There are no words to describe it properly. If I would compare my experiences in Petra and Wadi Rum, I would say that Wadi Rum touched me more and I was more mesmerized by its beauty. Maybe because it combines both mountains, which I adored in Petra, and the vast emptiness of the desert. The blue hue of the far away mountains, red and yellow sands, sharp shadows cast by the rocks shaped like something out of this planet... Again, Jordan, you surprised me.
Driving South, from Amman to Wadi Rum, for over 350 km on Desert Highway was also an experience. We passed the city of Ma’an, which seems to rise up in the middle of nothing of the desert, stretching to the hills. I never realized that while driving on the highway we are on top of the mountains. So when we started descending down towards the Red Sea, the difference in altitude was great.
Arriving at Wadi Rum village, we met our hosts from the Wadi Rum Jordan Guide. We had booked a day tour of the Wadi Rum national park on pickup, visiting the most interesting natural sites of it. Many of the sights are named after T.E. Lawrence (also known as Lawrence of Arabia), even though they would date back thousands of years.
After the sunset, we had dinner (Bedouin style of course) and walked a bit away from the camp to lie down watching the stars. And there were so many of them! I don’t think I will ever have enough of watching the stars.
Next day we headed more South to the city of Aqaba to see the Red Sea, and then we took the Dead Sea road back to Amman. The Dead Sea road was smaller but offered interesting sights in the desert of Wadi Araba in the Dead Sea valley between the mountains. It was hard to believe that the mountains on our left-hand side, so close, belonged to another country.
This trip to Wadi Rum will definitely top my list of the most amazing places on earth. It sounds like a cliché, but again, what is life without a few clichés am I right? So here's another one. As I am unavoidably seeing this land and these places through the eyes of an outsider, I am quoting another traveler from decades past. How orientalist it might seem, he, too, was fascinated by the desert and touched by it.
“No man can live this life and emerge unchanged. He will carry, however faint, the imprint of the desert, the brand which marks the nomad; and he will have within him the yearning to return, weak or insistent according to his nature. For this cruel land can cast a spell which no temperate clime can match.”