The Lonely Planet Guide suggests that driving in Jordan is safe and easy. After many taxi rides and three out of town excursions with a driver, we decided to try a rental car.
Our first drive along the Desert Highway with Bruce muttering “keep to the right, keep to the right”, took us past the most desolate, dry, rocky country imaginable. Our recent drive across the Nullarbor was lush in comparison.
After some bad direction choices we found Showbak (Shobak, Shoubak, Shubak, Shoebak, Shawbak) Castle. It seemed we were the only visitors for the day and we were treated royally when we ordered a Turkish coffee and cake.
The castle, topping an already amazing rocky mountain, was another maze of tunnels and rooms, although crumbling. It had a short-lived life of just 75 years as a Crusader castle, before falling to Saladin, who noted his success with numerous Arabic engravings around its walls.
We ended our first day of independent travel in Petra. Tomorrow we will explore one of the most exciting antiquities ever.