If you’ve been looking for a reason to visit Jordan, then this is the year! 2012 marks the 200th anniversary of the re-discovery iconic Petra and the whole country is celebrating. But the excitement and inspiration doesn’t stop there, as Lauren Jones discovered on her Intrepid trip…
“The first day of our Jordan adventure and we’re driving into the desert of Wadi Rum. As opposed to endless drifting sand hills, Wadi Rum is a beautiful and bizarre landscape of sand valleys (wadis) sunk beneath huge stone monoliths. We leave the bus behind and switch to 4WD jeeps for a bouncy ride that changes by the minute as we navigate these giants. The rocks have innumerable variations, from cliffs upon which the sand dunes break and build to sandstone crevasses of cool shade, where wind and rain have conspired to melt the rock into wedding-cake formations.
After a day spent exploring these contradictions, sweating up sand hills and visiting old haunts of Lawrence of Arabia we arrive in a Bedouin camp, where we are guests of Sheik Zayeed. The customary welcome tea follows, tasting of cardamom, cinnamon, thyme, rose hips and the Sheik’s own secret ingredients.
Refreshed, we clamber up a nearby rock formation to witness the wadi’s transition from the day’s hues of amber rocks, swirling red and gold sands and a sky as blue and clear as the ocean miles away. The rock formations look like jagged rows of orange and black teeth as the sun sinks, and the Sheik wanders over after checking on our traditional zarb dinner…despite living out here, it’s obvious he still can’t resist watching one more desert sunset!
The spiced meat and vegetables slowly cooking in the underground zarb are delicious in the last of the dying light, then we all drag quilts, mattresses and pillows out by the fire to lie on our backs and drink in the day’s big finale – the night sky of the desert, free from light pollution, black, clear and studded with stars…simply stunning!”
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* photo by Monique Couvee,
Intrepid Photography Competition