When you cross into Jordan from the Syria in the north, not only do you know you have entered a new country (obviously) but it feels like you have arrived in a whole, new world.
Green and rolling hills of Syria give way to orange, endless deserts and dark lumps of granite. It sounds hotter than it is (at least I don't remember it ever being THAT hot) but a little heat is nothing compared to the glorious grandeur and rich history this country boasts.
Officially named the Hashemite Arab Kingdom of Jordan, the country is steeped in history - and all kinds of it.
From the ancient East came the Canaanite, Akkadian, Assyrian, Judean, Babylonian, and Persian empires. Throw in a portion of Pharaonic Egypt and the Nabateans (the guys who left us Petra). Mix in some ancient cultures from the west, (Macedonian, Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman Turkish empires) and end with the Muslim and Arab cultures (since the 7th century minus the short period of time for the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem and a patch of British rule). And that is just the cultural aspect! Each left their mark and a good chunk of it can still be seen today.
Important and powerful biblical history also abounds. From the hill where Moses first looked over the Promised Land, the stream in which Jesus was baptised, the place where John the Baptist was beheaded, and Mount Nebo - where Moses is believed to have died. And that is not all....
Of course these days, and on top of all of that, the big draw cards are what all these cultures have left behind. Petra is possibly the most popular of all sights in Jordan with its red-rock walled canyons and the 'Treasury' immortalised in one Indiana Jones movie. A full day may not be enough to cover all that Petra has to offer so taking a donkey or horse ride up to the Monastery and Sacrificial Place will save you a big hike up the canyon. Looking much like strawberry/chocolate ice cream, the canyon walls make for stunning photographic opportunities all on their own.
Not far away is the world famous Dead Sea. Think you can't float (apparently a common 'guy thing'), then have a go down there in the warm waters chocker-block full of anhydrous chlorides. Not only will you float on your back, you can float with all your arms and legs out of the water and read the paper at the same time! If you feel like it you can also buy some of the (rather expensive) restorative mud and salts to take home with you. Oh, and don't worry - it is called the Dead Sea because of the lack of aquatic life that can live in it - not because it will harm you!
Wadi Rum Desert has its own draw card. Jump in a 4 x 4 with your local guide and spin off to the reputed former home of Lawrence of Arabia, check out the Rainbow Canyon and stand on thin air on top of the Arch.
After all that sand a dip in the warm Red Sea waters at Aqaba may be just what you need. Glorious tropical fish and corals are a short trip from shore for the Scuba divers among us and if that is too adventurous then hire some snorkel kit and check it out in a more relaxed manner.
I could go on (and on and on) but really you should just go and check it out for yourself! No matter what your taste; if history, culture and 'stories of old' are your thing then Jordan has something for you!
See you there!