Monday, July 29, 2019

Day 23: Karak Castle

March 23: I woke up in the morning with a bad case of condensation blues. The tent walls were covered with water, some of which had leaked into the tent leaving a lot of my gear a bit damp. I hadn't realized that there was so much moisture in the air! At least it wasn't hot out, though.

My leg had regained almost all of its flexibility during the night and I could finally walk without a noticeable limp. Most of the time, I didn't feel any pain at all in it--just when I stretched particularly far.

We had another 7:00am breakfast. This time it included a cake--a first!--to celebrate the fact that we had finished 22 out of the 44 days of the hike. Halfway!

Halfway cake surprise!
Clouds provided a lot of shade during the day leaving the air temperature comfortably cool and, especially later in the day, seeming to threaten us with rain.

Along one section, we were walking along a paved road. Not an especially busy one, but with some traffic when I spotted a slow-moving tortoise trying to cross the road just as a car was rushing towards it. I jogged up to it and picked it up, quickly carrying it to the other side of the road. It ducked into its shell, of course not realizing that I was trying to help it, and wouldn't come out again for a photo even after I put the tortoise back down on the ground. After waiting a few minutes hoping he would come out of his shell, I gave up and continued down the trail.

At one of our rest breaks, I realized that I hadn't been getting photos of the people I'd been hiking with and now that Niels wasn't around doing the job, I figured I should start getting more and focused on taking people pictures during breaks. I wanted pictures of people doing their natural things--not posed--so I lingered quietly on the edges of the group and used my zoom lens to snap shots getting quite a few that I really liked almost immediately.
Kicki from Sweden was one of the first people pictures I snapped during the first rest break of the day.

We took a lunch break at some ruins along the trail. These ruins only dated from about a hundred years ago, and while resting and eating, a few local guys approached us telling us that their grandparents used to live in what are now the ruins and that they're trying to restore them. They didn't speak English so Lama translated their stories about the history of the area for the rest of us.

We pushed onward, finally arriving at Karak Castle, a large Crusader castle built in the 1100s. I didn't know it at the time--it's probably not the kind of thing locals like to brag about--but it was also the site of a terrorist attack in December of 2016 where 19 people were killed (including the 5 attackers) and 34 people injured--mostly Jordanian security forces and local civilians. Despite that, however, terrorist attacks in Jordan are pretty rare.

Karak Castle

Anyhow, we took a group tour of the castle--which is a beautiful fortress! Afterwards, a bus was waiting outside the entrance to take us to our hotel a short distance away. Karak Castle is located in the town of Karak with plenty of infrastructure including hotels, but the actual hotel was a couple of kilometers away from the trail so a bus was provided.

It was the end of the line for several of the hikers with our group. It was the end of the weekend so the people who came out for the weekend were leaving, and Karak also marked the end of the region so region hikers would also be leaving. Although nobody leaving us had been with us from the beginning, we had bonded with Kicki who had been with us for a week or so and Diana who had been out for the weekend but had hiked region 1 with us earlier in the hike so we already knew before she joined the weekend hike. It was sad to see them leaving us.

Some new people would be joining us for the next region, however!

Our hotel had a great view of Karak Castle, and the hotel itself was pretty nice. I headed down to the restaurant for dinner which had a variety of foods we didn't typically get for dinner so it was a nice change.

All-in-all, a pretty nice day!

Sunrise was gorgeous!
But the condensation in the morning was terrible!

Diana from Germany but currently living in Jordan
Ermanno from Italy, putting the rest in rest break. =)

I rescued this tortoise who tried to cross the road.

Ernie from Canada

Streets of Karak
I'm not an electrician, but this just looks wrong.
Karak Castle

View of Karak Castle from our hotel
The dining room where we had dinner was a lot fancier than we usually got at night! =)

1 comment:

Mary said...

I hope the cake tasted better than it looks!