A Travellerspoint blog

Winterlude in Aqaba

...and another goodbye

sunny 12 °C

Empty beach and boardwalk in Aqaba, Jordan.

Jan 14


"Brrr! Snorkeling anybody? Not!"

Today we drove to Aqaba. When we got there we tried the Aquamarine Hotel, Movenpick, Aqaba Gulf Hotel, befre finally getting a hotel called Jordan Sueties Hotel. Looked around, went home, had dinner. G.N.!

Jan 15


Today we walked down to a small boardwlk at the edge of the Red Sea. Very nice, by the second biggest flag pole in Jordan. Very many locals. Had delicous shwarma and Lays for luch. Walked down to Marinera park. Went home, had dinner. G.N.

Jan 16


Today we went to Lots Cave. It was a very long drive (long and boring up the Dead Sea Highway. We got a guide called Robin. Nice. Saw Lots ave and Church, had lunch in the dessert (noodle cups) and played King and Queen with Poppa. Went back, had dinner at Rovers Return English pub, said goodbe to Poppa. G.N.!

Jan 14-17


Things have calmed down a bit since we got to Aqaba. Not totally by design. Partially it's because the cold snap has continued, and, even at this low altitude, there's no chance we're going to go snorkelling. It may get up to about 14 degrees in the day, but there's a stiff wind blowing.

On the plus side, Aqaba is a very pleasant city for walking. Wide sidewalks, lots of cafes and restaurants, huge traffic circles with palm trees lit by floodlight at night, and a boardwalk along the Gulf of Aqaba. We've enjoyed a couple of long walks, and a couple of short drives down the south coast - right to the Saudi border, actually. Although some of beachfront is by paid admission only, the city also has a brand-new free complex with a playground (a great find for Anica) so we could walk along the beach, too. The water is temptingly bright blue, but feels almost as cold as the air.

The choices for dining have been more diverse than elsewhere in Jordan. James told us that, eighteen years ago, when he first came to Aqaba, there was a good Chinese restaurant. We got craving Chinese food, sought the place out, and actually found it, despite the lack of street signs, thanks to Jenn, who used nothing more than a flagpole as a landmark ad a miniature Lonely Planet map of the neighborhood. We parked, went up the steps, only to see a sign that read "Closed for renovations starting Jan 14." It was Jan 14th. After 18 years, he missed it by one day! Later that night, when we saw another Chinese restaurant, we fulfilled our craving. More evidence that Chinese food is usually better outside of China!

We've also had great shwarma, good chicken tikka, fish and chips at a somewhat authentic English pub and another one of our own picnics. This one was in what might have been a quarry or reservoir access road, but I prefer to call it our "oasis." We had spent the morning of Jan 16th driving up the "Dead Sea" highway, which is a strange enough thing to do that we had to stop about five times for checkpoints. This highway runs straight and flat, parallel to Israel, through a valley leading up to the Dead Sea. We didn't expect to find much to do, but figured we'd go as far as "Lot's Cave," then have our lunch.

"Lot's Cave" is a Bibilical site, rediscovered in 1986, that they don't want anyone to find yet because the museum & renovations aren't done. At least, that's our take on the fact there was only one sign in 200 km pointing the way. We made that turn off the highway, then asked a few people who pointed us this way and that through the town. Finally, we arrived, and another sign said "Closed for renovations except by escort." There were no other cars there, but, sure enough, there was one lonely guy in a little hut, and he hopped up, and said "Welcome! Afwan! Sure, sure, I show you."

Up we went, 50 vertical metres of cliffside. We shared our chocolate bars with "Robin," our "escort." I resisted saying "to the Lot Cave, Robin."

So what did we see? There are the ruins of a Byzantine Church, built just outside the cave in the 5th century, and abandoned in the 8th century. They had built there because they had determined that this was the cave that Lot's family hid in when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. After some drugs and incest (really; it's in the Bible) their family continued without Lot's wife (who had become a pillar of the community). We dutifully peered into the cave, admired the view from the hilllside, chatted with Robin a little more, and then sped back down the Dead Sea Highway.

Somewhere on a desert highway...caution...camel crossing

Jenn's Dad is driving back to his work in Riyadh, so our time here ended with another tearful goodbye. The three of us travel by bus back to Amman, to catch our flight after a night there.

Posted by jennrob 21:08 Archived in Jordan

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


Such a gorgeous picture and neat stories about Aqaba. Too bad it is too cold to enjoy what looks to be splendid water and beach.

Too bad about the Chinese restaurant...what timing, right?

by sabrinagb

Chinese food better outside of China! I ate Chinese food when I was in Kashmir less spicy. We enjoyed the food in China, especially the noodles. We are looking forward to potatoes (Jaclyn's favorite) in June. Lovely photos. Was there a pillar of salt at the cave? You are having the adventure of a life time..

by Mum 2

Hi Rob, Jenn, & Anica,
Too bad it's been so cold for your stay in Jordan. Seems you were able to see quite a bit anyway--lots of good food too! I'm sure it was difficult to leave James again.
Keep up your great journal, Anica (& Rob too).
M&D, N&G, H&D xxxooo

by hdbutters

Very interesting. I'm glad you read the Bible Rob. Haven't a clue about any of these stories you've recalled. Is it unusual for it to be so cold? Every time I read your entries I get hungry!

by JBRobinson

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.