Al-Quds Falafel in downtown Amman, Jordan. The oldest falafel joint in town.


2nd to last photo: a traditional Jordanian breakfast prepared by our couch surfing host.

1AUG13. Amman, Jordan.


Petra (Arabic: البتراء, Al-Batrāʾ, Ancient Greek Πέτρα) is a historical and archaeological city in the southern Jordanian governorate of Ma’an, that is famous for its rock-cut architecture and water conduit system. Another name for Petra is the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved.

Established possibly as early as 312 BCE as the capital city of the Nabataeans, it is a symbol of Jordan, as well as its most-visited tourist attraction. It lies on the slope of Jebel al-Madhbah (identified by some as the biblical Mount Hor) in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Petra has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1985.

The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, when it was introduced by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. It was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” in a Newdigate Prize-winning poem by John William Burgon. UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”. See: UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. Petra was chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “28 Places to See Before You Die.” (wiki)

3AUG13. Petra, Jordan.


One of the most memorable nights of my life, sleeping under a starlit black sky in a Bedouin tent in a place called “Captain’s Desert Camp” in Wadi Rum (Valley of the Moon.)

Wadi Rum has been inhabited by many human cultures since prehistoric times, with many cultures–including the Nabateans–leaving their mark in the form of rock paintings, graffiti, and temples.

In the West, Wadi Rum may be best known for its connection with British officer T. E. Lawrence, who passed through several times during the Arab Revolt of 1917–18. In the 1980s one of the rock formations in Wadi Rum was named “The Seven Pillars of Wisdom” after Lawrence’s book penned in the aftermath of the war, though the ‘Seven Pillars’ referred to in the book have no connection with Rum. (wiki)

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3/4AUG13. Wadi Rum, Jordan.



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The Dead Sea, a.k.a. the Salt Sea, is a salt lake bordering Jordan to the east and Israel and the West Bank to the west.


The surface and shores of the Dead Sea are 1,388 ft. (423 meters) below sea level, making it the lowest elevation on Earth.

It is 1,237 ft. (377 meters) deep, making it the deepest hypersaline lake in the world.

It isn’t the saltiest body of water in the world, but at 33.7% salinity, it is at least the third saltiest in the world. Antarctica and Djibouti may have a bodies of water that beat it.

It’s about 8.6x saltier than the ocean, making it impossible for sea life to exist, So, there are no marine animals inhabiting it. Hence, it’s name: the DEAD sea.

It’s 42 miles (62 kilometers) long and 11 miles (18 kilometers) wide at its widest point.

Because of its unusually high salt concentration, you can easily float in it. Be sure not to get the water in your eyes (burns!) and mouth (taste stays for awhile!)

The Dead Sea area has become a major center for health research and treatment for several reasons. The mineral content of the water, the very low content of pollens and other allergens in the atmosphere, the reduced ultraviolet component of solar radiation, and the higher atmospheric pressure at this great depth each have specific health effects. (

Biblically, the Dead Sea was a place of refuge for King David. It was one of the world’s first health resorts (for Herod the Great). (wiki)

Photo of me floating in the Dead Sea: Gemma Whittel

4AUG13. The Dead Sea, Jordan.