Travelogue Jordan 2011
In Jordan it is pretty easy to get along with English though of course not everybody speaks it.
Before arrival we had booked a hotel for the first night and we had rented a car (see FAQ). There are a couple of things to know if you want to drive in Jordan:
- It is pretty easy.
- The most dangerous things are speed bumps. Some of them are hardly visible and you should have all your attention focused on the street. If you worry about them you might consider a special insurance package that covers damages of the underfloor. But these packages are quite expensive.
- Directly at the airport the first warning signs indicating speed bumps (sorry for the ugly background). Unfortunately not all speed bumps have such a sign so attention is needed.
- It is generally recommended not to drive at night. The streets are winding, at some places your car might fall a couple of hundred meters if you get off the road. And don’t assume that every vehicle is properly lighted as you might now it from home.
- Filling stations were the only places where they tried to cheat us: When we bought 30 liters costing 25 Jordanian Dinars they tried to make us pay 30 Dinars. But if you tell them that you know which of the numbers is the price they will accept that easily.
- Most of the streets, especially the smaller ones, don’t have names. Really. This makes navigation quite difficult. One neither knows what to enter into the navigation system nor can ask about the street. So whenever you need help by a local you should have a map available or ask for important places or buildings close to the place where you want to go.
- The usage of navigation systems is also difficult as there is no unique transcription of the Arabian names into Latin script. It happens that one doesn’t find even bigger towns just because one does not know how they are written in the navigation system. For such cases it is good if you have a map with coordinates and to enter those into the navigation system. Of course this does not help with the exact address within a town but sometimes the guide books quote the coordinates of important places.
- The Jordan map 1:400.000 of the World Mapping Projects helped us a lot. Unfortunately some of the names are spelled different than on the (English) road signs.
- Even map and navigation system did not help us always. Common sense and the very friendly locals helped then. It happened twice, for example, that we missed a turnoff and the locals realized immediately that we were going towards a "non tourist" place and signaled us to turn around.
- Sometimes the road signs are excellent, but not always. And the example below shows that even a big sign is not necessarily of help.
- This is a sign to Karak Castle. It is very helpful … if you are here to vote.
To visit Jordan you should stay at least two weeks. We did not manage to go to all the interesting places in two weeks and we also would have liked to stay a bit longer at some places.
The best travelling times are spring or autumn. In summer it is too hot and winter can be quite nasty. And even in spring and autumn it can get pretty cold, so don’t forget a decent jacket and a warm sweater.
We did not have a fixed route and had only booked the first night after arrival. During our trip it was no problem to call the hotels one night before we arrived there to reserve a room. In most of the cases we got a room in the hotel of our choice. However we travelled in March 2011 as there were conflicts in most of the surrounding countries. Once the political situation is stable again it might be more difficult to find accommodation. It was really great for us that even the big tourist attractions were not too crowded when we went there.
We loved the food. It is worth mentioning that we did not have any stomach problems though we ate at the typical small falafel places and in local restaurants. Everything was very clean. And TASTY.
Everything else on the following pages.
- In each country different animals might block the road.
© Volker Umpfenbach