My Inner Peace

Floating into the strange water of the Dead Sea

Dead Sea, Jordan
Dead Sea, Jordan

Leaving behind the beautiful Kerak Castle, we headed directly towards the Dead Sea. You cannot visit Jordan without having the experience of the Dead Sea. And I’m saying this because you may imagine how would it be to float in such a salty water, but it’s nothing like being there and experiencing it.

So, when we were sure of being able to visit the Kerak Castle that afternoon, we booked a room to Ramada Hotel near the Dead Sea, to sleep there and be ready for a sunrise at the Dead Sea. The way back down from Kerak Castle was quite challenging once the sun went down, because it was a pretty damaged road with so many curves and sometime with so little visibility. However, the car we’ve rented in Aqaba was pretty new and strong, and we had no issues.

Once back on the highway, everything seemed easy to manage till a certain point when Waze was showing us a strange route to take to reach Ramada. So, we ended up in a improvised road, sandy and full of holes and quite risky. This put me in the position of taking the car out backwards moving easily to avoid the holes and the bushes. Once out, we drove back to the highway and forced Waze to find another route which it did. A small way, built especially to reach Ramada in the middle of nowhere (literally!).

So, from our tips and tricks list, I would say this is an important one. Don’t let yourself misled by any driving navigator! Stay on the asphalted road while you are trying to reach Dead Sea Ramada Hotel. The other way will also bring you to the same point, but you will probably ruin the car. 😊      

We managed to arrive at the Dead Sea Ramada Hotel arround 20:30, we’ve cheked in and had dinner on the balcony of our room. We had in mind to go to the Dead Sea and take a swim that evening, but that was not possible. Being a frontier point, you are not allowed there after sunset, and especially not by yourself. There are people in charge from the hotel to watch over you. To reach the beach, there is a hotel shuttle going back and forth every 30 minutes starting 7:00 am.

Dead Sea Ramada Hotel Suttle
Dead Sea Ramada Hotel Suttle

So, for that night we just enjoyed the dinner, the view, the hot wind outside, the hot shower, and then a deadly sleep to be in line with the Dead Sea we were waiting to see early next morning.

Wake up at 6:00 am and ready for the beach. We had to wait for 15-20 minutes for the suttle bus to drive us there, as everyone was moving so slow at that time. Once we’ve reached the beach, it was like being in the middle of nowhere again. That was the private beach of the Ramada Resort. Everything was so quiet, that gave us the sesation of being out of time and space there.

Dead Sea Ramada Hotel Beach
Dead Sea Ramada Hotel Beach

Then, the most suprising thing happened. Trying to swim into the Dead Sea, is quite a challenge. I was looking at my friend trying to keep his balance into the water and most of all, trying to respect the rules. Yes, there are specific rules for the Dead Sea like the one saying: „First take a sitting position, and then lay on your back!”. This is not a natural position your body takes when entering the water.

Dead Sea, Jordan
Dead Sea, Jordan

Briefly, at the begining it’s kind of a mindset change. Then becomes something you may really love and it’s hard to leave behind. For me, it was an amazing experince I really loved to have and I will repeat it for sure during my trip in Israel I am planning to have this year. So, being there, you must try the local mud! It gives you a strange and nice feeling in the same time.

Dead Sea Mud
Dead Sea Mud

Plus, the time in the Dead Sea seems like a healing and infinit time. The consistency of the water it’s felt on a deeper level of your body and you can really find diffrent ways to play with it. Not spashing the water as it is forbidden due to the fact that you should not ingest it or touching your eyes with. Once you are out, you feel like a prikcle, I guess. 😊    

Dead Sea, Jordan
Dead Sea, Jordan
Dead Sea, Jordan
Dead Sea, Jordan

At 9:30 am we went back to the hotel for a shower, we checked out, and left this amazing place with such a big sorrow we didn’t planned for at least two days here. It really is a quiet place, where you can spend some time relaxing and experincing the magic water of the Dead Sea. And when I say magic, it is not a figure of spech! It is a reality that you cannot experince in any other place on Earth!  

Dead Sea, Jordan
Dead Sea, Jordan

To be continued…

Check out the begining of the Jordanian adventure here:

Following Jesus Chist footprints to Jordan River

How I baptized myself in the Jordan River

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Jesus Baptism Site, Jordan River

Once we left the Dead Sea, we started to drive towards the Mount Nebo, where Moses is supposed to be buried. We had planned that day to visit Mount Nebo, Madaba and Jesus Christ Baptism Site. While driving to Mount Nebo, my inner voice was calling me towards the Baptism Site first. So, after driving for half an hour, I stopped the car and recalculate the route towards the Baptism Site, practically driving back for 10 minutes.

Another 15-20 minutes drive and we arrive. After parking the car, we found out that there is a shuttle bus driving us directly to the place, and moreover, each shuttle bus has a tour guide. I must confess I thought this was a visit one can do by himself, but in reality, they have everything under control including the tour guides due to the fact that the Baptism Site is essentially at the border with Israel and it’s a military area.

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Jesus Baptism Site, Jordan River

So, having already the tickets payed online, we went directly to the shuttle bus. Essentially, you should expect to jump in a minivan with kind of a poor conditions inside: no air conditioning, damaged chairs and other local aspects you will understand once you will get there. But, it’s the only way to reach the Baptism Site, so not the place to act like a diva. 😊

Baptism Site Museum, Jordan River
Baptism Site Museum, Book of Greetings, Jordan

After other 5-10 minutes’ drive, we arrive at the gate of the Baptism Site. We started by seeing a museum and then we went towards the Jordan river and afterwards to the place where Jesus was baptized. Jordan river used to be bigger 2000 years ago, so now the place is inland far from the current Jordan river. However, the guide explained us that during spring time, the water comes out from the soil in that area as well, like a small water spring.    

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Jesus Baptism Site, Jordan

The tour guide was actually an amazing man! We talked about religion and beliefs and I asked him how does it feel to be Muslim and have a job in a Christian place of worship? And after the experience in the Mosque in Aqaba I was surprised to here that he doesn’t consider this activity as a job, but as his mission in this life. And then he added that the Muslim people believe in all the prophets, including Jesus and the Quran mentions Virgin Mary 40 time while the Bible is mentioning her less than the Quran. And we continued to walk and talk about the fact that there is only one God, and just the name is different in different beliefs.

After a short walk we arrived at the Greek Orthodox Saint John the Baptist Church, quite close to the Jordan river. We went inside and I found out that if I am already baptized in a church by a priest, I can enter the Jordan river and baptize myself in its water as well. So, the guide was very kind and he gave me a special made white dress to use for this ritual, even if we didn’t had cash with us. However, I gave him 14 JOD, the price of the dress, once we got back to the car.         

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Saint John the Baptist Church, Jordan
Baptism Site, Jordan River
Saint John the Baptist Church, Jordan

Here I am, doing something I was imagined to do since I was a kid: to enter the Jordan river and to be baptized in its water as Jesus was. Strange childhood dream, one may say, but I was fascinated by this idea for so many years. It is useful to say here that being baptized as a Christian Orthodox, on 6th of January we are celebrating Jesus Baptism right when the Catholics are celebration the Epiphany. And each year, the priests are visiting the people’s houses and blessing them using holy water and singing a song about Jesus Baptism in the Jordan water. So, this was one of the songs of my childhood and I always asked myself how it was for Jesus to be baptized in the Jordan river as an adult.

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Baptism Site, Jordan River

Maybe it sounds strange, but I must confess it was one of the most powerful gestures I did for myself, based on a childish idea I was fantasizing on when I used to be a kid. So, I entered the Jordan river, I disconnected from the outside world and I baptized myself in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. 😊   

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Baptism Site, Jordan River
Baptism Site, Jordan River
Baptism Site, Jordan River

After leaving that holy place, I felt like having a new superpower or something. I was so happy and I had an epiphany! I was so grateful to myself for listening that inner voice asking me to turn the car and drive back to see this place first. Not doing so, I was probably meeting another tour guide with different views about world beliefs, have other discussions, and probably never found out I can enter and baptize myself in the Jordan river.  And, the funny thing was that the place was full of people before changing my clothes. Then, when I approached the river everyone left and I had my ritual in peace and without being disturbed by people taking pictures or talking around.

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Baptism Site, Jordan River

Today is 6th of January, the Jesus Baptism Day for the Christian Orthodox Church, and I am remembering this story and writing it down as a symbol of this holy day, and as a symbol of the holiness that lives in each of us. We are a projection of a higher consciousness we call God, and we have everything we need to become the masterpiece of our life.

Baptism Site, Jordan River
Baptism Site, Jordan River, behind the Israel part of the river

To be continued…

Check out the begining of the Jordanian adventure here:

Kerak Castle, a visit inspired by „Kingdom of Heaven” movie

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

After four days in Aqaba, enjoying the Red Sea, we rented a car and started to drive back to Amman. We had a lot of objectives on our map, mostly castles, and we manged to see only the most important of them. So, our first objective was Kerak Castle, an old Crusader forteress oppened in 1142 to oversee the commercial roads between Jerusalem, Damascus, Mecca and Egypt.

From Aqaba we took the highway following the western part of the country, near the border with Israel. It’s the fastest way to reach Kerak (Al-Karak), 250 km drive away, and we needed to be fast to be able to see the castle before 16:00 when the visiting hours were ending. So, we left Aqaba at 12:00, stopped for lunch on the highway and then driving to Kerak.

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

To reach Kerak, you have to drive for almost an hour outside the highway up on the mountain. So, small damaged roads with endless curves are waiting for you. If you have a bad stomach, think twice before doing this part. :p

However, once up on the mountain, in the middle of the castle ruins, you are in the right position to thank God you took the journey. You can see everything from up there, Al Karak city below and the roads looking like a small part of Transfăgărășan road in Romania. Basically, you have a 360 degree view of the horizon! And if you happen to be there close to the sunset, the view it’s breathtaking.

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

The place has a good energy and you may feel like staying for a while. So, if you have a day, just enjoy the castle and also the city.

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

I am fascinated about old castles, hence for me it was a blessing being there and walking inside the rooms preserved after so many centuries, and imagine how everything used to look like at that time. Even if most of them where built as strategic points of defense, I still find them fascinating.    

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan
Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

But why Kerak Castle?

Well, I am a huge fan of the famous movie „Kingdom of Heaven”. One of the most important battles of that time was in this area between Saladin, the frist sultan of Syria and Egypt and the conqurer of the Kingdom of Jerusalim from the Christian’s commands, and  Raynald of Châtillon, prince of Antioch. Even if the movie was not shot there, I wanted to see the place and step into the energetic footprints of the people fighting for a „kingdom of conciousness” they understood at that time it’s made by stones and buildings.  

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

In fact, if we are looking at the root cause of the current wars we are facing today, we can easily see we are not that far from them. We are fighting in diffrent countries for material things like land and properties, in the name of the same God that we, as human beings, understood He promised us a material kingdom. And if we look at Kerak Castle or other points of defence in history, we can understand what will be left from today’s wars. Only ruins and a history painted by the ones in a powerful position.  

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

As I see it, the only way out from all the ancient patterns we are repeating over and over again is by rasing our level of counciousness, which will take us out of this reality to build the Kingdom of Heaven as it should be: a kingdom of counciousness embodied in human beings led by their inner voice of their true nature manifested as kindness and compassion for their own phisical manifestaion and for all the other beings around.  

Al Karak, Jordan
Kerak Castle, Jordan

To be continued…

Check out the begining of the Jordanian adventure here:

Aqaba, the city of narrow-minded views showing openness in a Mosque

Aqaba, Jordan
Aqaba Castle, Jordan

Leaving Wadi Rum Desert is like leaving behind a treasure that belongs to your Soul. The good news is that I felt like taking with me the taste of the silent sand full of divine grace. And that feeling is so full of meanings and powerful understanding that fuels your body with the curiosity of the new adventure waiting to be lived in Aqaba.

So, we left Wadi Rum with a jeep taking us into the village, and from there we took a cab (25 JOD for 2 people) to Aqaba. This city is not present in the usual organized trips, but was one of my dreams seeing this place. This is the Jordanian seaside, and after so many dry days in Petra and Wadi Rum, taking a swim in the Red Sea, was the best thing to do. The sea in the Aqaba bay is quite calm, salty, and good for swimming. The two bothering things here are the laud music on the boats transporting people in different points of the bay and the fact that the local men are literally staring at the foreign ladies that are daring to go for a swim to the public beach. They have this custom to sit on the beach or in the coffee shops with a beach view, smoking shisha (narghile), drinking tea or coffee and looking at the foreign ladies on the beach.

Aqaba, Jordan
Red Sea, Aqaba Bay, Jordan

That’s why the government arrange for a private beach in a 5 starts resort where you can go from the hotel directly paying 11 JOD / person which included the transportation with a hop on hop off bus, plus the entrance fee in the resort. Everything is 5 stars, and you can also book a room and spend some days in there. Is 10 km away from the city, just that is in the middle of nowhere so you feel like closed in there if you don’t have a car to go to the city. And another disadvantage would be the fact that the sea is not that still and calm as in Aqaba bay. Nevertheless, if you want to spend a day there, it’s a good choice as it’s really quiet and deserted.

Aqaba, Jordan
Islands, Aqaba, Jordan
Aqaba, Jordan
Islands, Full Moon, Aqaba, Jordan

The city of Aqaba it’s an ordinary city. Big, full of people that are less open-minded than the people in the northern part of Jordan, even less open-minded that the people in Petra or Wadi Rum. Initially I thought it was because of the fact that there are not too many tourists in this city. Then I’ve noticed a lot of foreign people, so there is another reason behind, I was not able to discover yet.

However, there were some nice experiences we had in this place. First of all, the accommodation. We booked a double room for 4 nights at Taj Hotel 3*, and we ended up receiving an upgrade to a suite within the same price (122 EUR / 4 nights / 2 people). And this was not just for us! I must confess that before booking the room, I was reading the reviews and more people were saying the same thing. So, basically, I decided to book this hotel hoping for the same treat. And it proved to be real! 😊 Now, you should not expect a 5* suite, however, having two rooms, a living room and a small kitchen like in an aparthotel, was more than what we’ve expected. Honestly, I think it’s a marketing trick, it’s actually their way of making you choosing this hotel that is up on the hill, not next to the beach as the others. However, if you enjoy a 5 minutes’ walk to the beach, it’s a very good choice and quality for money. We’ve met a Romanian couple on the second day. They booked a 2-3* hotel near the beach for one night, and they told us it was awful. So, I say better uphill, in a suite! 😊   

Aqaba, Jordan
Al-Tazaj Restaurant, Aqaba, Jordan

Then, the nicest part of this city was the food. Even if it was very hard to find restaurants serving vegetarian dishes as most of the restaurants and fast foods are selling only dishes with meat, we finally found this place, Al-Tazaj, with an exquisite falafel, and excellent sea food, and we suddenly became their loyal customers. We even took some falafel sandwiches with us when we rented the car to drive back to Amman and visit some other places on the way back.

Another nice thing to see in here is the Aqaba Castle. We were there 15 minutes before the closing hour (4 pm), and we did a quick tour. Then, the man in charge of the Castle came to us and offered us a private tour inside and up on some of the parts of the Castle that were closed. It was a great experience and we enjoyed a lot his way of showing us where to sit to have the best pictures of the place.

Aqaba, Jordan
Aqaba Castle, Jordan
Aqaba, Jordan
Aqaba Castle, Jordan

If you have a look at the small details around, Aqaba had a great positive aspect to be remembered here: the labels with the real prices of the products in the shops and supermarkets. In Wadi Musa, there were less honest people telling you the real price of the products, moreover the prices were even 3 times bigger than in Aqaba. So, not feeling “rubbed” at each corner was a big plus of this city!

Aqaba, Jordan
Aqaba Castle, Jordan

Now, a strange thing happened when we tried to rent a car. We went several times at Avis rent a car office asking for a car and they continuously told us no car was available for the day we were planning to leave. Moreover, they asked us to pay 35 to 50 JOD extra-charge for taking the car in Aqaba and leaving it in Amman. So, I decided to check this on the internet. And I managed to book a car via Ryanair app from the same Avis office without paying any extra-fee for leaving the car in Amman. Briefly, when in Jordan, you may want to book things on different sites and apps than dealing with local people even if they are employed by big international companies. The good news was that again I booked for an small car (Kia Picanto) and I received an almost new big car (Kia Celina), so we were so comfortable driving back and visiting around different places on the way back to Amman.   

Madaba, Jordan
Madaba, Jordan

Going back to the less open-minded people, we faced that again when I tried to visit a mosque. During the last day of our staying in Aqaba, we went to see the mosque we were passing by each day when we were going downhill to the beach. And once I entered the courtyard of the mosque, the men started to fight each other to get me out of there. Some were saying that it was not a problem for me to visit the mosque, others were completely against the idea, and others were trying to make me pay 20 JOD for a hijab (a long skirt plus a scarf to cover my head). At a certain point, when I was about to leave the place, a man came and he was completely willing to help me entering the mosque. So, he asked his wife to give me her hijab and a scarf to cover my head and I was invited inside the mosque.

Aqaba Mosque, Jordan
Aqaba Mosque, Jordan – wearing hijab
Aqaba Mosque, Jordan
Aqaba Mosque, Jordan

I sat there quietly thanking God for the presence of this man, and praying for a more understandable and peaceful world. After finishing my pray, I went outside to give them back the hijab and the scarf, and he started to explain me that we all have the same God, just that some people are seeing these things differently and I should understand and forgive them. And we agreed that we are all the sons of the same God, just the way we call God may be different like Allah, and the perspective may change from a mind to another. I thanked him for his way of seeing things and for his willingness to put an end to that fight, and I left the mosque full of hope that men, one day, will stop fighting for and in the name of God.    

Aqaba, Jordan
Red Sea, Aqaba Bay, Jordan

To be continued…

Check out the begining of the Jordanian adventure here:

Wadi Rum – The Desert is quiet, yet the Desert speaks!

Wadi Rum Desert
On Top of The World – Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan

During these three days in Petra my body was burning, my inner peace was nowhere to find and I felt like dying for few times. My only window towards myself was opened only inside the Prophet Aaron’s tomb where I was able to meditate for half an hour. It was a real blessing and I am sure it was actually our ticket back safe into the car where my fever came back again. 

Tough night, but I managed to sleep and that was a real help. The interesting thing when I woke up was to notice the fever was completely gone. So, luggage done and jump into a taxi towards Wadi Rum Desert where we booked a jeep tour and a night in a camp in the middle of the desert.

I was a bit dizzy in the taxi, I admit, but once I stepped into the desert, I was completely a new person. We took a jeep tour and started visiting the most important things Wadi Rum has for tourists’ eye.

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan

We started with Lawrence Spring, where two Jordanians asked me nicely to take some pictures with me. I was surprised even if I’m already used to this kind of requests when I am traveling in countries where my skin color looks so interesting for the locals and they are asking me to take pictures with me like with a movie star or something. So, my surprise was not coming from the request, but from the fact that after three days of fever, my look was not that great, and for a second I asked myself “why in the Gods name would you like a picture with someone looking like me?!” But looking at the guy and seeing how nervous he was, I felt my heart melting and I said to myself “if you see something that worth being immortalized, so be it!”. And we laughed and they were trying afterwards to catch a camel for me from the free ones around, and I guess that was the Desert way of saying “Welcome to my world!”

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan

After this unexpected experience, we went and hiked the Sand Dunes. And there I was back again in touch with myself and God! On top of that Dune, I was able to do my first quiet, profound and relaxed meditation under the full light of the Sun bathing my body and my Soul. For Christians like myself, it was actually the celebration day of the two Archangels MikaEL and GabriEL, under which power and blessings I surrendered my entire being.

Desert Wadi Rum Meditation
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Sand Dunes

Once back in the jeep, I felt like having a new body and the certainty of a complete healing was installed in every cell. Then we headed to a canyon where one can see the Anfishih nabatin Inscriptions 200 B.C. old left by ancient trade caravans.

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – The Canyon
Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Anfishih nabatin Inscriptions

After getting into the heart of this canyon where one may find it a bit uncomfortable to keep his own balance while stepping on wet rocks trying not to slip and fall into the water, we went to Um Froth Rock Arch. Climbing that rock it’s more like climbing a wall. It’s not easy to climb, nor to get down afterwards, but it’s worth all the effort and the queue you have to wait patiently as it is one way only and the path is so tight only one person can pass at a time. Once you are up, it’s amazing! You have this mixed feeling like being on top of the world despite the fact that the arch is only 15 meters high, but you are up there, looking down at all that people ready to take a picture of you, and the small path is giving you the sensation that you can fall anytime. In fact, is just that monkey brain scared as Hell seeing itself out of its comfort zone. 😊      

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Um Froth Rock Arch

After these experiences full of adrenaline, we went to a nice place where we were able to take some panoramic pictures of Wadi Rum desert and spot the line between the red and white desert.

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – panorama point

It’s amazing to sit in the red sand, play with it and feel like home!

And moreover, 300 meters away set a small camp, and witness a majestic Sunset while drinking Bedouin tea. Words are not enough to describe the feeling, so I advise you to go there and have this experience.

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Sunset

Once the Sun was down, we went to the camp for the night, we had Bedouin tea again, we had dinner and then we decided to walk for a while into the desert and just listen. And I think if God has a voice, that is the voice of the desert!

After this walk, I laid down on a bench to watch the stars. I have never seen so many stars not once in my trips in different parts of the world. And I felt like my body was melting down and becoming one with the sky, one with the stars, one with the entire universe. This was my second door of the day into a profound meditation where I felt like finding an equilibrium between all 5 elements and integrate it. And there it was again, that healing state coming from a new layer and embodying into this human being.   

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Sky after sunset

And after three days of fever, my body was not burning anymore, was kind of freezing for a bit. So, we headed towards our tent with a view over the desert and the sky, and I was finally being able to fall asleep watching the stars and the Moon shining over the quiet sleepy desert.

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Moon view from the tent

I woke up several times that night, just to watch the Moon and the stars as I was always dreaming of, and then fall asleep again with a big smile on my face.

And if you spend a night in the desert, you cannot miss the sunrise! So, we woke up at 5:00 am and we went out to witness how the Sun is touching the mighty Desert. We climbed the rock that was behind our camp, and there, after consuming that strong feeling of joy for the present moment, I set on the edge of the cliff, I closed my eyes and I felt like falling into another dimension. There, on that cliff, I reached another layer of my own being, and I understood my profound connection with this world, and the meaning of the burning days in Petra.

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Sunrise

That’s why I’m saying… As much as quiet the Desert seems, the Desert actually speaks!       

Desert Wadi Rum
Wadi Rum Desert, Jordan – Sunrise

To be continued…

Chek out the begining of the Jordanian story here!

PETRA, the City of the Magic Fire (3rd part)

The Canyon

I left “The Monastery” behind and I went down to find “Prophet Aaron’s Tomb” (Moses bother). Google Maps was showing it somewhere downstairs, into another Canyon. So, there we are, following Google’s indications. Needless to say, that the “Mighty” Google was lost as well, so after a while, we found a local man and asked him about the trail towards Aaron’s Tomb. The man told us we can reach it that way as well, but it’s the longest way and the most difficult one. Hence, he advised us to get back to the “Crown Plaza Restaurant” (Yep, there is a Crown Plaza right in the heart of Petra’s ancient site 😊) and from there we will see the easiest way.

While I was walking towards “Crown Plaza Restaurant” I felt actually grateful. Thanks to Google’s indications, I think I’ve seen one of the most beautiful Canyons on Earth. Every step was made with a full heart and amazement in front of the Mother Nature’s power of creation. I took so many pictures there willing to take home with me every corner, every rock and every shade and glimpse of light playing within that Canyon. Needless to say, that the pictures cannot show the greatness of what the eye had witnessed there.

Once back to “Crown Plaza Restaurant”, I looked around to find an indicator towards Aaron’s Tomb. I found nothing, actually. However, I had a friend back home that was visiting Petra two months ago and he was doing the same thing. So, a quick Whatsapp message, and I received the number of a local guy that was arranging jeep trips to the tomb. I always prefer to walk, but taking into account that was already 3 pm and in Jordan, in November at 5 pm may get really dark, I said “ok, jeep it is!”. I wanted so much to find this tomb. God knows why, but at that particular time something was pulling me towards that place. Later, I understood why.

Sunset on the mountain

So, here I am, in the middle of a lot of Jordanian people telling me it is impossible to reach the tomb at that hour, but with a donkey, they can show me other beautiful places around. Well, “impossible” it’s a word I really like, ‘cos I know something amazing is about to happen really soon. When they saw I was firm in going up there, one of the guys called this man and gave me his phone to talk to him. He tried to convince me to came back the next morning, but once I explained him that was my last day in Petra, he offered to find someone willing to get me a ride up on the mountain. He found a guy, but an endless back and forth on Whatsapp started, and everything was about the money. He asked a huge amount of money for my budget, and when I said NO, he asked me what I am willing to pay. At that particular point I my fever was back and I was really exhausted. I just wanted to sit, rest and do a meditation, and close my personal story with Petra in this life. So I gave him for two people a sum I thought he will never excepted, meaning 25 % less than he asked for one person. He continued to negotiate while I was already giving up and focus to find “my meditation spot”. I must confess that at a certain point I was so trilled to find a certain place chatting with my friend, and I was not listens to his messages anymore. But when I did, I was really surprised to see he accepted my offer of 25 % less than he asked for one person.

At this point I was like… “WTF! I need my meditation and I am so close to do it here and now!” Then, suddenly, I remembered what all the people before used to tell me: “It’s IMPOSSIBLE to get there at this hour!”.

Hellooo, Diana! This is your sign! So, move your butt, forget the fever and go to find “your meditation spot” up there!  

We’ve met our driver up on a hill, we stepped into this “kind of a jeep”, and he started to drive up and down on the mountain. There were moments I thought the car will fall apart, but it didn’t, and the driver did his part acording to the deal we had. Soon after we left, I was again amazed by the beauty of the nature and while the Sun was drawing shades and red lights over the astonishing shapes of the mountains, I thought “what am I doing to a tomb that will be closed when we will arrive?” And right after I set my intention that no matter the hour of the arrival, all the doors and all the ways should be opened in front of us. Two minutes after, the man I was dealing with for this adventure called the driver and he offered to help me have a great experience because he knew my friend back home. And due to the fact that it will get dark and we need to walk for another hour up to the mountain and everything will be closed, he proposed to send a guide and to show us the way and open the tomb for us. Of course, everything in exchange of some money. Needless to say the amount was not important for me anymore, as I felt his phone call as a quick answer to my intention set few minutes ago.

So, from “impossible” to a jeep ride and a guide opening the tomb for us, I think it’s a good progress. 😊

After a while we reached the point where the car stopped and we started to hike. The Sun was going down, my fever was going up hence my body was not answering anymore to all my mind orders, and my friend that was accompanying me was also tired and had an arm in pain. Plus, we didn’t have had a proper meal that day. There was such a pressure around, both from outside and inside. We where looking up to see the mountain’s top and we were just spotting another peck to be climbed. At a certain point, our guide pointed towards a peck saying in Arabic (he was not speaking English) that the tomb is there. Such a relief, yet such a worry seeing the mountain we were still had to climb.  It was almost dark, but the Moon was shining, so we managed to reach the top without artificial light.

Moon over the mountain

Once on the top, I was so happy, I wanted to scream and let the entire world know that we did it! Instead, I kept inside that feeling and went inside the tomb to do my meditation I was waiting for so long, now.  I was so grateful I was there and I knew something brought me there even if under so many feelings I was not able to understand yet. But I did my part, I prayed and I tried to harmonize my mind, my body, and my soul, to be able to get down quick and safely.

By the time I finished everything, it was completely dark, but the Moon was still shining. However, the mountain has its paths, and some of them were in complete darkness, so we had to light up the way using my headlight and the torch from my friend’s phone. It took us 50 minutes to get down and reach the car again. But this time our bodies felt lighter, the pains were almost off, and the steps were firmer. The tricky thing is that when you go down from a mountain and it’s dark, the headlight makes you see more the path you are walking on, so the mind it’s not scared anymore by the parts she doesn’t see. And there were some dangerous parts over there, that during the day maybe would have been more difficult to overcome than during the night when you are not able to see them. 😊

Hiking with headlight

Once in the car, the fever hit again. The driver dropped us at the meeting point, so we still had to walk inside the site for a while. He showed us the way, and while we were walking, a dog came along. He was a sort of a guide too, as he showed us the way when more paths were crossing. Back on the official route towards “The Treasury”, we were stopped by the site police. They asked us for the ID and the Jordan Pass, and then two of them escorted us to “The Treasury”. They explained us it’s their job to make sure everyone gets safe outside the site and no one gets lost in these mountains still inhabited by the Bedouins.

Back to “The Treasury”, the ritual of so-called “Petra by night” was already began. So, we had the chance to see what was all about, and we received a personal guard to escort us inside “The Siq” as well. While we were walking inside the canyon, my fever was higher and higher, so once the guard decided to greet us and get back to “The Treasury”, we found a bench, we sit for a while to rest a bit, and ate some dates to be able to take a pill to drop down the fever.

Petra by night

Then we walked towards to exit, and continued to walk to a local food place for a tasty falafel, our first proper meal of the day, at 10:30 pm.

7th of November, a day full of amazing experiences, when the unthinkable became reality, and the “Impossible” became POSSIBLE. We hiked for 33 km that day, but for one that walked the Camino de Santiago three times, it was the most insightful walk I have ever experienced.

The most profound lesson of that day?

“When you think your body it’s completely broken, Faith will still keep you walking for hours even into the darkness, driven by your Heart and your Soul. And that revels the power of the inner light! ”   

To be continued…

PETRA, the City of the Magic Fire (2nd part)

After an evening full of medicines and all kind of therapies, I finally managed to sleep and I woke up at 6 am willing to explore the magic tracks of Petra. I went to the Visitor’s Center and I started walking inside the archeological site at 8:45 am. I expected to find less people, but, to my surprise, there were a lot of big groups walking around, taking pictures and speaking all kind of languages. I was walking so fast to find some peace in there, but soon I found out it was really impossible before reaching again “The Treasury”.

The second day in Petra is different than the first one. “The Siq” and “The Treasury” are already familiar, so you don’t need to spend too much time there anymore. What I did on this part was just walking, and once I reached the Treasury, I went up on the mountain to take some pictures from that angle as well. Being early in the morning, the sun highlighted a part of the place where we were sitting to take “the perfect picture”, so we had the chance to play with the light and shadow and to do some great shoots. Up there, you need to pay 1 JOD, and you receive a black tea… awful! 😊

Petra – The Treasury

Once we came back from the mountain and reached again the “Street of Facades”, we passed the “Theatre” and the “Great Temple” and we continued to walk towards the “Ad Deir” known as “The Monastery”. To reach it, we had to climb another mountain, and from a certain point, to walk the 850 stairs on the way up. There were so many donkeys exploited up and down on the mountain to help tourists climb it easily. Some of them were so sad, and I spent some minutes with them just cuddling and making them feeling special. And the most impressive thing was to see a few of them crying while I was petting them. They broke my heart in so many pieces, as I really felt their sadness, loneliness and hard time to cope with the effort their masters were asking them to do. And, to be honest, I don’t think climbing that mountain on the back of a donkey is too much fun. I’ve seen tourists scared, uncomfortable or just tired to keep the balance on some tricky paths to avoid falling from a peak. So, I would say, think twice before asking for a ride. It may cause you more pain then just walking, and you will force an innocent animal to make a huge effort under your weight.

Petra – The way to The Monastery

So, step by step, stair by stair, breath by breath, and amazed by the beautiful Canyons we were crossing, we managed to win the race with our own limits, and reach the peak. And there it was “The Monastery”, 47m wide and 48,3 m high. This amazing building dates from 2nd century AD and it took the name “The Monastery” after it was used as a Christian chapel. Different yet similar with “The Treasury”, what stroked me again were the details and the perfect cuts into the mountain. If the “Tombs” and the “Great Temple” are “less perfect” and the time got them and left some important tracks, “The Monastery” and “The Treasury”, are still there and more perfect than the others, even if they are supposed to be older (except “The Church”).

Petra – The Monastery

Now, being on the top of the mountain and witnessing such a beautiful architecture, I always have to check it from different perspectives. And here, I had a new idea! Why not taste this monumental building?! 😊 Inspired by the donkeys that were licking the rocks, I tried the same with “The Monastery”. Aaaand… Surprise! The walls are salty! And this information can produce now so many stories. My favorite one is that everything was under the water ages ago, and all the rocks and Canyons around are salty! 😊 I haven’t taste them all, still, I like to believe they are! 😊

Petra – The Salty Monastery

Once the crazy things were done and the pics were made, I just set down looking for a while at this amazing shape. It is so beautiful to allow yourself to dive into the unknown story of this place and just feel it inside out. There is this new layer covering the history the local people are telling. This layer much more profound that doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone. I think is just there for whom is really interested to see it and to feel it. It’s maybe the unspoken voice of the Mighty Spirit of Creation.

To be continued…

PETRA, the City of the Magic Fire (1st part)

Petra – The Treasury

My first day in Petra was full of surprises! I reached the Visitor Center at 11:30 am,  due to the fact that I was not able to sleep and I was very sick. A mysterious cold came out of nowhere to keep me company in the so called “City of mysteries”. 

The accomodation was 4 km away from Petra’s Visitor Center, somewhere outside Wadi Musa. In the begining of November at 11:30 am we had already 19 Celsius degrees, but if you are under the “spell of a fever”, it feels damn hot!

The first thing you have to do, is to check-in with your Jordan Pass and receive Petra’s ticket, or buy one if you don’t have a Jordan Pass. Once you’ve got your ticket, you proceed to the entrance where a guy is cheking it together with your passport and Jordan Pass. This happened for us only the second day. The first day the guy only asked for the ticket and welcomed us with a big smile.

Once you get to the checking point, you will find a lot of local people offering you a horse, telling you that is for free if your have a Jordan Pass, which is true, but on the way they will start to ask or negociate with you for a tip which is not cheap at all. So, if you can walk, just walk and ignore the offers on the way that will come to you several times. 

For someone like me, that has never seen something like this before, walking The Siq – the amazing Canyon leading to the Treasury, was just breath taking. Even under the fever my Soul and my Mind enjoyed every step, every rock, every light coming from above and creating an entire picture with so many different colors that my camera will never be able to catch. 

Petra – The Siq

Walking among all these amazing shapes that nature built ages ago, it’s hard not to think about the power of creation and mostly how small you are in the middle of these mighty Canyons that once where under the water. There is this feeling growing inside that you have the chance to witness something majestous, something completly outside of your own reality. And this feeling is growing step by step towards the Treasury. 

And there it is! This huge building they say it was built by the Nabateans, the Arabic nomads that came into this land in the 4th century BC. If you sit and just look at this building, it is hard not to think about the tools this nomadic people where bringing with them to cut the stone in such perfect angles and came up with these perfect shape. Honestly, the most credible thought would be that this shape was done by an elevated civilization, equipped with such tools able to cut in the mountain perfect shapes and small details that probably we are not able to reproduce today with such accuracy.   

Petra – The Treasury

So, sitting there and just watching these details, I felt like being beaming up to another planet. Actually, that was my main feeling in Petra, that I am walking on another planet, stepping into the footprints of an ancient and enlightened civilization leaving behind a small prove of what it used to be their natural environment. 

Petra – The Treasury – view from the mountain

That’s why I spent a lot of time and energy before and at the Treasury itself. And, I must confess that Petra was one of my dreams for more than 10 years now. Hence, being there and living my dream, was a gift from the Gods or just the gift of my pure intention, will and manifestation in this life. 

I was able to visit all the sites before the Great Temple. Then my fever hit and I felt like dying there. Everything was burning, the Sun outside and the fever inside my body. The burning was so intense and I felt like falling and passing away. This made me stop for a while and rest and then getting back to the Visitor Center. That’s how I had to leave my dream back there for a night. 

To be continued…

Visiting Chiang Mai in one day

When you have only one day to visit an entire city, where would you choose to go? And this is not a rethoric question, it’s reality. I was born a traveler and I will die like a traveler, that’s why, whenever I am in a new place, I am always open to add to my journey things I am attracted too. Chiang Mai had initialy two days on my itinerary, but something inside was telling me to go to the Blue Temple in Chiang Rai. I’ve seen some pictures of the surreal blue color this temple has and I suddenly decided to go there. And once you go in Chiang Rai to see the Blue Temple, you have to see The White Temple As well. But the story of this magic place can be found in the previous article “White Temple and Blue Temple, Two Wonders of the Modern World”.

So, that’s how I ended up in Chiang Rai traveling for 7 hours by bus and jumping from a temple to another to enrich my soul experience. And to be honest, that was the best choice of my trip to Chiang Mai.

Chiang Rai, Bus station Terminal 1, Thailand, 2019

Coming back to my question above. Usually, what I do when I have only one day to visit a new city, is to go in the city center, have a quick look, spot the most important places other people have apreciated and walking there using a map. On my way there, I always choose to take local rutes to see how the local people are living and what are their preocupations during the day. And before reaching the famous place apreciated by the tourists, I always enter two or three “normal” temples or curches, where the locals are going to pray, and have lunch where local people are eating. This is the fastest way for me to undestand the local culture, and this time I followed my routine and this is how the day looked like.

Chiang Mai City Pillar, Thailand, 2019

Once out from the hotel, I jumped into a local bus to reach the city center where I had breakfast in the Sailomjoy local restaurant. The people were smily and kind, and while I was eating, behind me was this altar where they lighted incenses and put some offrands. So, I felt somehow blessed as my day started a bit rough that morning.

Chiang Mai local bus, Thailand, 2019
Sailomjoy Restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Sailomjoy Restaurant, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

With a smile on my face, I started my journey towards the temples. Chiang Mai is full of temples, so it is impossible to have a hard time finding things to see there. The first one, was poping up after less than 200 meters, Phan-Ohn Temple, a Buddhist temple full of messages written on small pieces of wood, hanged on the trees.

Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

The next one found on the way to the highest temple of the city was Wat Phan Tao, made of wood.

Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phan Tao, Pagoda schelethon, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

After having a look inside, and seeing how a pagoda is built, I went directly to Wat Chedi Luang, built between 14 and 15 century, being at that time the highest temple in the region: 82 m hight and 54 m diameter on its fundation.

Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Chedi Luang, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

My way led me to the next objective of the day Wat Phra Singh temple. The main structure started to be built in 1345, and the temple itself buries the ashes of the Mangrai dinasty.

Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2919
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Phra Singh, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

The last one was Wat Suan Dok meaning “flower garden temple”. The building of this temple started in 1370 and today is accomodating also the Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University.

Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

This temple had a nice gift for me. While I was walking around taking pictures and analizing the architecture, I steped on a jad bracelet with an elephant in the middle. I took it from there and I was surprised to see the jad little stones and the elephant. The entire day I was “chasing” emerald Buddha statues and elephants as I am fascinated by this green color. And at the end of the day I found this bracelet. I cannot wear as my skin doesn’t tolerate any metal, but for 3 days I had it on my arm, till my skin started to scream.

Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

I ended the day having dinner in a local restaurant with a great Phad Thai, a pancake directly on the street while I was waiting to jump into the bus heading to the airport.

Local restaurant in Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Delicios pancake on the streets of Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

Morale of the day: there is no “short time” or “too late” if you really want to enrich your life experience. You just have to take the first step and the others will follow naturally.

Wat Phan-Ohn, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

To be continued…

White Temple and Blue Temple, Two Wonders of the Modern World

Coming to Thailand and not visiting some cities from the northern part of the country to better understand the culture, it’s like missing an internal organ from the body. That’s why, I booked the flights for Bangkok and Chiang Mai, and the bus to reach Chiang Rai.

Chiang Rai it’s famous now for Wat Rong Khun, known as “The White Temple”, a big modern white structure built by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a faimous Thai visual artist. The actual version of the temple was built on the old fundation of Wat Rong Khun and it’s not finished yet, the due date being settled for 2027. The artist choice for white color, was to reflect the purity of the Buddha, and for glass, to reflect the Buddha’s wisdom and teachings.

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple (back side), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

The structure itself it’s a modern representation of the current temptations of the world represented by sculptures and paintings of Superheroes like Batman, Hell Boy, Iron Man, etc., and the salvation that mankind can find taking the Buddha’s path towards the Buddhism teachings. But beyond the modern art promoted by Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple it’s a place for Buddhism teachings and meditation, open to anyone willing to follow this path.

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple (temptations), Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – White Temple (museum building), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple (museum building), Chiang Mai, Thailand, 2019

The next temple I had to see, was Wat Rong Suea Ten, known as The Blue Temple. This one is less famous because the main structure was completed in 2016. However, the energy one can feel inside, is really special. Similar to the White Temple, The Blue Temple was built on the ruin of an abandoned temple, and it’s not finished yet , except for the main building and the Pagoda behind it.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple (front side), Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple (back side), Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

The temple is dominated by the huge white Buddha statue representing his purity, and highlighted by the blue color used for both the interior and the exterior of the temple. Inside, the contrast between white and blue gives you a surrealistic image. It’s like the peace of the entire universe takes shape in the Buddha’s statues and becomes part of you. It’s like you finally found a materialization of your inner being and have an unique chance to look in its eyes.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

The feelings I had in this temple are unique and difficult to be explained. One must see it and experience it in her / his own body and consciousnesses to be able to understand what I am trying to say. So, if I would have the chance to go back to Chiang Rai, I would definitely spend some days in this temple.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

Both temples are amazing and I recommend to anyone going to Thailand to jump in a car from Chiang Mai, travel for 7 hours to Chiang Rai and back, and see both structures. The difference between them is that The White Temple looks more touristic and the visitors are so many, while The Blue Temple is more like a home for your Soul.

Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019

Morale of the day: sometimes worth to do an effort like traveling for 7 hours with the bus, then jump in a local bus just to experience something you don’t see in your daily life, and you might not have a second chance to go there in this life.

Chiang Rai public transportation to White Temple, Thailand, 2019

To be continued…

Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019
Wat Rong Suea Ten – The Blue Temple, Chiang Rai, Thailand, 2019