Half as Old as Time

Following Moses
Mon 6th March 2023

 

We had a good night's sleep.

Thankfully there wasn't a snorer in any of the tents near us. With walls nothing more than blankets you could have heard everything. All I could hear was the ringing of my own ears. Other than the noise of a barking dog in the middle of the night there was just the sound of silence.

The tents were also completely dark making it really easy to drift back to sleep.

I woke at 6am as usual. My body clock must have already adjusted in the few days we'd been here. Or perhaps it was my bladder forcing me to get up and pee!

I shuffled quietly across camp towards the toilets. I noticed that not all had survived the entire night outside beneath the stars.

Expecting total darkness I had brought my phone with me to use its torchlight but the moonlight was so bright I could easily see the way. I didn't give the moon a moment's thought but when I returned to towards the tents I noticed this beautiful full moon setting in the distance.

I tried to photograph it with my phone but the results were dismal.

This is when the old DSLR camera came into its own. By adjusting shutter speeds etc I managed to get a close likeness to what I actually saw with my own eyes.

It was spectacular. I couldn't get back to sleep after that.

An hour later we got up, dressed and ready for breakfast but first we went for a stroll outside camp. Our first sight of Wad Rum was breathtaking. We were in a stunning location.

In front of us, looking West, were the dark pillars of Jebel Al-Qatar mountain jutting out 1606m from the ground. Then beyond it the Rum valley stretched out into the distance.

The red sand beneath our feet was unreal, giving the area its renowned Martian landscape. What we found surprising was whilst it was f course an arid dessert it wasn't completely barren. A cluster of small flowers known as Desert Campion (silene villosa) grew a stone's throw from camp.

From here we could see a few more camps dotted around the valley, all identical stripey tents, all nestled into the sandstone rock for protection. Our Banouramo Camp was no different placed at the foot of a lump of rock in an area known as Um Sabatah.

There seems to be only two types of accomodation in Wadi Rum. The ones like ours the more traditional camel hair tent, dark brown with beige stripes or the futuristic glass domes where life has imitated art because they were inspired by the film The Martian. They looked incredible but out of our budget for this trip.

We returned to camp for breakfast in the large tent. The busy pattern on the fabric was even more ridiculous than what we remembered of last night.

Already laid out on the breakfast bar were filled bowls and plates covered with cling film. We were the first, so we waited for a while for others to arrive but I couldn't.

"That foul's going to get cold" I told myself justifying going in and starting on breakfast.

I carefully peeled back the cling film and spooned out a few tablespoons of the bean stew, before covering it back to keep any warmth. It was tasty but already lukewarm. I then had the trinity of dips, hummus, mutabal and labneh with a large flatbread. All delicious and satifying.

Julie was concerned about having an upset stomach today so she continued her adventures into the breads and cream cheeses of the world.  

Soon everyone arrived, mostly fresh faced apart from Darren and Andrea who struggled to sleep. 

After we had all eaten and freshened up we gathered together back in the large tent to wait for Musa who was going to lead us on a guided hike this morning.

It was an early start to avoid the heat as much as possible.

"I'm not sure that following Moses across the desert is a good idea" I said to Julie. "The last group who did that were lost for forty years!"

We were of course in safe hands and followed by a support vehicle should we need a rapid return to camp. When I say "followed" it didn't actually drive behind us at walking pace but went on ahead and waited for us in stages. 

We stopped for a group photo, from left to right we had Adam, Lauren, Andrea, Angela, Darren, Kevin, Julie, me, Tiffany, Ceri, Alexandra and Stuart quite the motley crew.

In the distance we could see the mountain range of an area known as Al-Warqa.

We walked along an area shaded from the fierce sun where any hint of a morning dew could have time to soak into the ground before evaporating. It was prime for plant life. There was plenty of dry shrubs that you would expect in a desert but there was also this lush dark green plant that looked more like a tropical house plant.

It was a surprising discovery. Not just because it's name of Sea Squill suggested it should be nearer the coastline (although the Red Sea wasn't that far away) but also I couldn't believe there would be enough moisture in the desert to sustain such a floroushing plant .

Musa was following tyre tracks. It made sense. Not only would you be less likely to get lost but the sand was also little more compacted and easier to walk on. If you strayed off the tracks into the soft sand it became heavy going.

It was interesting to see that ours weren't the only footprints left in the sand. Every now and then we would see evidence of the wildlife in these parts. The tiny feet of  reptiles like lizards, geckos and one I had not heard of before an Agama. There were also slither tracks of snakes. Apparently of the dozen that are found here only two are poisonous,  the Horned Viper and some other viper.

There was also large mamals roaming about such as a fox, an Ibex,  a Sand Cat or even a Grey Wolf although to see them during the day was a highly unlikely. 

There came a point where the left the red desert and entered the white desert. It wasn't as dramatic as the merging of the water in the Amazon rainforest, but from a distance you could clearly see two distinct coloured sands as we walked across the valley of Wadi Yutum Al-Umran.

After over 45mins walking from our camp we reached one of the canyons into the area known as Al-Qidr . It was only 9am but the heat was already hotting up nicely.

The canyon we had entered was spectacular, made even more perfect because we were alone in this stunning place. It was just so serene. None of the group were talking, not even Musa. We were simply in awe of the landscape.

A track meandered through the middle of it, with plenty of verdant Sea Squill growing in abundance on either side. The rock here was different, much more porous.

The mountain ahead of us was pockmarked with large holes that looked like tombs, bringin back memories of Egypt. However these were not tombs dug into the rock but natural erosion of the sandstone.

We stopped briefly for Musa to demonstrate the difference between various rocks. He picked up a large white stone, a lump of limestone and threw it against the harder sandstone. We watched as it disintegrated into a cloud of dust.

He was now on full tour guide mode and next he demonstrated how the Sea Squill is often used as a natural glue. He cut a leaf and showed us this sticky clear substance oozing out.

Just at the point where the tracks forked and we were about to change our direction, Musa pointed out a flock of camels grazing ahead of us. It was such an amazing sight. They weren't wild but somebody's livestock, nevertheless, to stumble across them and witness them roaming free was exciting to say the least.

We should have turned off to the right here but we were all drawn towards them. So we continued South to get a closer look at these incredible creatures.

Amongst them there was a young calf. 

The camel owner, the Sharif, soon arrived on the scene in his beat-up Toyota pick-up truck asking us kindly not to get too close to them as they may stray futher South. We were only a few kilometers from the Saudi border here.

Musa relayed the message and reassured him that this ugly bunch of camel botherers would leave his camels alone. 

Back on the right track Musa brought us to a red rock that stood out in contrast to all the beige around us. With a harder sandstone he began grinding the red rock into a powder. He then asked if anyone would like some Bedoiun make-up.

Tiffany stepped up and rubbed way too much of the rouge all over her face resulting in her looking like a spray tan had gone gone wrong, like an umpalumpa. Ceri then stepped up but did some finger painting on Alex's face, giving her cat whiskers. It was so funny when they realised there was no way of washing it off! 

A short walk across an open space and we came to a curious piece of rock, scultpured by the weather, eroded by the sand storms, and leaving something that could loosely be described as a mushroom shape, an Oyster Mushroom perhaps. 

It was over 5 metres tall. One day it will erode so much it will topple over. As we gathered together at the base for a group photo we hoped that day was not today!

From the mushoom rock we walked towards the shade where the young lad driving the car had set up a fire to boil a large kettle for some tea or coffee.

Whilst we waited for the water to boil Musa showed us another Bedouin secret using a plant he'd been picking up along the way. It was known as Anabasis Articulate or a Jointed Anabis. He ground the twiggy leaf between a stone and a rock then rubbed the shreds in the palm of his hands. When he added a little water it lathered up! It was fascinating to watch.

Ceri, Alex and especially Tiffany were keen on using the Bedouin "soap" to clean their blushes from their faces.

We sat on the floor on a mat laid out for us in the shade. It was nice to take the weight off our feet. We had been walking for almost two hours. Musa handed over a bag of nuts and dates which we all passed around. 

After about 10 minutes our break was over, the sun came over the brow of the hill and we moved on.

We followed Musa across a wide open space towards another rock formation, this time it was an arch. There are many throughout the Wadi Rum area, most have names but this one didn't.

It was at the end of a ridge which made it relatively easy to climb up for the photo opportunity of you standing on top of it. 

Julie decided not to put herself under pressure and stayed with Musa. She's been having some pains in her knee recently and didn't want to aggrevate it.

So the rest of us walked to the end of the ridge and then scrambled up the side. It wasn't difficult, and plenty wide enough at the top. It felt perfectly safe except for those fleeting moments when you feel the urge to throw yourself off!

It's a really strange sensation and apparently not uncommon. It's not that I want to jump but it's more the fear of knowing that you can, if you wanted to, then your mind acts out the scenario.

Anyway, I didn't jump, nor did I push anyone off, which apparently is another common "I could if I wanted" thoughts. We all formed an orderly queue at the top where Musa took our photos, in groups or individually as we wished.

I was the last in line. Waved my arms, said "Cheese" and moved on.

The views were wonderful and well worth the scramble up. To the South East I could see the mushroom-like rock in the distance and the tracks we had followed to reach here.

I wondered in the far distance if it may have been Jabal Umm ad Dami, Jordan's highest peak at 1854m or maybe it wasn't.

I then turned West and stood still gazing across a wide desert valley, peppered with small plants and criss-crossed with several tracks that lead South was Wadi Waraqa.

Whilst the rest of the group continued to walk further along the ridge I decided to return back down to ground and try to get some photos of the arch. 

The first thing that caught my attention however, was the formation of the rock on which we were climbing. I'm sure there's a good geological term for this but it looked almost like petrified rising dough! 

I then turned towards the arch.

I wanted the classic shot of looking through the natural frame of the arch but I just couldn't see through it whilst standing at ground level. So I had to scramble a little and even then stand on tip toes to get the photo. In the end I was pretty pleased with the result.

I rejoined Julie and the others soon came down off the ridge. Ahead of us now was the long trek back to camp.

The sand here, even the compressed, was soft underfoot and the temperature was rising with every passing minute. It was physically demanding. Julie wasn't enjoying it one bit and was ready to ask for the recovery vehicle to take her back to camp. It was a sensible idea.

Musa was bringing up the rear, making sure he didn't leave anyone behind. He wasn't enjoying it much either. He had soaked a towel and placed it over his head to cool himself down. That was a clever trick. Julie and I were wearing hats for protection from the sun but they weren't doing much to help with the cooling.

We loitered at the back. It gave Julie the chance to ask Musa for a ride back to camp.   

She was relieved when she saw the car parked up, waiting for us. She claimed she could have carried on but there was no need to put herself through the ordeal when there was a safer option.

I waved her off and continued of foot. I was determined to finish the trek. 

We left the canyons of Al-Warqa behind and walked from the white desert into the red. The group had fragmented by now, with Ceri, Alex and Stuart in a breakaway group marching on ahead, and the family of six sticking together, safety in numbers. I couldn't see Tiffany. I assumed she must have also used the support vehicle and not just wandered off in the wrong direction.

I was on my own, somewhere in between the two groups, walking in isolation, in the middle of this vast desert. It felt quite surreal.

Whilst the views were stunning everytime I lifted my head up to have a look I didn't stop once, not even to take a few photos, instead I literally took them in my stride. I was focusing on putting one foot in front of the other and getting back to camp as soon as possible.

The tracks were meandering slightly so I decided to take the most direct route, walking in a straight line towards where I thought camp was based.

I was now begining to get a little dehydated, the sweat was pouring, my fingers were swelling and I could feel my heart pounding. It was easy to imagine dying out here.

It was with great relief I reached the camp before collapsing.

Julie and Tiffany were already relaxing in the large tent, as were the tres amigos.

I walked in trying to look normal and unaffected by the march across the desert as possible. However when I gulped down a whole bottle of water in three seconds flat I gave away my desperation.

It wasn't long before everyone else arrived safely. 

We returned to our tent for a while to have a brief lie down. It wasn't long before lunch was served.

At 1pm we all reconveined in the large tent where the scram was waiting for us. I had exactly the same as I had last night, a vegetable stew. It may even have been the same dish I ate last night.

For the meat eaters they had meatballs in a yogurt and tahini sauce. It wasn't Julie's  favourite. Perhaps joking that they may have been camel testicles didn't help.

After another lie down we were ready for this afternoon's excursion.

Just as we were about to leave a pair of hikers turned up at the camp, asking if they could refill a large plastic water bottle.

They were doing the Jordan Trail, a 400 mile journey that begins in the far North city of Umm Qais near the Syrian border and finishes in Aqaba.

The Sharif was very hospitable, the welcoming of travellers is one of the Bedoiun's cultural cornerstones. He gave them over almost a dozen small bottles of water for the journey ahead.

They graciously accepted and walked off, probably to just around the corner to fill up the large bottle they wanted filling in the first place and dumping the rest of them. 

We all got into two vehicles and drove North with Jebel Al Qattar to the left and Jebel Khazali to the right. In between there were a few large lumps of rock, like the one behind our camp where more tented accomodation were tucked away.

We drove past a cluster of unfinished domes, new camp in the process of being set up. One day they'll all be like these because they are certainly all the rage. 

Our first destination this afternoon was the Al Ramal sand dune. There weren't many in Wadi Rum. It's not that kind of desert. We walked towards the sand dune, our jaws dropping as we got nearer. It was a huge drift of red sand blown up against the rock face of Al Ramal.

It was busy with people walking up. Everyone was keeping to the left, where the rock was casting a shadow, which was sensible.

Julie preferred to admire it from afar and joined Musa for a drink inside a tented Bedouin cafe. Not wanting to be seperated for too long I began my quick march up the sandy hill without delay.

It was a steep gradient and the sand was incredibly soft, making it quite a workout. I stopped only a few times to admire the view, chosing instead to reach the top as quickly as possible.

I took my shoes off and found being barefooted a lot easier for some reason.

As soon as it began to level out I stopped and sat down on a rock to take in the scenery.  The quite literally breathtaking view was worth the climb.

Across the wide open space known as Khor Al Ajram the sheer cliffs of Jebel Umm Ishrin rose dramatically from the red desert floor. It looked almost snow-capped with a lighter shade of rock at the top.

The scene looked very familiar. That's because it was used extensively in the film Lawrence of Arabia, chosen by the cinematographers as one of the best panoramas in Wadi Rum.

After only a few minutes I began my way back down. It was a lot easier than the climb up. I strode down at speed letting gravity do all the work. It was a lot of fun!

Apparently it's popular with kids who bring their snowboards to slalom down the dune. 

Back at the bottom of the sand dune I rejoined Julie and Musa in the cafe/souvenir tent where I had some tea and then went to have a look at their head scarves or keffiyah as they are known. They had many different colours but I was drawn to the more traditional red and white checked pattern that's popular here in Jordan.

They had a lesser quality one for half the price but I bought the best for only 10 dinars.

He then wrapped it around my head for me. I tried to see how he did it so I could repeat it. It was like learning how to wear a tie.

Whilst we waited for the others to come down off the sand dune I admired the skull of a camel. It was incredibly large and almost prehistoric. The distribution of the teeth was fascinating me. I even stood there wondering why evolution had made it so.

It wasn't long before all the others arrived safely back down from the sand dune and we moved on, driving the short distance to Khazali canyon tosee the Anfashieh inscriptions.

I had heard of this place before, a fissure or narrow crack in the rock of Jebel Khazali, where ancient carvings had been found and was excited to see it for myself.

Musa retold a tale as old as time, the story of Ali, a petty thief who was chased to the summit of this mountain. With no escape he decided to throw himself off but instead of plumeting to his death he floated down to the ground unharmed. Before I got a chance to quip "what did he steal ... a parachute?" Musa explained that his billowing robes created the resistance and slowed his fall.

So the name of the mountain Jebel Khazali is derived from the word khaz, to jump, and the name Ali.

Musa then brought to our attention a face in the rock, a trick of the light that produced features, if you stood on the right place.

At first I couldn't see it, like one of those Magic Eye things but once seen it was all I could see. It was as clear as day that there was a face in the rock.

We could see a nose, eyes, faint lips, even a headress, "Surely that was carved by hand" I blurted out loud in amazement. It was a marvel.

It's not inconceivable. It's known that the Nabateans, the civilisation that created Petra were masters at carving into rock. 

The entrance to Khazali canyon was found between two fig trees, almost as if they were planted there as a signpost.

It's thought that this narrow gorge was used as a place to shelter for over thousands of years by the evidence of ancient carvings found inside.

Julie took one look at the "canyon" or siq as its known and decided it wasn't for her. She and Musa waited by the entrance whilst the rest of us explored the crack in the rock.

To the right of both fig trees there were a few steps carved into the rock, which we all  clambered up. They brought us onto a ledge some two metres high. It was wide enough for people to pass but it sloped away to the left so we took each step very carefully.

Whilst we were shuffling along clinging to the side for dear life two young men were scampering up the rock face like a pair of mountain goats. I'm not too sure what they were doing nor why? 

As we entered the siq we could see some basic images scratched into the rock on the wall opposite. We could have done with expertise of Musa to point out the best examples of what's known as Petroglyphs, many of which date back the Thamud and Nabatean people of between 700-300 BCE.

I could see something vaguely resembeling an Ibex, a large goat with these huge curved horns but apparently there were carvings of elephants, ostriches, people, footprints, even a woman giving birth!

Sadly I didn't see any of them, which was a shame.

On the wall nearest to us were some inscriptions. It's known that pilgrims on their Haj, their journey to Mecca, would use the Khazali canyon to shelter from the extreme heat. It was almost like a cave inside, cool and a good source of water. 

We continued deeper into the gorge, crossing a large dirty puddle. It was surprise to see so much water in such a dry landscape but this siq was shaded from the intensity of the sun. Apparently in Winter when it rains the water flows off the mountain, cascading into the siq creating small waterfalls before flowing out into the desert.

A little further in we had to get past a deep hole that had been cut out of the rock. It looked man made and I assumed it was there to capture all the rain water but I had also read that it was the production company filming Lawrence of Arbia who created them.

Anyway,  Darren and Adam were ahead of the group and scrambled up the side of the wall to get beyond the plunge pool. I saw the hole and thought I could step over that!

When it came to it, I couldn't, at least not in one step, but the siq was narrow enough that I could place my hands on either side and literally swing myself over.

We scrambled over 100m deep into the siq where we eventually reached a dead end. The full stop at the end was the deepest of its holes. It didn't look like it was suitable for drinking. 

Whilst it was the end of the gorge, if you were agile enough, like a goat, you could have continued your adventure and climbed out of the siq and onto the mountain of Jebel Khazali. I looked up to see it glowing bright above our heads. It was so inviting that it made me wish I was a climber.

We returned the way we came, swinging over the deep hole, crossing the puddle over stepping stones and again missing the most significant petroglyphs.

Reunited with Julie she told me she had just seen a young girl fall whilst on the ledge. She was being filmed by a friend as she strutted her way across like she was on a catwalk. She then stumbled. Luckily she didn't fall off the ledge but she couldn't bring herself to stand up afterwards and crawled the rest of the way. 

From Khazali canyon we drove towards the next sight, Um Fruth, one of the most popular rock bridges in area.

 Whilst it's not the largest or tallest it is the closest to Rum village. It was the busiest we had seen Wadi Rum. All the 4x4 tours stop here, and as we drove across the sand we could see another four trucks converging on Um Fruth.

Our first glimpse was of it silouhletted by the sun as we looked South.

We drove past it, around the lump of rock that formed one land mass of the bridge, then parked up. We continued on foot.  

A  relatively narrow slab, spanning several metres across and  standing 15 metres tall was a spectacular sight. 

People were scrambling up the side to climb to the top. Footholds had been cut into the rock face to help people get a grip on the smooth rock.

We spent about half an hour here, giving anyone who wanted enought time to scale to the top of Um Fruth but having already ticked "standing on a rock bridge" off our list none of our group felt compelled to risk life and limb to repeat the experience.

At the base of the bridge was another Bedouin gift shop and cafe where we sat down and had a cup of tea. A black cat strolled over to say hello and receive some fuss. Then, as cats do with their "love 'em and leave 'em" attitude, it moved on.

Musa revealed he had ten cats at home! And that he had German Shepherd dogs in the past. 

Earlier, at the sand dunes, Julie saw Musa apply oil to his hands and noticed they sold the same ointment here. So we bought a small bottle and also a bar of soap which contained Amber, for 10 dinars.

After not much more than half an hour we returned to our vehicles and left Um Fruth, heading back towards our camp, completing a large circle around Jebel Khazali.

Along the way we had a magical moment where several camels ran alongside us. There must have been five or six of them being herded. Julie noticed that they were tethered with a string between front and back legs. Despite this restriction they were running at quite a pace. It made us wonder what speed they must reachwhen unimpared. In fact camel racing is a popular sport in the Middle East.

Back in camp we retired to our tent for a siesta. It was stiffling inside so we left our door open. We also (to create a flow of air), opened our window/hatch, which revealed this amazing view of Jebel Rum.

This mountain range together with Jebel Umm Ishrin we saw earlier created the Wadi Rum valley. In fact the word wadi is Bedouin for valley, so Wadi Rum literally means the Rum Valley. 

Gazing out at this incredible landscape we decided this was the perfect momement to celebrate and cracked open the second bottle of Moet & Chandon.

It was bad timing really as we only had half an hour before regrouping for a short hike to watch the sunset. 

 

At 6pm we all gathered outside, waiting for Musa. A young dog had come to say hello and took a big shine to Julie. He was adorable but he was making a right nuisance of himself, jumping up and play-bitting. He must have been teething  and wanted to chew everything in sight!

So I took over the petting so Julie could have a break from him.

When it was time to go I shooed him away only for him to turn his attention to Alex. He immediately jumped up and his sharp nails ripped a hole in her coat! I felt terrible, almost feeling responsible for causing it.

As we set off, the little rascal followed us!  Oddly enough he knew that play time was over and simply walked with us.

After a few minutes along the desert floor we began to scramble up the side of the Um Sabatha mountain. It wasn't too difficult, or at least until we reached a narrow ledge. 

It was only a few metres long but there was a section where it became only a foot wide. It would have been fine if it wasn't for the considerable drop.

It wasn't a sheer cliff but it might as well have been.  It fell away sharply enough not to trust your footing on it. I didn't think that Julie could do it. It was at least 4 or 5 metres down and even I felt there was a real risk of falling. If we fell I don't think we would have survived.

However, Julie was determined not to miss out on the sunset. So we shuffled across together. I went first to lead the way. We walked sideways, one step at a time. Julie gripped the wall for dear life. I placed my hand on her back to help her feel less likely to fall.

She was petrified, literally shaking with fear and showed incredible courage to put one step after the other. It took us less than a minute to cross but it must have been the longest minute of Julie's life.

Safe on the other side we took a moment to catch our breath.

We were the last to arrive, even the dog had made it before us but we hadn't missed anything. The sun was still in the sky.

We reached a ledge looking West and waited for the sun to drop. Ceri and Alex were brave enough to sit right on the edge with their legs dangling over the side. Tiffany and Lauren and Adam also sat down but set back a just little.

The rest of us kept a safe sensbile distance. The edge looked like it could crumble away at any moment!

It was quite blustery up here and the temperature was dropping so we walked around the ledge looking for some shelter from the wind. Facing North, away from the sun, we saw the three mountains of Jebel Qattar, Jebel Rum and Jebel Um Ishrin.

It was a beautiful sight.

Julie only had a thin linen blouse on and the temperature was dropping. She was begining to feel cold. We turned our attention back to the sunset and found a place to sit.

We held each other, hugging to keep warm, as we looked out across the expanse of the  desert valley and countless massifs beyond.

Slowly but surely the sun was dropping. We watched as a truck sped along a track South leaving a cloud of dust in its wake. Other than that we saw no other sign of mankind unless you count the jet trails of the aeroplanes in the sky. 

A few minutes later the sunset was in its last throws, where the colour instensified and it filled up the sky with its wonderous glow. We stood there just staring at the sun. My thoughts silenced as I immersed myself in the moment. Julie's thoughts however was already thinking about having to cross the ledge to get back.  The trauma was still fresh.  

At 6:38pm the last visible slither of the sun dropped behind the hills. 

"Do you want to leave first or last ?" I asked. She didn't reply but her actions was answer enough. We didn't hang about and were the first to leave. Julie didn't want an audience whilst she struggled to shuffle back across the narrow ledge.

Having done it once and knowing she could do it, didn't make it any easier. We repeated our formation, with me in front and Julie pressed like a limpet on the rock face.

Musa uttered words of encouragement like "Don't look down" 

Looking down wasn't the problem.

There we were, five metres high up on this narrow ledge and her bag, swung over her shoulder, was getting caught between her and the wall and really stressing her out.

Thankfully we didn't fall and lived to tell the tale!

A few minutes later we were back at camp. Julie took the low road, the way we walked earlier but I followed Musa up over some rocks behind the site. It was worth it for no other reason than the fabulous view over the tents.

We came down a small sand dune that had formed against the rocks. Musa went first. It was quite steep and broke into a bit of a quickstep. The dog, who was still following us, thought Musa wanted to play, so he jumped up, kocking him over. He went tumbling down falling head over heels to the bottom of the sand dune.

I managed not to laugh. 

He was fine. The sand made for a soft landing. Only then could be have a little giggle about what just happened.

Supper was served at 7pm. There was an aubergine moussaka which I was interested in but it had a strong smell of lamb to it. I had already spooned some onto my plate, so I had to eat a little. I couldn't waste food. It would have been disresptectful to our hosts.

However, I got a clean plate and filled that with loads of salad and plenty of flatbreads.

Julie and the rest of the group had Mansaf, a traditional lamb dish matinated in yogurt and served in a tahini sauce. She surprised herself by really enjoying it.

After such an epic day we were shattered and ready for bed, despite it only being 8pm!

 The weather was much cooler this evening and no one was thinking about sleeping out beneath the stars. It was definitely a night under those warm soft blankets for all.

We spent some time packing our bags for an early start tomorrow.

Then it was lights out at 9pm!

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