Saturday, 24 June 2017

Jordan versus the United Kingdom

The Dead Sea vs Rutland Water, the Desert Highway vs the M25 - it's a classic battle.

So, some random criteria to compare these two delightful countries, starting with the bottom line:

(If you think this is a lazy, rehashed  way of covering two months' travel, cf Egypt vs Sri Lanka, you'd be right)

Tourist costs

The Jordanian Dinar is worth more than the British pound - a recurring surprise to Dave - and Jordan cost us more than most other countries we visited. In Petra we paid £7 for a beer. But then car hire was £18 a day, and a day snorkelling in the Red Sea was a fiver.

Blighty meanwhile seems to have tripled costs since we left. The bus from Inverness to Skye for two suddenly cost more than a week's car hire. Coffee was £3.50, an average pint £4.50. Daren't look at hotel costs. What just happened, or are we stuck in a Dixon of Dock Green netherworld?

Winner: Jordan


Wadi Musa makes everyone look good
To be clear, we're talking sedimentary, metamorphic etc, not Monsters Of, and both countries have great examples.

The UK wins for range, from the jagged Cuillins to Dorset's Jurassic cliffs, with much else inbetween.

Jordan is less varied but it has the top bit of the Great Rift Valley and Martian mountains exploding from the desert. Cool.

Winner: a tie

Old stuff

Getting bored at Jerash
Jordan has the bit of the river where Jesus was baptised. It has Petra's huge temples cut from cliffs. And an ancient Islamic hotel sitting weirdly on its own in the desert. And Roman cities and Crusader castles and other things that tested Jo's patience to the limit. But not a lot between those eras and now.

While the UK obviously doesn't have anything Biblical or Greek, it has Stonehenge and a million tumuli, castles, churches and stately homes up to the modern day. Something for every century, though don't expect to see Jo hanging around.

Winner: another tie


Average Jordanian food seems to be Middle-Eastern Lite. Nothing stood out, even the allegedly finest falafel in Amman.

But it was a welcome change from Indian, especially as Dave would go green just hearing the word, "Paratha", which Jo for some reason would often sprinkle into conversation.

Average British food. Enough said.

Winner: Jordan

Berneray Beach  ©Coralbox 


Britain has 11,000 miles of coastline while Jordan has sixteen.

Jordan's coast has a view onto Egypt, Israel and Saudi Arabia, which is original. It's a nice temperature there in winter but stupidly hot (Dave yes, Jo no) in summer. The stretches of sand are just that.

The beaches in the Hebrides have white sand, blue sea, green islands and no people. Put your toe in the water and it also goes blue (see below) but nothing beats the view. And the UK has 1000 other beaches to suit every mood.

Winner: UK


Dave. Dead Sea. Slightly sad
We can confirm that the Red Sea is warmer than the North Atlantic. Jordan also has the best snorkelling in the Red Sea 20 yards offshore. Certainly better than our experience in Egypt's Hurghada in December, which involved a long uncomfortable boat trip.

You can drink the tap water in both countries.

And then there's the Dead Sea, so buoyant you can't swim because your legs and arms are jacked in the air like a flailing beetle. Love it.

Winner: Jordan


Being sensible

We spent two weeks in Jordan, the right amount of time. In April, the best month. And we hired a car, the best way to get around.

After India, it was like a huge champagne bath and we just loved everything. But with hindsight we can still say that Jordan is safe and fascinating and one of the top five countries of our trip.

Our Jordan photos and videos

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