Travel to Jordan – Episode 423

categories: asia travel, middle east travel

Hear about travel to Jordan as the Amateur Traveler himself, Chris Christensen, relates stories about his recent visit to the country.



When I was contacted by the Tourism Board asking if I wanted to go to Jordan I jumped at the chance. Petra was quite literally on my bucket list. I knew I wanted to visit Petra and I had also heard that I would love Amman. After that, I said just take me where you want. I was having a great time in the country for days before I got to either Petra or Amman. I hiked up a river in a slot canyon, floated in the dead sea, had bedouin tea and bread at a makeshift camp by 10,000-year-old ruins, explored a crusader castle, explored a castle meant to help kick out the crusaders, saw Byzantine ruins, Greek Ruins, and extensive Roman ruins, and slept in a desert camp. Petra and Amman were very nice too.

In fact, Petra was much more than I expected. I was surprised at the size of the complex and did not have enough time to explore it all because of a busy schedule. I am disappointed with tourists who travel all the way to Jordan, walk to the ‘Treasury’ in Petra and then turn around and head back to the hotel. There is so much more to see.

Amman is a wonderful city that I enjoyed exploring on foot. Add good food, some great ruins, a couple of interesting history museums as well as a charming museum on the former King’s car collection and I would like to go back and spend some more time there.

Jerash was probably the biggest surprise of my trip. I am not sure why I have not heard more about it. It has Roman ruins that seemed to be more extensive than any I have seen outside of Italy. I had unseasonably mild weather in late May and visited these sites without the crowds of tourists that would have been there in the high season of March and April.

Jordan is a wonderfully warm, welcoming country that is worth exploring.

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Show Notes

Al Kazneh (The Treasury)
The Monastery
The Royal Automobile Museum
Dead Sea
Wadi Mujib
Ma’In Hot Springs
Montreal Castle
Ajlun Castle
The Baptism Site of Jesus Christ
Wadi Rum
Jordan Pictures
Jordan Travel – More Than Just Petra
My Day as Papal Paparazzi
Family Friendly 7 Day Jordan Itinerary

Hotels where I stayed:

Crowne Plaza, Dead Sea
Captains Desert Camp, Wadi Rum
Marriott Petra Hotel
Grand Hyatt Amman
Evason Ma’In Hot Springs
Feynan Ecolodge


‘Allergy-Friendly’ Airline Is Now A Thing Thanks To Swiss International Air Lines


more precise numbers on Lassen Visitors Travel to Lassen National Park, California – Episode 422

Travel to Jordan (podcast) #travel #trip #vacation #destinations #thingstodoin #planning #initinerary #podcast #middleeast #desert #petra


“Amateur Traveler” episode 423. Today, the Amateur Traveler talks about ancient ruins, Bedouin camps and the Nabataean city of Petra, as we go to Jordan.

Welcome to the “Amateur Traveler.” I’m your host, Chris Christensen. As we mentioned, we do have a new sponsor this week on the “Amateur Traveler,” which is Global Travel Plus. Global Travel Plus provides global emergency medical services. And I thought about Global Travel Plus when I was in Jordan. And we’ll talk about my trip to Jordan.

But one of the things I saw while I was there is I saw a tourist being taken away in an ambulance. And I don’t know if they twisted an ankle, fell and broke a bone or had a heart attack. But medical expenses, particularly medical evacuation, can be very expensive, and services like Global Travel Plus can protect you from thousands of dollars of unexpected expenses should you get sick or injured while you travel. So, thanks again to Global Travel Plus for sponsoring this episode. For more information, you can go to And if use that U.R.L., they’ll know that we sent you.

As I mentioned, we’re going to be trying to move the new segment to the end of the show. So, if you’re interested in those stories, stick around.

I want to tell the story of my recent trip to Jordan. And it’s interesting, as the one who’s actually being interviewed for a change, to know how to start that story. So, I want to start you not at the beginning of the story, but at a particularly memorable moment.

Feynan Eco Lodge

Feynan Eco Lodge

At one point in my trip, I was at the Feynan Ecolodge. And this is in the Dana nature preserve. I had a special guide. Most of the time, I had been provided by the Jordan Tourism Board with a guide, Waleed, as well as with a driver.

But when we had gotten to this lodge, I had gone off with Mohammed, who was a Bedouin. He was actually from one of the local Bedouin families.

And we had hopped on mountain bikes. We had ridden down the dirt road and up the next wadi from where the Ecolodge was. We had ridden up a ways and gotten off and walked up to the mountainside. And we were sitting at one point next to a village that was 10,000 years old that there was part of an archaeological dig to uncover this village.

Mohammed had brought flour and salt and made Bedouin bread in the same way that we described recently in the episode we did on Western Sahara. Basically making a patty out of the spread of flatbread and then burying it in the coals of this fire that he started. Had put a pot of Bedouin tea on and then pulled out his flute and started to play as we were in this windswept valley on this warm day in an area that reminded me a lot of Death Valley; the colors of the rocks and the barrenness of the landscape.

And this was a moment when I realized that I had in mind what Jordan was like. And I had in mind what I wanted to see in Jordan. When the Tourism Board contacted me, I said I was absolutely interested in going, and I knew I wanted to see Petra, and I knew I wanted to see Amman.



Petra, because ever since I seen it in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” I knew it was someplace that would be on my bucket list. And Amman because I had had so many friends who had gone there who had loved the city so much, the capital of Jordan.

But for the rest of the time, just “Show me what you want to show me.” And this was part of the surprises that I didn’t expect was moments like this at the Feynan Ecolodge.

I was about three days in the country at this point already having a wonderful time and hadn’t been to either of the two sites that I had planned to see. So, let’s back up a bit here and talk about itinerary.

Jordan is not a huge country. There are people who go to Jordan who do a day trip. They drive in the northern borders, they see one or two sites in Amman, maybe the religious sites or maybe historical sites. They drive down to Petra and they finish the whole thing in a day. I wouldn’t recommend doing that. I was there for about ten days, and there was certainly enough to do, and there were times that I would have liked a little more time as we’ll talk about.

The main tourism site in Jordan is Petra and Petra is a Nabataean city that was carved into the rocks, the sandstone rocks in southern Jordan. And it was built by the people right around the time of the Romans. It was captured by the Romans in the second century A.D.

And it was a trading city. It was a city that made its money from the caravans that came and brought the spices up; the frankincense and the myrrh and that traded with the Far East. A rich city and a rich culture for a period of time, at least.

And the interesting thing I found with Jordan is that it was exactly what I expected and so much more. For one thing, it’s about two-kilometer walk from where you get your tickets. The first kilometer of that, you can take your horse carriage; it’s included in your admission price. The admission price is rather steep; it’s about 50 JD, typically where everything else in the country is about 1 JD, a Jordanian Dinar and that’s about $1.50 U.S.



So, it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It absolutely was worth seeing. But I was surprised when Waleed said that a lot of tourists, by the time they’ve walked the two kilometers to the most well-known spot, which is called the Treasury, but is really just a tomb. The second of the two kilometers you have walked through this slot canyon and suddenly, you come upon this hidden city.

And a lot of tourists, at that point, turn around and go back. And so, many of the pictures that I had seen of Petra were just that one spot. He said 20% of some tour groups never even make it that far, they just turn around and go back to the hotel and swim in the pool.

But if you have the patience, go further in to Petra. It’s a huge site. There’s the Old City and then past that is the Roman city. And then, if you have more time and some stamina, you can climb the 900 steps up to an area they call the Monastery, which I didn’t get to, unfortunately, in my trip, so I’ll have to go back, just because we had that day scheduled a lot.

But I don’t even think that the particular well-known Treasury is necessarily even the best of all of the carvings. But basically, it’s carved. They took 38 years to carve what looks like a temple right out of the rock. And it’s a fascinating city, and I took a lot of pictures.

We got there early in the morning to avoid the heat of the day. And I should say, we were there in May. And Waleed tells me that the tourism season in Jordan is mostly March through mid-May. And around May 15th, the tourism really drops off. He said if we had been there a month earlier, he would have lost me in the crowds. And as it was, most of the places that we went from May 17th to May 27th were empty. There were just not that many there that time of year, because it should have normally been a little hotter than it was, but we had lovely weather.

In general, in Jordan, how warm it is depends a lot on the elevation. Amman, which is 1,100 meters, has a Mediterranean climate. When you go down into the Dead Sea, which is down below sea level, it’s quite hot. And Petra is somewhere in-between.

So, most tourists who go to Jordan just go to Petra and just do a day trip from Israel. And I think that’s a shame. I understand why you’d want to go Petra, but I think there’s more to see.



And then, Amman, again, was the second thing I wanted to see. And I enjoyed Amman, although I wouldn’t say it was necessarily the second-best thing about my visit there. But there was quite a lot to do there. There’s both a western and eastern portion of the city. The eastern portion is the older portion of the city. Not quite as western and not quite as expensive, either.

There is a series of eight traffic circles that extend from west to east across the city. I stayed in a hotel near the third traffic circle; I stayed in the Hyatt. And all the hotels I stayed in were great; in fact, they were probably some of the nicest in the country. Probably a little nicer than I would normally stay in just because I was a guest of the Tourism Board and they wanted me to try out these wonderful hotels. You can get a cheaper hotel than where I stayed.

But around the first traffic circle, there’s a lovely shopping area. And then, as you go down off of the hill, there’s a downtown area. And the downtown area is right near a Roman theater. And then, also, there are Roman ruins up on the hilltop as well, as well as a wonderful small archaeology museum near there.

Those were highlights as well as well as, there’s a museum that we went to just because we had some extra time. And one of the museums we wanted to go to was closed, which was the railroad museum.

Royal Automobile Museum

Royal Automobile Museum

And so, we ended up going to a museum that is dedicated to the cars of the old king; the father of the current king who has since died was a collector of automobiles, as well as a racer of automobiles. And they have, really, a fascinating museum because it doesn’t just show these cars, but it shows the news clips of when he is riding in this car and places all of these within the history of the country. It was actually very interesting and very well-presented; it’s a relatively new museum.

But again, I liked Amman. But what was a surprise to me is, we also went to the Roman ruins at Jerash, which is further north up in Jordan. And a lot of people don’t get there because they’ve already seen the Roman ruins at Amman. And if you had to choose between the two, go to Jerash. Jerash is a much larger site. I had only seen pictures of sort of one temple sitting up on top of the hills. And I was surprised by the scale of this.

Roman Ruins at Jerash

Roman Ruins at Jerash

I had been to other Roman ruins across the Mediterranean area, in Italica in Spain or the Greek and Roman ruins from Ephesus. And this is actually a larger site than that.

You start of the Arch of Hadrian; they still have a bunch of the old Hippodrome where they would have raced chariots, still standing. There are numerous temples. There’s the Cardia, the main way into the city. A number of temples along the way, some churches as this became a Roman Christian area.

And just fascinating, I loved it. And again, because we were there in May, we had the place practically to ourselves. Where he said if we had been there a month earlier in April, he probably would have lost us about five times, because the crowds would have been so much greater.

But I want to get back to those first three days. When I got off the plane, the things that I wasn’t expecting to see…we went to the Dead Sea and I was expecting to go to the Dead Sea. And I knew that one of the things you try and do is you float in the Dead Sea and that’s an interesting experience and it’s surprising how buoyant it is. Although, even knowing that, I was surprised at how buoyant it was and how difficult even to stand up because of the buoyancy there.

And one of the things I knew is that if you have shaved or if you’re a woman, if you’ve shaved your legs and such, it’s a bad idea before you go into this very brackish saltwater. And so, I had made sure that I had not used a razor that day.

Wadi Mujib

Wadi Mujib

Unfortunately, the activity that we had done just before that was one of the funnest things we did in the country was we hiked up the Wadi Mujib. And those of you who are from the U.S., if you’ve ever been to Zion National Park in Utah, there is one of the best hikes in the country that I have done is a hike up the Virgin River. And that’s a hike up a slot canyon where you’re literally hiking in the river.

Wadi Mujib is much like that. Except that at the time we were there, there was more of a river actually flowing through there where you were pulling yourselves in times on ropes up past boulders as the water is cascading over it. And you’re just pulling yourself against the current or up out of the current and on to these rocks as you’re going forward to a point where there’s a waterfall.

If you have more time and you’re interested, you can also do a tactical climb of the waterfall. We did not do that. We just did the hike up the river. I think it was probably about an hour. A hike up the river, through the river, through this slot canyon, this beautiful slot canyon carved by the water through the sandstone. A beautiful area, I’ll have some video of it later on and there will be photos for everything I’m talking about on the website. I’ll put a link to the photos that I took and I took thousands of photos.

So, that was a wonderful hike and an unexpected hike. Unfortunately, it did mean my legs were all scraped up and the order that we did that, that I am then floating in the Dead Sea with all of these scrapes on my leg. It did not turn out to be the most ideal.

Crown Plaza Dead Sea, Jordan

Crown Plaza Dead Sea, Jordan

I stayed at the Crowne Plaza Resort there, which is the largest hotel in Jordan. Very beautiful resort, very Western-style resort. So, if you’re trying to connect with a culture, it’s not necessarily ideal.

One of the things that’s interesting in Jordan is how surprisingly stable the country is when you consider all of the things that are going on around it. Jordan has taken in refugees over the last 50 years or so from the Palestinians, from Iraq, recently from Syria. Before that, they had taken in refugees from Armenia, they had taken in refugees from Chechnya.

And yet, somehow, they seem to make this country work, despite all of the differences that most of the people in the country aren’t native Jordanian. The fact that it’s not the richest country in the region. It doesn’t have a lot of oil. They make a lot of their money on tourism.

But it really works in a way that is very surprising and I think, quite a credit to the people of the country. And really, there was no point in the ten days that I was there that I was at all uncomfortable for anything close to safety reasons at all. I was walking by myself in the capital, through expensive neighborhoods and also through neighborhoods that were not as upscale.

There was just no point at which I even felt noticeable. There was no point at which I thought the people were looking at me weird or that I felt at all uncomfortable.

But the one thing I did notice is that when you are in these very western-style resorts, these five-star resorts, as you drive your car in, they are going to stop you and they are going to inspect the trunk or look under the car or whatever. So, there is an emphasis on security although right now, there isn’t anything going on that would warrant that, except way over by the Iraqi border. And the U.S. government, I know, does recommend you avoid that area right now. But there’s not really much to see over that way anyway.

Ma'in Hot Springs

Ma’in Hot Springs

The first night I came, we also stayed in one of these Wadis by the Dead Sea. And that was another resort, it was the Ma’in Hot Springs. And you’re going through this very desolate portion of Jordan down by the Dead Sea where it gets, again, to me, very similar to the Death Valley region in the U.S.

But then, you get this hidden valley with these waterfalls and hot springs, which is the Ma’in Hot Springs area. We didn’t stay there very long. We got there in the night and then took off relatively early in the morning. But just a beautiful area, just to even sit having dinner out on the veranda, just watching these waterfalls in this very dry desert area. Certainly someplace I could have spent a little more time.

And then, again, the next night, as I mentioned, was this Ecolodge. And the Feynan Ecolodge in the Dana nature preserve, there’s two different Ecolodges at two ends of a trail. You can hike uphill away from the Feynan Ecolodge or downhill from the Dana Ecolodge, I believe, is the name of the other one. Which would be preferable; it’d be a lot faster hike that way.

But there are also a number of different hikes or trails or activities that you can do from the Ecolodge. You can learn go how to bake bread, you can go explore some of the oldest copper mines in the world. Some of the first copper mines in the Bronze Age were in this area. It’s where some of the money came from the country.

And it’s also a bit of a sacred site since during the Roman era, a lot of Christians were sent to work themselves to death in these copper mines. I think that’s a two-hour hike away from the Ecolodge.

And there are a number of different activities that you can do while you’re there. There is no electricity in your room there. There are just candles. And the only WiFi you’re going to find is in the lobby and even that wasn’t that strong, so this is really a little more rustic experience.

Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan

Feynan Ecolodge, Jordan

As we ate breakfast out on the veranda, we were out there with the goats. Again, in mid-May, there were six of us there. And I understand, earlier, there’d be 150 there in sort of March and April time frame.

There’s another time that tourists come which would be in early fall, say August and September. But most people avoid Jordan really in the heat of summer.

And I mentioned Mohammed. Mohammed was one of the local families that was a Bedouin. It’s a Bedouin family there. We stopped by to see, there was a wedding that was going on or it was about to go on the next day. They were setting up two large tents. These big Bedouin tents made out of a coarse camel hair wool. They had one for the men and one for the women because they would party separately. And that night, we heard them firing guns up in the air as they were celebrating this wedding that was happening.

But it’s interesting that the local Bedouin families are involved in the Ecolodge. Not just on the staff, but also supporting it, and how about 50% of the money from the Ecolodge does go back into the local communities as well. And so, a wonderful way to connect with the culture. More so than the five-star resorts, probably.

I enjoyed the Bedouin bread, cooked there in the coals of the fire and also, the sweet Bedouin tea. Tea with some mint in it.

10,000 year old ruins

10,000 year old ruins

And then, we walked over to these 10,000-year-old ruins. And there are arrowheads and things just sitting out as the archaeologists had uncovered them and set them in a pile. And because you’re in the middle of nowhere, there’s not even any fence around this thing, so just a fascinating stop.

We also stopped at two different castles, one in the south on the way to Petra, which is an old crusader castle. And then, one way in the north, north of Jerash, closer to the Syrian border which was built at the same time, but was from the Islamic forces at the same time. Both the castles in ruins, obviously built on top of hills with great views of the surrounding countryside for defense, obviously.

And then, the other thing that we went to is we visited three sites that were more pilgrimage sites. One was Bethany, which is translated “House of John.” And that would be John the Baptist. And this is the site where Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist.

There were three ancient churches built on this spot. And the Jordan River, which has moved since that point, runs nearby and is the border between Jordan and Israel. And a number of pilgrims on both sides come down into the Jordan River to be baptized.

And we watched, actually, alone from the Jordanian side, as tour groups would do that from the Israeli side. With no large border in-between the two countries at that point.

And then, later on, I had the very rare opportunity to come back to that same spot, but this time as a photographer. It had the strangest thing that you probably won’t have on your trip. Which is, I happened to be in Jordan at the time that the Pope was visiting. And so, I actually have now, a Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan press badge that also has the Papal seal, and got to be there standing in the line with all the other photographers as the press and the royal family visited this holy site.

Pope's Visit to Bethany, Jordan

Pope’s Visit to Bethany, Jordan

And then also, as he met, then, with a variety of these refugees from the various countries, especially some of the Christian refugees. To hear what they were going through and then also, to bring a word of encouragement to them. I can’t tell you a whole lot about what he said because most of the languages and most of the speeches that day were not in languages I understand, but there’s a blog post on Amateur Traveler about my experience. And it definitely left me with the desire not to become a photojournalist, because there’s a lot of standing around waiting in that job and some pretty long hours. So, I have a renewed respect for people who do that.

The other two sites the Pope often will go to or religious tourists will often go to are Mount Nebo, which is Moses saw the Promised Land, but then wasn’t able to go in and died on that mountain. And there’s also an old Byzantine church, St. George’s Church in the nearby town of Madaba, which has a tile mosaic floor partially destroyed by earthquakes and maybe also by iconoclast movement, which destroyed a lot of imagery in the Byzantine church at one point.

But there is a map of the area of Jordan, of Israel, down all the way to Egypt all done out of mosaics. Waleed told me that some tourists to Jordan will actually fly in, for instance, from Russia, and they may just visit those three sites and then fly home again. Just do a day trip to Jordan just to see those three sites, which I found surprising, as interesting as those sites may be.

Madaba, Jordan - St George's Church

Madaba, Jordan – St George’s Church

We haven’t talked food yet. I enjoyed all the meals that I had in the country, although I didn’t find there to be a lot of variety, at least at the nice restaurants we went to. We had a combination of Lebanese food and Jordanian food, which is fairly similar and amazingly plentiful. It seemed like there was always at least two or three times as much food as we needed.

They would first bring out, say, ten different bowls of appetizers. There would be olives and there would be a tabouli salad. There’d be a salad with onions and tomatoes and olives and feta cheese. There would be a bowl of olives. There would be pita, there would be hummus, a couple different types of hummus. There’d be baba ghanouj, which is like hummus, except made with eggplant.

And so, you’d have about ten of those bowls. Again, you’d have some flatbread, you’d eat until you were full and then, they would bring out the main course. And I found that no matter how many times we went, I kept forgetting to leave room for the main course. And the main course would be typically some sort of grilled meat or three different types of grilled meat. Some chicken, some lamb and some beef, all wonderful. Obviously, not a lot of pork in the country. Even in the hotels, you’re not going to get a pork sausage or bacon. But you’ll get a beef sausage and beef bacon, but all very good food at all of those meals.

I thought it was funny when we were in Petra, Waleed apologized ahead of time for the people who would try and sell me things when we were there, because he felt that they were very pushy. And I had to laugh because he thought that they were pushy this time of year than they were when there were lots of tourists because it’s obviously harder for them to make a living with fewer tourists.

And I just had to laugh. Because I told him he needed to get out more because compared to some other places that I had been, I didn’t feel that they were pushy at all, because you told them no and they went away. And that was someplace that we didn’t find in certain places that we’d been. I’d think of Egypt, I’d think of Turkey, I’d think of China where it was much more difficult to convince people that you really weren’t going to buy anything.

Part of that seems to be that Jordan is still influenced heavily by the tribal culture, by the Bedouin culture and the sense of what is hospitality and the sense of what would be rude. And I didn’t get as long as Petra as I would have liked. We did go the night before and do Petra at night, which is something I would recommend, just interesting to see that at night, although I don’t have a lot of great pictures of Petra at night.

I would plan on a whole day for Petra and take the time to do the 900 steps up to the monastery and some of the other hiking around that area. But we actually did Wadi Rum the same day and Wadi Rum is the second UNESCO World Heritage Site besides Jordan that we went to.

Wadi Rum, Jordan

Wadi Rum, Jordan

And if the Dead Sea reminds me of Death Valley, then Wadi Rum reminds me of Monument Valley in Arizona. It’s very much a sandy desert with rock outcroppings, some of which have paintings on them of caravans that may have marked the caravan routes through this area. And Wadi Rum is very important to the Jordanian people because it’s really where the home of the great Arab uprising happens against the Ottoman Turks. And if you want to know more about that, you might want to rent “Lawrence of Arabia” before you go, because that is very much the history of this area. There is a monument there to Lawrence.

And the family that is still ruling Jordan is the family of the leaders of that revolt. While in the many other countries where they were sent to, the various sons who were sent were assassinated, that is still the ruling family in Jordan. And they still trace themselves back to that great Arab Revolt, that one tiny period of time when all of the tribes united to kick out the Ottoman Turks. So, it’s a very important time in Jordan’s history and therefore, Wadi Rum is a very important place.

We took a 4X4 tour and then we also stayed in a desert camp. And when I say “desert camp,” it sounds like it’s way out there in the middle of nowhere, but it’s really just off the road there. But we slept in tents, again, these camel hair tents. Had entertainment that night, musicians who played, had a wonderful meal, again, similar to some of the other ones that I’ve described. A great experience, I’d recommend it, but I just wouldn’t try and do it in the same day that you did Petra. I don’t there are many times in my life where I’ll try and do two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in the same day. But they are close enough together that you can, if you don’t have a whole lot of time in the country.

And that’s my trip to Jordan. And I think of some of the normal questions we asked, like “You’re standing in the prettiest spot in Jordan, where are you standing and what are you looking at?” I think that answer is going to depend a little bit. You might be standing looking at the Treasury in Petra. Or you might be standing, looking at this landscape in Wadi Rum. Or these Roman ruins in Jaresh. But I may have to choose, for sheer beauty, the Ma’in Hot Springs. Which is that pretty valley and that little bit of a surprise that I wasn’t expecting there on the first day that I was in the country.



And the other question I ask people usually is “What makes you laugh and say ‘Only in Jordan'”? I think I was struck by what a small country it is and how people still identify themselves as part of a tribe. And the funny thing that came out of that is is the guy that I had, Waleed, knew people everywhere we went. Obviously, this is his job and he’s constantly traveling around the country and staying in this hotel and eating in that restaurant and such.

But it got to be sort of a running joke that not only was this person a friend, but they were also a distant cousin. They weren’t always distant cousins, they were sometimes just friends. But the running joke was, we were running into yet another distant cousin in this area.

The last two questions that I make other people suffer through are “Finish this thought: You really know you’re in Jordan when…” and I think the only answer to that can be is “You’ve been walking for a kilometer through this slot canyon with these tall sandstone cliffs on either side with actually a water course cut out of the sandstone on your left and on your right, which is the old Nabataean water system. And you turn the corner and there you see the Treasury and you know you’re in Jordan.”

And if I had to summarize Jordan in three words, I would say “Warm.” And I use that because I can mean the people and also the climate. “Ancient,” because as a lover as history, there was just so much there, and it just seems like you couldn’t turn over a stone without uncovering something ancient Roman or ancient Crusades or Ancient biblical times or 10,000 years old.

And I think “Welcoming” has to really be the third one because we really do hope that people take a chance to see Petra, because I think it will change, for one thing, your view of the Middle East if you haven’t been to any country in the region. Because it’s just so easy to see it. I really don’t think that anyone should be intimidated to see it and it’s just such a welcoming country, and so easy.

I found that it was very easy to get by in English which is good because I only really learned two words of Arabic. And those two words important “mehraba,” hello and “shokran,” thank you. And that’s my trip to Jordan, so “shokran” for listening.

Jerash, Jordan

Jerash, Jordan


I just have one news story for you today, which is one that some people may find useful. If you have trouble with allergies, you might be interested to know that Swiss International Airlines is taking a step towards becoming more allergy-friendly. They have now been certified as allergy-friendly by the European Centre for Allergy Research Foundation.

The article I read says that they’ve taken steps to make their cabins a more neutral environment for those who have sensitivities to airborne allergens like fragrances and scents, by using gentle soaps in the lavatories, synthetic materials in their pillows and eliminating air fresheners completely.

I think that’s an interesting step forward. Of course, it doesn’t help if your seatmate has put on way too much perfume or aftershave. For a link to that story, check out the show notes at


If you go to the show that we did last week on Lassen National Park, Peter West Carey did a clarification that we had said virtually all of the visitors come from May to September. And the numbers that he saw were that two-thirds of them, 68% to be exact, come during that time period.

And Dick Jordan, our guest, looked at some recent stats and said that if you add in April to October, that jumps to about 82%. So, again, as we said, most of the visitors come in the summertime and again, about the tenth the visitors of Yosemite National Park.

With that, we’re going to end this episode of the “Amateur Traveler.” Remember, again, to visit our sponsor, If you have any questions about the show, feel free to send an e-mail to host at Or do like Peter did and leave a comment on this episode at You can also follow me on Twitter @chris2x.

If you are listening to this show on iTunes or Stitcher Smart Radio or someplace, don’t forget to rate the show so that other people can discover the show. And as always, thanks so much for listening.

Transcription sponsored by JayWay Travel, specialists in Central & Eastern Europe custom tours.


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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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