Five “Wow” Moments in Jordan

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By Linda Milks


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: Travel writer Linda Milks shares her adventures in Jordan. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on PodBean.


Jordan can be described as a peaceful country of welcoming people! Jordan is the place to understand Arab country with hospitable citizens. Surrounded by Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, this historical gem of a country has much to offer.

These are some of my “wow” moments on a trip hosted by Visit Jordan for a group of media of the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association.

Through Local Eyes Tour
The Through Local Eyes Tour drew all of us in. Twenty-something brother and sister, Anas and Lana, led us through the Jabal al-Weibdeh streets. We met at Paris Square, a square rehabilitated in 2003 with four Parisian street lamps and a Wallace fountain with four female statuettes surrounding it.

It is such an inspiration to feel the passion in the voices of these two talking about Amman, the city they love. As we walked along the area, we noticed both graffiti and murals that offered up so much brightness with flashes of many colors next to the drab gray concrete walls. Anas commented that the graffiti often expresses more of a true feeling of the artist because it is done quickly and with passion whereas the mural takes many hours or days to paint and must be approved first. Many times the street art is not done for aesthetic purposes but to express a message the artist wishes to convey.

Galsoum’s Kitchen
One of the highlights of our trip was lunch at Galsoum’s Kitchen.  Galsoum Al-Sayyah’s warm smile greeted us to her home where we were seated on cushions on the floor around a low table. We immediately felt welcome. We were to experience a feast of true Jordanian food. The most amazing dish is Maqmoura, a dish requiring a five-hour preparation of layered dough with chicken and onions. This dish is prepared in a pan the size of a pizza pan with high sides to shape the dough and fillings into a perfectly round cake. Other dishes included Kubbah, a crushed wheat dish with either lamb or beef. Mansaf, the Jordanian national dish, was also on our menu. Mansaf is either chicken or lamb with rice and fermented dried yogurt. Dessert was Ma’amoul, a cookie filled with figs alongside a date and a sweet tea.

Galsoum has inspired 15 other women in the area to prepare meals for tourists and locals as she has done. She also has a cookbook titled “Empowering Women through Cooking: Stories and Recipes from Jordan”.

  • Falsoum Al-Sayyah at Her Galsoum's Kitchen Offering Tea
    Falsoum Al-Sayyah at Her Galsoum's Kitchen Offering Tea


Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum (Wadi means “valley”), described by Lawrence of Arabia as “vast, echoing and god-like”. The sprawling vastness of this desert landscape feels like it goes on forever. Once we arrive, we head off in an open 4 X 4 Mitsubishi with a canopy to protect us from the sun. Out of the golden sand rise large rock formations in the distance and views of siqs peaking between those massive formations. As we came to a stop, several camels greeted us with welcoming smiles to entice riders.

We bounced back in the jeeps to our home for the night, the Sharah Luxury Camp in our dome homes with views of the mountains and stars. The Sharah Restaurant under the management of Executive Chef Zaid Nawafteh, offered walls of freshly made bread, salads, grilled vegetables, chicken, lamb, fish, and many dessert choices.   

At 5:45 a.m. the next day, four of us mounted our kneeling camels and then hung on for dear life as the animals stood up on their back legs first. Off we went to see the sunrise. Our camels were strung together by lead ropes and had done this desert sunrise trip many times. 

Once about a mile out, we were greeted by Bedouin men who prepared a small fire made of sticks on which they sat a teapot. The flames were fanned by the man in charge of the fire with his thoab (a long, dress-like caftan). 

The magic of the sunrise and the peacefulness of the desert in the early morning is something I will never forget.

A trip to the northern part of Jordan to the town of Jerash gave us a clear understanding of just how many civilizations have crossed through this land. A lush and green area known as the “Crossroads of Civilization”, Jerash is home to a human occupation dating back 6,500 years. This area holds the remains of those from the Neolithic times, the Greeks, the Byzantines, and the Omayyad civilizations. Jerash is particularly known as one of the best-preserved Roman towns in the world.

We walked on paved and colonnaded streets surrounded by walls, towers, and gates. Mosaics can be seen from the ruins of homes. The hippodrome where chariot races were held spurred our imaginations back to those times.

Petra By Night was our first glimpse of this encompassing siq lit by over 1500 luminaries stashed along the pathway and overhead on rock ridges. The wonder of the siq opening to the massive Treasury is beyond words and validates being one of the Seven Wonders of the World. At night everyone seated on the ground in front of the Treasury holds candles as they listen to stringed instruments and see the light show of reds, greens, and blues across the front of the Treasury. The Treasury dates back to the 1st Century B.C. and was built by the Nabataeans.

Petra during the day is a whole different world. We walked to the Treasury and beyond to the steps of the Monastery. There are 890 uneven steps up to the Monastery, so we chose to ride mules up the steps. That was quite the thrill, but the beauty at the top made up for the journey.

The list of experiences to take in the entirety of Jordan is immense. These are some of my “wow” moments.

Plan your Jordan experience at

Linda Milks specializes in exploring all that is food, wine, and travel with a hearty supply of curiosity and enjoyment. She has been published in Big Blend Magazines Magazines, FWT (Food, Wine & Travel Magazine), and featured on Big Blend Radio. Linda serves on the executive board of the International Food, Wine & Travel Association (IFWTWA) as the Treasurer and is the Media Trips Chair. Follow her adventures on her site,  



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About the Author:

Linda Milks specializes in exploring all that is food, wine, and travel with a hearty supply of curiosity and enjoyment.

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