With overcast skies and a snapping wind, we bundled into the car and headed north. Laura and Ray had promised a day of surprises so I was not getting any clues as to where we were going, so the anticipation built up all morning long.
Ray drove us confidently through small towns and occasionally the sun would peak out. The scenery north of Amman in Jordan was breathtaking. It reminded me of an Italian/Irish countryside. Rolling hills of green and orchards appeared. We traveled more north-west till we reached al-Himma.
The first stop brought caves filled with water and the rain paused long enough for the sun to come out. I was thrilled since I had prayed for some afternoon light to take some photos, how could I miss out on remembering all this.
Another enormous property had a gigantic pool filled with warm water from the earth. The water steamed up into the cloudy afternoon. Stone doors looking weathered, slightly hard to open. I wondered how many people had touched that door and what their stories were.
But the best surprise was saved for last. We were to be guests at the summer house of Mr. Samara, who was waiting for us along with this view:
I could not believe how beautiful the house was. The steaming water coming from this pool emanates from a grotto, which was built to take full advantage of the hot water flowing from deep below the surface. If Hugh Hefner had a playboy mansion in Jordan, this would be it.
We started cooking up a feast- I was being shown how to make the delicious Sajeeha (recipe coming!) Sajeeha is lamb cooked slowly over a big wok (which is called a saj) and then scooped up with pieces of thin bread. I think I was drooling while I waited for this meal to be ready.
We nearly finished the whole saj of lamb, licking our fingers clean. After a while I was convinced to take a dip in the warm grotto, even though it was freezing outside. Laura and Ray had made my next to last night in Jordan magical.
We had to clear 3 military checkpoints to get here but it was well worth it. With our bellies full of good food and even better company, we departed and most of us, including me, fell asleep in the car on the way back to Amman.
A special thank you to Mr. Samara for being so generous and allowing me to visit and photograph his lovely home, which has been in his family for a long time.
Disclosure: I was a guest of Laura and Ray with Discover Jordan. However, this trip was a total surprise and they did not ask me to write a positive review of my evening or rave about how yummy the food was.