An Austrian in Jordan

After a long time, I am happy to present another guest post on my blog. This time it is Regina from Austria, a humanitarian expert, living and working in Amman. She talks about her life in Jordan, and about some great activities, the country has to offer. A big thank you from my side for her contribution and I hope you like exploring Jordan with her. Read other contributions if you want to know what life is like in Jordan from the perspective of a Canadian, Italian, German, Brit, Japanese, French, Spaniard, Irish, or American who lives in Jordan.

As a specialist in humanitarian assistance, I have been traveling around the globe for more than two decades. I started my career in Ex-Yugoslavia after the war, moved to Tajikistan, India, Myanmar, North Korea, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Mali and the Central African Republic – just to mention a few– and have been working in Jordan since January 2019. The curiosity to discover different cultures, to learn from the encounter with people, and to be a little adventurous always drove me to dedicate my life to working and living abroad.

In this respect, Jordan has a lot to offer, such as a fascinating landscape, an impressive heritage, a mix of traditional and modern life, as well as cultural diversity. Having worked in Iraq before, I enjoy a kind of freedom in Jordan in the sense that I can freely move around without security and restrictions, drive a car by myself, explore natural and cultural treasures and enjoy a varied leisure program in Amman. The difference in my current assignment is also reflected in my blog Weltbürgerin, which I started writing for my family and friends when I worked in Iraq. While the content in Iraq was mainly influenced by socio-critical issues, in Jordan I write more about the beauty of the country, which reflects my leisure time over the weekend. Yes, I am enjoying my post here.

When I arrived in Amman, I first spent my weekends visiting tourist destinations, like Madaba, Mount Nebo, Jerash, Ajloun, and Petra, which the JETT bus provides good offers for. However, it soon became clear that Jordan has also a lot to offer off the beaten track. In order to do so, I bought a car and thus significantly improved my quality of life.

Leisure Program during the Week

Amman Street Art

Amman offers a wide range of leisure activities and cultural events. I particularly like and use a wide range of sports activities. Since there is a great climbing hall in Amman, I started climbing again after 15 years. Furthermore, I have reactivated my tennis racket and regularly play tennis in the Sport-City. In the winter months, I attend classes in ballet, contemporary dance, and salsa. Occasionally, I also take yoga classes or go to a gym. And when the cold in Amman becomes unbearable due to a modest heating system, I seek refuge in a hamam for a few hours.

As far as the cultural part is concerned, I am a fan of the street art festival and music festival organized by Baladk, and the EU film festival that takes place annually.

The Weekend

Regina at the smallest Hotel in the world

On the weekends, I like to go hiking the different wadis and spend my time exploring the country. In spring I prefer traveling to the north of Jordan when the hills are green and the flowers are blooming. As soon as the rain is over, I like the different wadis that run through the mountains on the eastern side of the Dead Sea. My favorite one is the Wadi Numeira, where you can walk in the water.

Further south, the Dana Trail, which leads through the Dana Natural Reserve, is also fantastic. We usually organize our hikes by ourselves. Following the map of the Jordan Trail, which runs in a north-south direction through the country, we sometimes hike individual sections.

However, my personal favorite in Jordan is the Wadi Rum – a place I really love. The landscape, a drama of rock, sand, and light, inspires me. I found friends in the team at the Rumshines Camp, where I often visit. Through them, I get to know remote places as well as the life of the Bedouins. As a sociologist and after my experience with the Tuaregs in Timbuktu, where I implemented a project a few years ago, I have always been fascinated by the life of the nomads.

Regina climbing in Wadi Rum

What I Don’t Like

With all the nice sides, there are, of course, some things that I don’t like.

  • Above all, this includes the widespread waste and the low level of environmental awareness among a large part of the population.
  • Amman suffocates in traffic, traffic jams are part of everyday life. The city is by no means pedestrian-friendly and riding a bicycle a life-threatening alternative.
  • Jordanians are relentless smokers. Smoking is common in public buildings, offices, and inside restaurants, which I try to avoid.

I would really like to thank Regina for this nice insight and view on Jordan. Please visit her blog Weltbürgerin and take a look at her Instagram account where she posts really great pictures, mainly of nature and people. If you liked this post, you might enjoy other articles in this series of guest post.

Amman, Jordanien

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