The Magical History Tour, what a ride it has been. I never thought of myself as having a bucket list. Mostly because I just want to see EVERYTHING and go EVERYWHERE. But I have realized over the past two months that I do have a bucket list, and I am slowly ticking things off that list, all while adding more to it. And for the past ten weeks the Magical History Tour has taken us away.
We’ve been very lucky to see incredible things in our travels. Unimagineable things. Without even really realizing it we have seen five of the present day Seven Wonders of the World, included on that list was Petra in Jordan where we visited this week.
I saw a television program about ten years ago about Jordan and they interviewed Queen Noor standing in front of the incredible Treasury building at Petra. I was smitten and knew I would visit there some day. It was easy to add Jordan to our Egypt itinerary. Now, having been in Jordan, I realize I could have added Egypt to my Jordan itinerary. Jordan is extroardinary. A cradle of ancient, biblical, Roman and natural history. We did not allow enough time to see it all.
During out time in Jordan we visited three main sites, two on my bucket list and one I wasn’t even aware of;
- Jerash – I had never heard of and yet we found this amazing ancient provincial Roman city more beautiful, interesting and preserved than Rome itself. Jerash likely dates back to the time of Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BC. It is an immense archeological site with only about 15% excavated. Unfortunately it is not a UNESCO site, despite the antiquity masterpiece that it is. Apparently one of UNESCO’s stipulations was for a music festival that is held here annually to be discontinued because of the damage it causes to the site. Our guide told us that
too many pockets are lined as a result of this music festival and the powers that be are not willing to give the festival up. Very sad as this site was truly impressive and needs UNESCO’s preservation assistance.
- The Dead Sea – my “no bucket list” bucket list has include floating in the Dead Sea for a long time and here in Jordan we had that opportunity. You can access the Dead Sea from Israel as well as Jordan, and in fact more of the Dead Sea is in Israel. But Jordan has a portion of it at the south end. It is truly amazing how salty it is and how buoyant you are when floating. In fact all you can do is float. You can barely walk or stand and swimming is out of the question because you just flip over and float. It tasted horrible and you certainly don’t want to get it in your eyes. But it was warm, clean, blue and a once in a lifetime event filled with lots of giggles.
- Petra – Of course here it is the main reason we came to Jordan to see Petra as part of our Magical History Tour. I can’t possibly do the vast history of Petra justice in this blog, nor were we able to see the entire site (you need two or three days), but in our five-hour visit we did and saw the most amazing highlights. Of course the Treasury (named thus because of
the Roman’s using it as such but originally it was a temple), is the most amazing of the antiquities in the site, the best preserved and most beautifully designed. There are several other amazing temples, tombs, palaces and more throughout the 60 square km site. We spent an hour and a half with a guide and then three hours wandering on our own including hiking up high above the Treasury for that iconic photo shot. We did not hike to the Monastery or the sacrificial site. We would have needed much more time than we had. I would love to come back here again some day – it is just so amazing, truly a wonder deserving its Seven Wonders status.
So Jordan was a surprise, and worth the effort to get here. We felt incredibly safe at all times. The people are friendly and helpful and speak excellent English. I am so glad we came.
And with our farewell to Jordan we say farewell to The Magical History Tour that began in August when
we left the USA. We have covered so much amazing history over the past ten and a half weeks traveling through and exploring eight countries. Highlights of the Magical History Tour have included such bucket list items as;
- Northern Denmark – where we learned captivating medieval and WWII history. Read about it here.
- Brugge – the beautiful historic town and now one of my favorite medieval villages. Read about it here.
- Berlin – the beguilling and resilient city of Berlin and the Cold War era history and Berlin Wall. Read about it here.
- All of Poland – incredible medieval and more importantly the World War Two history in this country made it one of my long time bucket list goals and experiencing Auschwitz (Read about it here) will remain with me all my life. Read about Poland here.
- Romania Castles – seeing the fortress cities and castles of Romania with their ancient history and stories (Dracula) was a long bucket list destination. Read about it here.
- Greece – although we had visited Greece before we had wanted to return for years. I suspect we will visit again too. The ancient Greek history in this country combined with the sheer beauty of the Mediterranean will keep it on our travel destination list for years to come. Read about it here.
- Egypt – Of all the places we visited on the Magical History Tour, Egypt was the long-awaited
destination for me. And it did not disappoint. Seeing the Valley of the Kings, the Nile River, the Sphinx, the Pyramids and so much more was a bucket list triumph. I loved it all. And perhaps the friendliest people we have met. Read about Cairo here. And about the Nile Cruise here.
The Magical History Tour covered about 10,400 miles including 11 flights, 5 train rides, 12 ferry crossings, 6 airbnb’s, 11 hotels, one river cruise ship, and 72 days. It was educational, insightful, fascinating, delicious and fun. But time to move on.
Now we turn our attention to something new. We will spend the next four weeks and four days in Portugal and Spain. The first half of that time is focused on walking another Camino de Santiago. We start on Sunday to walk 250km to Muxia Spain. The Magical History Tour has kept us so occupied, we don’t really feel prepared either mentally or physically to tackle this next Camino. But nonetheless we will. I’m sure we will fall into the rhythm quickly.
We then spend another two weeks exploring Spain before flying on November 22nd to begin five and a
half months in the Americas (Florida, Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Belize, Guatemala, Dominican Republic). I suspect there will be a great deal of magical history there as well.
As always we thank you for your continued support and interest in our travels and My Fab Fifties Life. Watch for posts from Portugal and the Camino coming soon!
And Go. Be. Fabulous.
Read about last year’s Camino adventures here.
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