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Driving from Malawi to Rotterdam, with some fun pit stops in Jordan

Here’s the account of a family returning to the Netherlands after living in Malawi. However, instead of flying, they are drove back by means of Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Turkey and finally Rotterdam. Below are some snippets of their journeys through Jordan:

Welcome to the Hashemite kingdom of Jordan

We had no idea that Jordan has so much to offer.There are some world famous historical and cultural sites, but also breathtaking nature and pilgrimage routes. So you can say Jordan is an eye opener.

The wonderful Petra

Petra is a Unesco World heritage site. We had no idea but it is a vast, unique city, carved into the sheer rock face by the Nabataens, Arab people who settled here more than 2000 years ago. Apparently it was a junction for all the trade routes and linked China and Egypt …

… The next day we returned before the crowds arrived and were all alone in the Siq. On the way back the boys had a lift on the horses and after that in the hotel a nice shower, breakfast and into to car up north driving along the King’s Highway.

The king’s Highway

The King’s Highway is the historic route to Amman. The views are stunning and you can see Crusader castles in Karak and Shobak. Shobak was very small but had a very interesting secret tunnel. Our torches were not good enough to try to leave the castle this way, but still it was nice to venture around this castle. History in practise because there were arrow slid windows according to Bart and lots of armoury like the very heavy bullets for the catapults.

Karak castle was much bigger, with nice views, we even could see the Dead Sea. It also had a nice museum which told everything about the crusaders.

The Dead Sea

Dead Sea

The dead sea is very salty so you can float without help. If you get the water in your eyes they will start burning. It happened to Evert and Helma, they rushed out of the water to rinse their eyes under the shower. It also tastes foul and makes you very thirsty. The sea is clear but no fish are in this sea, too salty.

Spiritual Jordan

You tend to forget that Jordan is a place for many pilgrims. You can visit many places which were named in the Bible. So very close to Israel, but if we want to come home by car we are not allowed to have a stamp of Israel in our passport. So we visited Mount Nebu [Nebo], the place where Moses just before his death saw the promised land. We also saw the river Jordan where Jesus was baptized.

Jerash

As we are planning to see Damascus, we skipped Amman and drove direct to Jerash, a well preserved Roman city. It was very impressive. Imagine, we walked on the road that Emperor Hadrian and Alexander the great walked on. A lot of walking though, but it was well worth it. Most beautiful was the temple of Artemis.

We also saw a show with roman soldiers and chariots in the hippodrome, fun. now we are stranded in Irbid, the university town in Jordan and tomorrow we will cross the border with Syria where Internet seems to be a little more problematic.

Wow, I just keep thinking about what the boys saw during this trip – and how much more memorable their trip through the historic and Biblical Hashemite Kindom is going to be than any touristy trip they may take in the future to someplace like the contrived Magic Kindgom.

My compliments to the parents for affording their sons such wonderful life-long impressions!

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