Claire and I mounted our trusty steed, a Kia Picanto and drove off out of town, without going the wrong way down a one way street like the locals do. We gave it some more fuel as the fear of being stuck somewhere without any was a reality that could easily happen. We headed north on the Kings Highway, destined for Karak Castle, a crusader castle built in 1142. The drive was quite scenic, with views often into the rift valley that ultimately led to the Dead Sea. It took about 3 hours on a quite interesting road including a descent into a wadi (oasis/valley) and out again.
On the outskirts of Karak, a tip for the young driver, don’t follow the signs to the Karak Light and Sound Spectacular. You do get a good view of the castle though! We then negotiated our way up the hill and through the town to find Karak. We paused for a delicious meal of hummus, felafel and chicken. The castle is quite big and in a very startegic position as evidenced by the good views from the top.
A guide latched onto us and took us through the inside of the castle, which was probably good, but it didn’t seem we had a choice either. He showed up all sorts of places like the kitchen and the stores, as well as the jail. A lot of the inside is still in reasonable condition.
We left Karak and headed down a beautiful drive to the Dead Sea. We passed a sign indicating sea level and I was suprised at how high we were and how low the Dead Sea is. I can immediately see where the tale of Noahs Ark came from if this valley flooded. We continued on down to the Dead Sea, where the blue colour was stunning and the water quite clear.
We continued on the Dead Sea Highway until we got to Oh Beach, a resort where one could pay a small fortune to dip in the waters of the dead sea and use the pools as well. We only had time for a dip in the Dead Sea. Its hard to describe the sensation, except that you really can’t sink. I was able to stand upright and the water would only come up to under my arm pits. You would have to try hard to sink and even then the stinging from the very salty water be much more annoying. So you just float in the dead sea and read a newspaper or just enjoy the moment. The salty water left a bit of an annoying residue, but luckily Oh Beach had showers to help clean up and we drove back to Madaba
Of course the real issue on approach to Madaba was where could we fill the car up with petrol. We did a short tour of downtoan Madaba and then Claire spotted a sign that had to be petrol and we filled up and all was good. For those who like to know these things, petrol I think based on my quick conversion, around $1.10-$1.20 a litre.
Tomorrow we are off to Sofia in Bulgaria, where I will find a bar and drink beer.