I’m not sure if I really knew what to expect from Jordan: I knew that there would be delicious falafel, the place where they shot Indiana Jones and perhaps some camels, but beyond that, I was completely open-minded (read: clueless). The one thing I didn’t expect it to be was so beautiful in so many different ways: Jordan does not come to mind when you think of beautiful beach sunsets, spectacular desert scenery, luxurious and remote resorts with hot springs and waterfalls.
As I shared my photos via Instagram during the 10 days I was there, I think other people felt the same way. All of that, in Jordan? Really? Really. The next few weeks will have plenty of Jordan-focused content as I attempt to organize my photos and contemplate my experiences and try to figure out how to share every ounce of Middle Eastern goodness with you, but until then–here are my favorite photos of Jordan, via Instagram.
The first view of Jordan from our Royal Jordanian flight: the patchwork of fields below reminded me of my hometown of Sacramento.
Rolling hills with centuries-old olive trees and castle ruins: more of a scene I expected in Provence, not Jordan.
I’m not usually one to be scared of heights, but even I had a dizzying sense of vertigo as I looked down from the top row of the largest amphitheater of Roman ruins in Amman.
Shattering stereotypes: Hussein came from a traditional Beduoin tribe, but uses Facebook (his profile picture is of him and his camel), has a Hungarian wife (who he met when she was tourist in Petra!) and chooses to live in a house in a village instead of the traditional tent.
That’s a pool with a view: the Marriott Hotel in Petra has a staggering desert backdrop.
The Ma’In Six Senses Resort and Spa was nestled among natural hot springs waterfalls that trickle out to the Dead Sea.
We woke up at sunrise for a relaxing dip in the hot springs and to watch the sunshine fall over the cliffs.
My only regret is that we didn’t have enough time there for me to use the pool: my idea of a perfect day would have been rotating between the chaise lounge, the pool and the waterfall. Bang.
Sunset over a lone horse, city buildings and castle ruins in Karak.
We hiked nine miles to get to Feynan Eco Lodge: the red cliffs, pink oleander bushes and lone burst of greenery reminded me of the red rocks of Sedona.
Everything is dramatic in the open spaces of Wadi Rum–which means desert of the moon–particularly the sunsets, as seen from the back of a 4×4.
My first falafel sandwich in the Middle East! Not bad, but I won’t lie–I prefer L’as du Fallafel in Paris!
I was much more impressed by traditional Jordanian dishes like “upside down” chicken and rice, topped with sour yogurt and freshly diced vegetables.
I couldn’t resist a camel’s pose before our morning camel ride in Wadi Rum!
Even though we ate pita bread and hummus and mezze like tabbouleh every single day, I didn’t get sick of it once. Absolutely love Middle Eastern food.
The ancient ruins of Jerash, outside of Amman: seriously more impressive than any ruins I’ve seen in Europe–including Pompei!
So, we camped. In a teepee. In the middle of desert. Essentially all of my childhood dreams come true.
A hazy sunrise over the Dana Nature Reserve.
The beautiful Blue Mosque in Amman: the most impressive part to me was that it’s located directly across from a large church. How’s that for religious peace and stability in the Middle East!
Striking a yoga pose in front of the Dead Sea on my last night in Jordan.
Note: I was a guest of the Jordan Tourism Board, but all opinions are my own.