The Dahab (Egypt) Penguin Hotel provided transportation to Nuweiba where I took the fast ferry across the Gulf of Aqaba to the city of Aqaba in Jordan.
Nuweiba ferry port (slow ferry being loaded) as seen from the fantail of the fast ferry.
|Upon arrival at Aqaba, Jordan, it seemed in view of my schedule, not convenient to spend yet additional time in Aqaba, so I decided to push ahead to Wadi Musa, the small town outside the gates of Petra, my pricipal sightseeing target in Jordan. Rather than to be crammed into one of the waiting busses, I and some others decided to walk instead to the customs building to retrieve out passports and receive our (free) entry visas. The walk was short, and the real circus began outside of the building exit, after we were cleared into Jordan. Cabbies everywhere screaming and yelling. All of them willing to take you to Wadi Musa. The taxis were at least modern and fully functional, compared to those driven in Egypt. A fairly long ride, I seem to remember something like two hours, took us way up into the surrounding mountains and finally, after some discussion, dropped us off in front of the Cleopatra Hotel.|
Wadi Musa seen from
my room. Petra is off to the right.
Wadi Musa (Petra)
|The Cleopatra Hotel is a friendly, comfortable place with nice, clean rooms and decent rates, as well as a generous breakfast, welcoming and helpful staff, and Internet service for a small fee. A little too much smoking going on in the common area, but that was the case in nearly every hotel in the Middle East. Free drop off and pick-up for Petra is provided and laundry service is downhill, across from the school just below the hotel. Off to the right, toward the town center there are three banks with ATMs. Two, across from each other, just a hundred yards from the hotel, and one on the other side of the traffic circle, on the left side of the street. I actually walked from the hotel to Petra, did all of Petra, and then walked back. Quite doable, depending on the physical condition you're in. I also purchased the slightly cheaper two-day admission ticket to Petra, since one day hardly does Petra justice.|
Petra: My first glimpse of the Treasury
One of the evenings, when enough people requested it, the staff cooked a wonderful Arabic-Jordan meal for us, that found approval all around and was quite delicious as well as very reasonably priced. The only general gripe was that the soup was too salty. I mentioned it to the staff, and the promised to take it under advisement.
The Cleopatra also arranges various trips around the local area, Wadi Rum, for example, and also guides visitors around the Petra area, if so desired.
On my day of departure, the staff had given me a choice of calling the bus to Amman to stop at the hotel for me, or, should I have others with whom to share the ride, a taxi. I ended up going with the latter option. Advice to take a white-colored (service) taxi in Amman was not good advice, BTW. Take the yellow cabs. They're pretty inexpensive, and will take you directly to your hotel in Amman.
Hotel Cleopatra's generous Arab breakfast on request. Their regular breakfast is quite acceptable as well.
Al-Anbat One Hotel
A suitable alternative place to stay.
|Having heard and read about how nice this hotel supposedly was, I decided to check it out and go to one of their nightly buffets. The hotel is up on the hill, above the Cleopatra and thus some distance further away from Petra. The hotel is quite large, reasonably priced, and apparently clean. Guests expressed their satisfaction. Being as large as it is, it lacks the intimate atmosphere of the Cleopatra, and the buffet, slightly more expensive than the meal at Cleopatra was about on par in quality, and ahead in quantity, but lacked personality. The problem there was that the staff ended up trying to rush you out of the dining room to allow others to come in and eat. The buffet is popular enough that people who are staying elsewhere stop by to eat here. Hotel rooms all have TVs. The common area was not as comfortable, more crowded, noisier, and even more smokey than that of Cleopatra. The latter the biggest problem of any common space in all hotels in the Middle East. The Internet room is large, but access is much more pricey here.|
King Faisal Street, Manko Market.
Tel: 4624326 or 4624327 Fax 4650603
I had already decided to stay at this hotel, and the recommendation by the Cleopatra Hotel was added incentive. It was unfortunate that I had taken a white cab (essentially a service taxi), since that one dropped me off a short but confusing distance from the Palace Hotel. All yellow cabs dropped me off in front of the Palace Hotel without fail every time. Actually, as you walk around in the area and get confused, there is a mosque not far from there, and as you look up, you will find the Palace Hotel sign high up at the building facade. It's a nice landmark.
The Palace Hotel is located right downtown and in easy walking distance to ATMs, Post Office (both to the left of the hotel), and to any number of markets and eating places, off to the right. From King Faisal Street corner, walk down the short passage shown above, to the marked entrance on the left. An elevator or stairs will take you to the lobby. Each room has satellite TV, but no refrigerator. Rooms are small, but sufficient, and the bathrooms are clean. Shampoo and soap are on hand. The personnel is friendly and helpful and English is spoken. The breakfast is at the bottom of the range of breakfasts, as far as I am concerned. Reserve well ahead of time, since I found the hotel, even off season, at times full.
Tours can be arranged upon request through the hotel. In addition, the staff is very happy to answer any question that you might have regarding local or regional travel.
Internet places are around, a friendly one is up some stairs, almost exactly across from the Roman amphitheater. It is just about a 6 ot 7-minute walk from the hotel. The Abdali bus station, for departure to Damascus, Israel, or other places in Jordan, is just a short taxi ride away from the hotel. To get a yellow cab to Abdali, cross the street and flag one down there, since that is the right direction and there is no easy way for the cab to turn around. On the day of my departure to Israel, it was off to a different part of the large Abdali bus station, where a bus driver was waiting to have a minimum of three customers to drive the bus to the King Hussein Bridge. The alternative are service taxis that are lined up there. I ended up going by bus.
Interesting is that the second time I crossed the border into Jordon, that time from Syria, it cost me about $15 for the visa.