To celebrate Xomnia’s 10th anniversary, over 60 Xomnians embarked together on a journey of a lifetime to Jordan. Departing from Amsterdam Schiphol towards Queen Alia International Airport, we kicked off a long weekend of adventure that started in the air, then on land, and finally in the sea!
Here is a short trailer of the trip. Continue reading to get a first-hand account of our amazing weekend!
We woke up in our hotel rooms in The Hilton Dead Sea. Incredible views awaited us, as well as luxury and opulence everywhere in the hotel, which we didn’t mind at all ;) Everything from the landscape to the colors to the atmosphere was different and serene. But this was the calm before the (adventure) storm…
After a generous Arabic breakfast, we were driven to Wadi Mujib, one of the most beautiful valleys of Jordan. Led by our private guide, we hiked 2.5 KM, surrounded by the breathtaking reddish, smoothly carved stone valley. The entire hike was accompanied by an endless stream of clear, freshly flowing water.
Despite how serene this sounds, the hike was much more adventurous than we expected (Turns out you really did need water shoes, a recommendation that some of us chose not to take seriously…)
Following the hike, we headed back to our hotel, where we devoured our lunch first, then donned our swimsuits for a much anticipated dip in the Dead Sea. The experience was nothing like swimming in any other sea – the very high salinity levels even made some of us get a strong itchy sensation. On the flip side of the coin, we seized the precious opportunity to indulge with some mud masks, which are known for their health benefits.
Following our fun-filled morning and afternoon, we took the bus towards the one and only jewel of the Jordanian desert: Petra! Of course, upon arrival, all we had energy to do was eat our dinner, and go straight to bed! The hike we had was very intense, and surely not for those seeking a light challenge!
The second morning was upon us, and we were all bracing ourselves for all the sights, longing enthusiastically for the moment we lay eyes on the Petra Complex. Getting there required hiking for 2 hours, after which we reached the Monastery, one of the highlight monuments of Petra.
From there, we walked for another 1.5 hours, encountering a lot of monuments from the Nabataean Kingdom that date back to the classic antiquity. Towards the end of our hike, there it was! We came face to face with the biggest highlight of Petra, the Treasury!
Few of us will forget the feeling we got seeing the amazing Nabataean monument gracefully revealing itself from between the stones of the rocky valley.
Following this challenging hike in the desert, we were super happy to be offered a traditional lunch made at a local guesthouse. Afterwards, it was time for some hibernation/rest in the bus while we were being driven towards our next destination ;)
One and a half hours later, we arrived just in time for the golden hour. It was adrenaline o'clock: Sunset safari in 4x4 pickup cars! Being the self-proclaimed masters of the desert that we have become, we suavely donned head cloths to protect our faces from the dust, hopped on the back of the pickup cars, and took off towards a special (and private) destination in the desert!
Following the safari, we arrived in a traditional camp in Wadi Rum, where we had a locally prepared dinner. After dinner, we enjoyed a private party at the same location. The party theme? Indiana Jones, obviously ;) We danced the night away on the beats of the DJs (shout out to DJ Yoda & DJ Jarl!).
No visit to Jordan is complete of course without the experience of sleeping in the desert and seeing the majestic star constellations lighting up the darkness. We stepped away from the hectic energy of the party and went to sleep in the darkness under the starry sky. Away from the party, the night air was slightly cold, and the whole desert turned blue and black. The Milky Way was clearly visible, and we even spotted several shooting stars! A truly a magical touch to such an unforgettable evening.
Waking up in the desert felt refreshing and calming. All the noise and fun of last night’s party felt like a distant past, as we found ourselves surrounded by the endless calmness of Wadi Rum. We saw the sun rise over the rocks, surrounded by nothing but peace and quiet. The desert had an overwhelming peaceful energy.
The dunes and rocks that were blue under the night sky slowly transformed to shades of yellow and red as the sun rose. We almost lost our breath observing the vast landscape in front of us slowly wake up. As we were preparing to say goodbye to this magical place, we reflected on the peace and freedom we had felt here, a place where there are no roads and seemingly no limits.
Our flight back was only hours away, but this doesn’t mean that we couldn’t squeeze in one more fun activity ;) After breakfast in the desert, we all boarded the bus and headed to our final destination: Aqaba and the Red Sea!
Upon arrival, there were boats waiting for us to go into the Red Sea and enjoy its absolutely stunning and deep blue color. We swam, snorkeled a bit, sunbathed on deck, and washed the tiredness of the past 48 hours away…
Our trip was nearing its end now. We returned to the shore to enjoy a long lunch together, showering afterwards and getting ready to return to Amman airport and later head to back Amsterdam.
So long, Jordan! You were AMAZING!
If you're longing for more, you can watch the long after-movie below ;)