My Inner Peace

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: