Aqaba, JordanApril 17 in Jordan
We spent the day docked at the Southern Jordanian port of Aqaba. The Old Testament refers to this place as the land of Midian. Among its claims to fame are the tombs of Moses, on Mount Nebo, and that of his brother Aaron. We also got to see the Wadi al Run (Valley of the Moon). It was here that Lawrence of Arabia mounted his successful capture of Aqaba in World War I.
The high point of our trip today, however, was the ancient Nabatean city of Petra (meaning “rock”), the name the Romans gave it when they discovered that it was a city carved out of very living rock. This Nabataean city reached its zenith in the third century BC., with about 35,000 inhabitants. Like the temple we visited in India, nothing in Petra is brought into a structure or assembled within it. Everything is carved out of a sandstone cliff side.
As we were driving back to the ship this afternoon, the sun was about to set on the western face of these Jordanian mountains. The long, red, afternoon rays of the setting sun warmed these jagged sandstone hills to a rich, rose color. I believe I have never seen a sight any more beautiful. I think it is safe to say that as far as natural beauty is concerned, Jordan may be the most beautiful country in the world.
On the way back to the ship the Viking crew was kind enough to arrange a little Bedouin party for us. We stopped at an overlook from which we could see the entire Jordan River Valley. General Manager Sujith Mohan, and Restaurant Manager Dejan Gami entertained us in their best Bedouin garb, complete with kaffiyeh.Read more