It was time to finally end my Jordan episode. Not an easy thought, considering that I had some of the best days of my life in the past few days. It was almost like someone took a full length movie of the best times of your life, and compressed it into a 5-day trailer. But, like all good things, this had to come to an end too.
Read: Check out my images from Petra, the pink city!
I was spending way under budget this whole trip, so I made a ‘rich’ move on the last day. The only JETT bus that leaves from Petra to Amman, was at 4 pm everyday. I could have caught that bus the previous evening, since my flight was at 4 pm today. But I didn’t. I had saved enough already, that I choose instead to spend one more evening with Nawwaf and Gabriel. So, I arranged for a private taxi, all the way from Petra to Queen Alia airport in Amman. Just typing that last line alone, made me feel like a bloody millionaire!
And as agreed, Mahroof came to pick me up at 9 AM. Mahroof was a school-friend of Nawwaf, and although he spoke broken English, you could see the same Bedouin generosity in his walk and talk. Mahroof quoted a price of 80 JD for the trip, and again, I did not bother to negotiate. Mind you, in Jordan, the only thing that you ever need to negotiate, are long-distance taxi costs. But, I was in a fine mood, so let that pass. I agreed on the 80 JD, although the price for the taxi would not be more than 60 at best. It was just my way of repaying a little bit to the Bedouin community for the last couple of days.
Read: Ever heard of Couchsurfing with the bedouins? Click on the link to know more.
But, I did make a little bargain. It was only 9 AM, and it would take only 2 hours to reach Amman from Petra. Since my flight was only at 4 in the evening, I negotiated with Mahroof to take a slight detour, to visit a castle that I had wanted to see the last few days. And he agreed.
The Shoubak castle – also called the Montreal castle – is just 30 minutes away from Petra, in a town called, well, Shoubak. This is a crusader castle, built back in 1115 AD by one of the Christian crusaders, Baldwin I of Jerusalem. The castle itself was perched on a mountain, with a view of the entire city of Shoubak from it.
Surprisingly for Jordan, entrance was totally free and visitors only needed to register at the security. There was nothing much left inside, so I made a quick walk to the top of the castle, to see the view of the city below. Well, there was a good view, but there was no city. The castle is surrounded by other smaller hills, so you could see stretches of mountains. But no sign of any city.
The whole visit lasted only 30 minutes, which probably justifies the absence of an entrance fee. After this, Mahroof drove me all the way to the Queen Alia international airport in Amman. But I don’t remember much of the trip, because I was blissfully asleep immediately after I got back into the taxi.
Read: Click here to check out images from Dead sea and Bethany in Jordan.
Note: Come to think of it. I cannot think of any queen’s name from any of the other middle-east countries, other than Queen Alia and Queen Rane. Both of them are from Jordan, so I guess that speaks volumes about how woman are treated in Jordan.
Have you heard of any other airport which is named after a woman in the middle east?