Virtuoso Life - May/June 2017 - 124
The Virtuoso Life
left: Petra, Tiffany
Figueiredo toasts the
sunset at Wadi Rum,
and salt layers on the
Dead Sea's shore.
Treasures from a storied Middle
Fort Worth-based travel advisor Tiffany
Figueiredo recently explored Jordan with
Abercrombie & Kent USA, a Virtuoso tour
operator that works with travel advisors to
craft custom itineraries in the area.
MEMORABLE EXPERIENCE: "There is no place on earth
like the otherworldly red desert of Wadi Rum.
Bedouins in four-wheel-drive vehicles expertly
navigated us through the sands to secret
crevasses filled with ancient graffiti, to a clifftop for sunset toasts, then to a tented luxury
camp, where we enjoyed an elegant meal and
good wine. Afterward, we lingered under the
deep indigo sky studded with stars so bright
they didn't seem real, wishing we were one of
the lucky guests staying overnight."
SOUVENIRS: "Some of the handicraft shops
around Jordan are part of a government
program to create sustainable incomes for its
citizens," Figueiredo says. Look for places that
support the Noor Al-Hussein Foundation and
give back with purchases of beautiful motherof-pearl-inlaid boxes and furnishings, handwoven rugs, meticulously detailed mosaics,
and jewelry. She recommends silver and gold
jewelry, sold by weight, as a good deal.
turned back toward the trail, the famous AlKhazneh (treasury) revealed itself," Figueiredo says. "My first glimpse of this ancient,
rose-colored feat of nature and mankind
shimmering in the sunlight is something I'll
never forget. Take at least a day to explore
DON'T MISS: Petra is one of the world's greatest treasures, a circa 300 BC capital best
reached by walking through the Siq, a nearly
mile-long gorge (horses and carriages are
also available). "Just before we reached the
end of the Siq, our clever guide pulled us off
the path to 'let some horses pass.' When we
TIP: "If you plan to float in the mineral-rich
Dead Sea and enjoy the salt scrubs and mud
baths, I suggest men and women not shave
for a few days before. It is one of the saltiest
bodies of water on the planet and even the
smallest nicks, cuts, and scrapes will burn
like crazy in seconds."
ASK THE ADVISORS
What cruise trend are you seeing?
"Guests are trending younger on longer
itineraries, such as world cruises. Internet
access is much less expensive, so it is easier
to work from the ship."
- Mark and Cyndi Worgan,
"I see more bookings from multigenerational
groups. They want more spacious suites and
connecting cabins to entertain the whole
family. With large families, these turn into
group bookings, which offer travelers added
value and amenities."
- Brigitte Feinberg, Villanova, Pennsylvania
V I RT U O S O L I F E
"For seasoned passengers looking to visit
new and different ports, river and expedition
cruises are now a popular option. They
still expect exceptional service and wellappointed accommodations, and cruise lines
are delivering, like Crystal's Mozart riverboat."
- Nancy Borzino, Waterbury, Connecticut
(DEAD SEA) BESTTRAVELPHOTOGRAPHY/GETTY IMAGES, (OTHERS) TIFFANY FIGUEIREDO
WHY GO: "Jordan is rich in Arabian adventure,
with dreamlike desert landscapes, the Dead
and Red seas, and visible, touchable artifacts of ancient and biblical history at every
turn," Figueiredo says. "It's a peaceful, loving
country, lately - but mistakenly - judged as
unsafe because of unstable political situations
in neighboring countries."