Exploring Aqaba

A taxi was waiting for us in Wadi Rum village when we arrived on our camels, ready to drive us onwards to our final destination in Jordan, the seaside town of Aqaba. It was a balmy 23c when we arrive and although we were very early for check-in our room was ready. Oh my I had the longest hottest of hot shower and oh my it was heaven. We even had a kettle in the room and we were on our third tea before we’d even started showering! Our balcony looked out to sea but for a few hours all we did was lay on the bed and rest our tired bones.

We dozed until late and we realised that we had an extra day in Aqaba! This made us feel happier about doing nothing and we decided to just wander down to the beach, have a drink and find somewhere for dinner and save the sight-seeing for the next day. We found a little café on the beach which looked out across the red sea and the Israeli town of Eilat. Aqaba sits on Jordan’s border with Israel and pre-covid you could walk across the check-point. Indeed we’d planned to spend a day in Eilat but the border is currently closed so that plan will change.

We wandered along the beachfront road and found a restaurant. We were the only folks eating and were given a table upstairs. We had chicken and rice and cold drinks for the princely sum of just a few Jordanian dollars and much like the meal we had in Amman it was tasty and filling and after we wandered back to bed happy travellers.

The next day we slept late, ate a hearty breakfast, and went exploring. We meandered the streets around the Souk, the old and new bits, and walked along the beaches. We found little restaurants serving more chicken and rice with more Arabian mint tea and still for just a few JODs. Gerry had more than a couple Mango juices and we bought bags of nuts and dates and apricots and coffee. We had a wonderful day exploring.

In the evening we returned to the restaurants that line the road behind the beachfront and found another restaurant and ate more chicken and rice. I should stress that Gerry always orders a variety of dishes but where ever I am in the world, I know that chicken and rice will always be safe for me to eat (it’s gluten and dairy free) and it’s tasty and I am always full… it’s predictable but it works for me. After dinner we took a stroll though the busy streets, listened to the most beautiful call to prayer and headed back to our hotel.

As we had an extra day and COVID had closed the border to Isreal we decided instead to head a little further south down to the resort of Tala Bay. More of a distant suburb of Aqaba, Tala Bay is full of posh hotels, lush gardens and heated pools.

It’s really cold in Jordan at the moment, the sun is hot and the sky is blue but gosh the wind is cold and it was snowing again in Petra! So we were hoping to find a heated pool like the ones in the Dead Sea Resorts.

We took a day pass at the Movenpick and planned to stay to watch the sunset. From the hotel you can look across the water to Egypt and Israel and we’re also only about 10km from the Saudi Border. We’d considered swimming in the sea but it was far too chilly, though we did manage a swim in the heated pool. There’s no denying these resort hotels are fabulous but they feel deserted at the moment and they have no character or life and so, even though we’d paid a fortune for our day, after our lunch we decided to head back to Aqaba and the public beaches and watch the sunset there.

We walked along the sea front, rubbing shoulders with locals, families out for a stroll, old men sat talking enthusiastically on the wall with their arms waving excitedly as they talked, children running and laughing, a cacophony of noise and life and joy and we were asked maybe 20 times if we wanted a boat ride but always with a smile, and we were asked maybe another 20 times where we’d come from and always greeted with a welcome to Jordan. It’s been like this every day. There is so much noise and laughter and life here. We were so happy that we came back to this beach. We found a spot on the wall and stayed to watch the sunset along with everyone else and when it had set we reluctantly pulled ourselves away headed back to our hotel to pack, we’ve an early start tomorrow as we start the long journey back to Amman for our flight home.

Oh my we’ve had the best time. Come to Jordan… you won’t be disappointed!

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