My sister recently returned from a trip to Jordan in the Middle East. Being more of a snap-shot taker than a photographer, she proved it is possible to capture good photos with a simple compact providing the composition and lighting are good.
I have presented a selection of her images here, and below are her descriptions of the places she visited.
This is the 'Pompeii of the east'- built by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. It was a Roman City with Greek/Roman architecture 2 hours north of Amman (capital), was made a city of the Decapolis, full of temples and theatres
The Picture is of the Oval plaza -which has 63 Columns to represent its construction in 63BC
The South Theatre - One of the few amphitheatres there, with great acoustics. The ex Army of Jordanians are playing the bagpipes
Had some time to float in the Dead Sea, under the sun. Some of the girls covered them selves in mud to wash it off in the salty sea water – it’s supposed to take off 15 yrs from your face!!
The magnificent view from where Moses died- you can see the Dead Sea in the background and can even stretch as far as Bethlehem
Town on the way to Petra, stopping off at the Byzantine St George's Church, famous for its Madaba Mosaic Map on the church floor, depicting the Holy Land
KARAK CASTLE, KARAK
A grand fortress used by the Crusaders, with great views of the valleys below, as well as overlooking the King's Highway
This is obviously the highlight of Jordan yet it is difficult to explain in words and I doubt my pictures could justify the range of colours and stonework that was on display. The striated rocks of red, pink, chocolate looked even more radiant once the sun had calmed down in the late afternoon.
The Treasury is Petra's most famous feature, depicted in the Indian Jones & the Last Crusade film, and is situated at the end of the narrow entrance, which itself has carvings and 'statues' lining its path.
There was a lot of climbing and hiking to reach some of Petra's many tombs, dodging camels, donkeys and horses en route.
We met a lot of Bedouins, especially en route to Aarons Tomb, a 6 hour, sometimes treacherous, hike, in the middle of no where but with spectacular views of the landscape.
The Bedouins speak remarkable English and sometimes try to sell us things from their stalls with phrases such as 'cheap as chips' and 'cheaper than Primark!'
I don't think they directly benefit as much from tourism as the Royal Family do, as apparently ticket sales mostly go to the King (his picture is everywhere e, btw, cars, shops etc)
This is unfortunately a place that is often forgotten by the tourists so it was quite deserted when we arrived. Again, fantastic views and I purchased many of my goods from the poorer Bedouins who ply their trade at the entrance.
This is a desert covered valley that we explored on the back of trucks, climbed sand dunes and left most of our tour group overnight to camp under the stars, while we headed to Aqaba
A warm port in the south of Jordan, beneath the mountains, where one could explore a few more ruins including the city of Ayla. We walked on the public beach and it was strange to see children swimming in their tracksuit and ladies covered head to toe.
Aqaba is also famous for its annual car rally (which happened whilst we were there in the town centre) as well as its Souks (markets) where I bought spices and other gifts.
The capital city at the weekend is crazy - lots of traffic. We visited the Citadel, a large expanse starting at the Temple of Hercules. The Citadel is elevated providing panoramic view of the capital below. The buildings in Amman resemble each other; square, beige with a distinct look of poverty. Amman houses 2m people, included many refugees from Palestine, Iraq, Syria and now Libya, partly due to the number of countries it borders, it's history (West Bank was part of Jordan) and the fact that it's a relatively stable country, welcoming everyone.
Food was very good though there wasn't so much variety. The mezze were addictive and the national dish is mansaaf (lamb with rice and yogurt). They love lamb and chicken. And rice. Lots of rice. In Aqaba there is more choice of fish and seafood.
Jordan is a charming country and I would definitely recommend a visit. The people are so welcoming (always saying 'welcome to Jordan'!), friendly and speak a good level of English, even children as young as 6.
I was very fortunate to have an amazing guide for the whole tour, who brought Jordan alive with his humour and vast knowledge and love of his country. I was also lucky with my lovely tour group. I travelled with a very good tour firm, Exodus, and we were a group of 19, ranging from 24-65. There were solos, siblings, friends and couples. We felt like we had known each other for years by day 4! I definitely enjoyed travelling alone and highly recommend it.