Monday 23 May 2022 – The only item on our agenda today was simply to get to our next accommodation, the Dana Guest House, described as “simple” accommodation in the literature we got from Audley, our travel organisers. Since it is billed as being in the Dana Nature Reserve (or even the Dana Biosphere Reserve), and egged on by other information I had looked up online, I was expecting something that served no alcohol (correct) and was short on anything more than basic facilities (not so correct, as it turns out; TripAdvisor, for example, mentions that there is an internet there.) I wasn’t expecting there to be enough information to fill a day’s-worth of blog entry, and I was wrong there, too.
Saeed was due to pick us up at 10am for the three-hour drive to Dana, which meant we had a relatively relaxed start. Since we had not thus far wandered extensively around the Mövenpick, we elected to take a stroll around the resort before heading to the restaurant where they serve breakfast.
Yes, we were Only Making Plans For Najel ** . Thank you. Thank you for reading my joke.
The resort is impressive, but very resortish
and the breakfast is only moderately to our taste – not a good selection of fresh fruit, for example. At least they had Earl Grey tea so we could conserve our own stocks. Amazingly, there was no Marmite on the breakfast buffet.
We were able to get away promptly and were soon buzzing along the Desert Highway. It’s a motorway, but that doesn’t mean that there are no speed bumps. It also doesn’t dissuade the entrepreneurial spirit that marks out Jordanians, as there were several roadside sellers touting mainly watermelons out of the back of pickups.
Saeed bought a 10kg example. There practically wasn’t room for it in the boot.
We were just beside Wadi Rum and I caught sight of this lonely figure trudging along in the developing heat of the day
which made me thoughtful about a culture which, in torrid heat, makes women dress from head to toe in black and simultaneously approves of men dressing in white dishdashas.
The journey proceeded swiftly with only the usual sort of diversions one gets in this part of the world
and after turning off the Highway, Saeed shortly pulled up and suggested we take a look at the view.
In the middle, on the left, is Dana Village.
So we were soon there and checked into the Dana Guest House.
We were in luck in that we were accommodated in a room in a recently-built wing that featured (a) such modern amenities as air conditioning and
internet access; (b) a simply staggering view;
and (c) en suite facilities. Even the shower has The View.
Our expectations had been set correctly in that there was no food available until dinner at 1930. There was a kettle in the room and so I asked reception if there was a chance of milk and got some powdered stuff which, to be frank, took us a while to develop the courage to try (it turned out to be powdered milk and not too unpleasant). However, there was instead some rather nice-smelling herbal tea in the room, so we made a cup of that and, it being about 1330, settled ourselves down in front of That View for some world-class relaxing to build us up for our hike tomorrow.
The only thing that detracted from the peace and quiet was the wind, which was ferociously noisy.
We had resigned ourselves to being hungry until dinner time, so to distract ourselves, and because the wind seemed to have died down somewhat, we decided to take a walk around Dana Village. The Guest House employs a chap called Ali who is very helpful, but cannot, for some reason, speak. He furnished us with a little booklet with some details and off we went.
It’s a strange place. It was originally a ghost of a village that Arabs lived in until the 1800s, but corners of it are flickering back into life as eco-tourism becomes more and more popular. The information we’d been given was specific that there were no restaurants in the village, and it was wrong. As we started walking around, Jane spotted a couple of people sitting on a roof terrace, and it turned out that they had been served at a very much functioning (albeit basic) restaurant.
They offered us coffee, hummus and moutabel (also known as baba ghanoush, a sort of aubergine-based version of hummus) and so we went and joined the people on the roof
who were taking advantage of The View. We elected to sit in the shade. Pardon the photo of food, but it was such an unexpected pleasure, I feel compelled to share.
Afterwards, we strolled around, past some typical scenes
and discovered that there were other places at which we could also have got food. There are other hotels,
and several picturesque scenes which show at once its crumbling nature and the signs of restoration/development.
There’s even an EV charging point.
We speculated about the route for tomorrow’s hike, which takes us down the mountain and along to Feynan Ecolodge. We think you can see the trail going up from the bottom right here;
We’ll find out, possibly the hard way, tomorrow morning.
At 1930, as often happens around that time, the sun set
and we went for dinner in the restaurant, which gave a good sunset view.
The dinner was a buffet, of course, and included a good variety of local dishes – good nourishing stuff. Afterwards, we went back to our room and relaxed for the rest of the day.
Tomorrow is The Hike – 15km from here to Feynan Ecolodge, mainly downhill but sometimes steeply so. We’ll have a guide and we’ll see how our progress compares with the guidance time of six hours. But we should be there in time for me to update these pages with whatever adventures we encounter en route, so please come back tomorrow and find out, won’t you?
* Thought I’d better explain this. “Oh, Donna” was a 1973 song by 10CC
** “Making Plans for Nigel”, XTC, 1979