Ancient Lands 2022: Jordan

7 Days

Overview

Hosted by Jim Heck & Kathleen Morgan

November 3 – 8, 2022

$3,680

If you have traveled with Jim Heck before you know that one of his greatest passions is early man. This trip is the next step.

Archaeological sites in many parts of the world record a serious advance in human civilization around 7000 years ago marked by sophisticated trade and encouraged by a more comfortable climate, warm and wet. This is when agriculture developed, the first great collective human achievement.

This peaked around 3500 BCE simultaneously in Pakistan’s Indus Valley and Egypt. [China’s civilization at this point was a thousand years behind.] Just the buildings that you’ll see on this trip, from the pyramids to Petra to the Golden Dome, remain the most awesome structures man has ever constructed! And to think that they were built so long ago is mind-boggling.

Then the favorable climate began to reverse: It got hotter, sea levels declined and rain drastically decreased. Competition for good agricultural land grew fierce and we believe provoked alliances that turned into the “governments” of kings and pharaohs. Just after 3500 BCE the center of world power and politics was indisputably what is now Egypt, Jordan and Israel. The first and greatest capital in the world was Jerusalem.

I think you know what followed: endless conflict, wars, a constant struggle for diminishing good land. The relative paradise, the Garden of Eden – as simple and primitive as it was from 7000-3500 BCE – ended with human conflict and intelligence battling for an increasingly challenged natural world.

If you believe like many historians – ancient and modern – that an understanding of the present is only possible with a foundational understanding of the past, how does this work? Well, by schooling and study of course. But there’s also a more fun way: you can actually visit the places to see for yourself!

You’ll all warrant post-grad degrees after this trip! Of course these countries have popular beaches and Disneyland theme parks, even casinos. And as you’ll see on this trip, wondrous natural areas, too. But a visitor can’t go a minute in any of these places without some obvious reference to the gravitas of its past and the obvious implications for our future.

So Jim is specially pleased that this weighty task is started for us by the extremely special guide, Husam Jubran. Watch his half-hour interview with Rick Steves by clicking here. I don’t think it’s too much of an over-simplification to contend that the whole complicated struggle of the world can be reduced to the struggles between religions: Christians and Muslims, Jews and Palestinians, etc. Husam is one of only 43 Palestinian guides licensed by Israel to tell Israel’s story. Israel trusts him with their story but he is Palestinian and you’ll hear that story as you would on no other standard trip.

Join me on this extraordinary trip. Your eyes will pop; your brain might explode, but in the end I hope you’ll find the unique peace which a little bit more of the understanding of the human endeavor brings to us all.

You can choose to visit Israel, Jordan, Egypt or all three. This page details the Egypt itinerary.

2022 Sharing Single
Israel Oct 30 – Nov 2 $ 3,645 $ 3,930
Jordan Nov 3 – 8 $ 3,680 $ 4,080
Egypt Nov 9 – 19 $ 7,945 $ 8,780

Note about the sightseeing: We’ve packed an awful lot into this tour in all three countries even though it hardly skims the surface. At the same time it’s probably too much for some people. If you’d like some free time or have certain other attractions in mind that aren’t described in the itinerary, let us know! It’s easy to skip or substitute days or half days and all the guides are prepared to assist you with convenient, quick and inexpensive ways of leaving the sightseeing early or catching up with it later in the day.

Itinerary

Those on the pretrip to Israel will have already arrived via the Allenby Bridge in the late afternoon. Those of you just starting in Jordan will arrive Amman, capital of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, where a private service will assist you with your entry visa, guide you through immigration and on to baggage reclaim. Just outside the airport a private transfer vehicle will be waiting to take you to the Dead Sea where you’ll join the others. The drive to the Dead Sea uses the highway belt south of the city. The time depends upon traffic and the time of day and can vary from 45 minutes to two hours. At the Marriott Dead Sea Resort on the lakeshore you’ll meet Jim and Kathleen and others as they arrive throughout the day and early evening. [no meals]
Depart the hotel around 9:30a. It’s a beautiful drive down the Dead Sea Highway then into the Jordanian desert and on to the Dana Biosphere in time for a late lunch. After checking-into our ecolodge hotel, afternoon activities are offered. Lunch, dinner and overnight at Feynan Lodge. Night time activities are also offered. [b-l-d]
This ecolodge is an all-inclusive experience intended to introduce you to the Jordanian Desert. Most of the activities carry no additional costs, but sign-up is required in advance. The actual schedule of what activities will be available will not be known until you receive your final documents, but for a good idea visit (https://ecohotels.me/en/feynan/activities). The range includes desert exploration by hiking or mountain biking – all with guides, local village experiences with the Bedouins, Jordanian cooking and visits to archaeological sites as well as activities after dinner. Activities, meals and overnight at the Feynan Lodge. [b-l-d]
After breakfast continue south to the Red Sea port at Aqaba where everyone will have an hour or so of independent sightseeing with time to get some lunch. The boardwalk along the sea is filled with restaurants and shops. Continue in the afternoon into the Jordanian desert. This is where Lawrence of Arabia (Col. T.E. Lawrence) organized a number of the Bedouin tribes to defeat the Ottoman Turks at Aqaba during World War I. It’s an area of striking beauty, a true Saharan desert that Lawrence described as “vast, echoing and god-like.” Arrive for as spectacular dinner and overnight in a “bubble” beneath the heavens! Accommodation at Memories Aicha Camp. [b- -d]
Most of the day is spent after breakfast on an exploration of the desert. Maizes of monolithic rock boulders often rise above the desert floor 6-7000' creating some of the most beautiful views in the world. We will go to the “reportedly exact place” where Lawrence convened the tribes before the assault on Aqaba, a secluded desert canyon surrounded by the great rockscapes where our guides will set out a desert lunch for us amid breath-taking landscapes. We’re returned to our main tour bus in mid-afternoon for the several hour drive to Petra, arriving around 6 p.m. Dinner and the evening is independent. Overnight at the modest Petra Movenpick. The hotel is directly across from the small Petra village plaza with its many restaurants and small craft shops. Note that the nearby Petra Museum is open until 11 p.m. [b-l- ]
Comprehensive morning guided tour of the Petra archaeological site. This is an enormous site that includes an ancient village and a number of outlier settlements. The roughly 3-4 hour guided tour will give you a firm understanding of what’s available, so that if you wish to return to the site after lunch independently you’ll have a better idea what to do. In addition to the precious archaeological ruins, the national park has cut a number of nature trails within the overall site designed to ultimately try to recreate the landscape of Biblical times. Lunch and dinner are independent. Overnight at the Petra Movenpick. [b- - ]
Hotel checkout is at 10 a.m. We meander on the beautiful King’s Highway directly back to the airport for the 4:55p flight aboard Royal Jordanian to Cairo, scheduled to arrive at 6:25p. You can start exploring in Egypt immediately! [b-l- ] (This flight is necessary and not included in the land price but is often bundled into your international air fare. Contact EWT for guidance and ticketing.)

Cost Includes

  • Accommodations and meals as named
  • Professionally guided sightseeing as described
  • Entrance fees for all included attractions
  • Private transportation for the group
  • Most activities from the Feynan Ecolodge

Additional Expenses Not Included

  • All other necessary air fares, including international, regional and intra-country
  • Visas
  • PCR testing if required
  • Tipping (Jim & Kathleen do not accept tips)
  • The costs of obtaining requisite inoculations and documentation
  • Some meals
  • Most beverages
  • Upgrades and options whose prices and details change and are described on request