice

8.59am: Today, and for the next few days, we’ve all got our ‘cultural heads’ firmly screwed on as we learn more about the area and the country in general. We headed for Reception and checked-out, where Eddie, our Guide, appeared out of nowhere. He was a jolly soul with a great command of English – and we took to him immediately! πŸ˜€. After the obligatory introductions and packing our suitcases into our ‘chariot of choice’, we were introduced to our Driver (with a completely unpronounceable name! Sorry!!) and we were soon on our way.

Kerak Castle

Our journey began as we then drove south to the famous Kerak Castle via the King’s Highway – around 80 miles (128.75 km). It’s a great road, pretty-much straight all the way and not a sign of any potholes either! It was already getting quite warm requiring the AC to be set on ‘max’ from the off, but the mini-bus was comfortable and the regular supply of sweets from our Driver, made it even more enjoyable. πŸ‘πŸ˜‹

Eddie estimated it would take us around two hours to reach the Castle. He was full of knowledge about pretty-much everything to do with Jordan and he kept us educated and entertained throughout the journey! πŸ˜€

10.24am: After approximately halfway, we made our first pitstop. One thing that they’re good at out here is COFFEE. And it’s cheap too (around Β£2ish for a cup). We timed our stop well as shortly into our break, most of the population of Jordan under the age of 18 arrived on a school trip. In reality, it was only about three coach loads, but it looked and sounded a much bigger group given that our pitstop location wasn’t that big. Time for a sharp exit! 😬

11.15am: On arrival at the Castle, we weren’t quite sure what to expect. All I knew was that construction began in the 1140s and it’s reported to have been restored well (considering it’s been on the receiving end of quite a few hostile ‘acquisitions’ over the centuries! πŸ‘πŸ‘).

Welcome to Kerak Castle

A combination of Eddie’s expert knowledge and the general condition of the construction meant that we were all impressed -and at just 2 Dinar (Β£2.50ish) for admission, it was great value! πŸ‘

Like all Castles in the right location, this one didn’t disappoint in terms of the views! A commanding position looking in all directions meant that no enemy was going to get anywhere near this one, without being seen!

Inside the castle was just as spectacular. There was plenty to see and it was well lit. I think everyone visiting would benefit from a Guide though! Unlike Castles say, back in the UK, there was no signage to explain anything. Clearly a lot of restoration has been done in recent years, and it was all the better for it. We learned many things about this imposing construction, including:-

  • It’s a Castle built on a Castle (built on a Castle!)
  • the largest of its type in Jordan (it sports SIX towers)
  • a mixture of west European, Byzantine, and Arab designs
  • In December 2016, Kerak was the target of a terrorist attack
  • It only took three years to build

12.45pm: That was REALLY interesting! We all learned such a lot, but absorbing all that information had given us an appetite! Eddie had it all organised!

12.50pm: Nearby was the oddly named ‘Saraya Castle Restaurant‘ (why not ‘Kerak’?). They’d laid on a light buffet-style lunch for us, and we were soon tucking-in.

It was all delicious, and we deliberately didn’t eat too much for fear of spoiling our main meal tonight. Again great value at just 7 Dinar each (Β£7.50ish) including drinks.

2.02pm: Back on the road, the next stop was our Hotel for the next four days: the Petra Boutique Hotel in Wadi Musa – a just-shy of 100-mile journey. Eddie had plans to add a few more sights to our itinerary, and we headed off in the general direction of Petra.

2.41pm: Phew! The day was getting even warmer now and so it gave us the perfect excuse for another stop for a drink! Again, delicious coffee! πŸ˜‹

Extra Stop 1 – Ash-Shawbak Castle

4.10pm: Our first slight deviation from the programme was ‘ash Shawbak Castle another, built by the Crusaders. It took us off the main road into Petra, but it was worth it. The above photo was about as close as we got, but it looked splendid in contrast against the wind turbines in the background.

Extra Stop 2 – Moses Spring

4.45pm: Our final cultural stop for the day was ‘Moses Well‘ – and probably the most dramatic in terms of ‘story’. This is where Moses banged his staff on the rock – and water came flowing from it. A miracle surely, but a bit unfair on his staff! ☹️ – I think HR should be told!

Petra Boutique Hotel

4.56pm: We finally arrived at our bed for the next four nights – the Petra Boutique Hotel.

An ultra-modern hotel with touch-screen everything! (Lovely!)

Very nice and VERY futuristic!

7.00pm: We met Eddie in Reception who took us off to a local restaurant called ‘My Mom’s Recipe’ after briefing us about tomorrow’s trip to Petra.

Authentic local cuisine at a very reasonable price! πŸ˜‹πŸ˜‹

8.40pm: It all went down a treat! The bill at the end was less than Β£60, including drinks.

Tomorrow it’s the BIG one – Petra – and an early start too! It’s a World Heritage centre and has attracted over a million visitors a year – there’s more information HERE. We’re having breakfast at 6.30 aiming to arrive around 7.30. It’s only a short walk to the entrance from the Hotel, but it’s another warm one tomorrow, and we want to beat the crowds too!

9.35pm: Sleep well! πŸ’€πŸ’€πŸ˜

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