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ARRIVAL TO AN ANCIET CITY!

JORDAN

sunny
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These iconic countries have long been at the top of my bucket list, full of mystery and history.
But the excitement of exploring these magical lands is tinged with a little sadness. I always thought I would be doing this journey with my Mum, she dreamed of visiting the Pyramids, the Cairo Museum and Petra, but passed away before she could fulfill that dream, I know she is beside me with every step I take. Once again as a solo traveler I have booked this trip with Intrepid, they have not let me down on previous trips through Africa and I feel safer knowing that they have organized everything for me, plus I know I meet amazing people and have great local experiences!

OCTOBER 10TH 2019

Why is my stomach in knots, so nervous and I don't know why, it's not like I have never traveled before!

I know everything is organized.

Check is a breeze the staff travel loads are excellent! I have a row to myself thanks to Emirates!

Ha I am not as organized as I think, left my phone on the coffee table, a quick but expensive taxi ride home and back to retrieve it is the last thing I need.

Luckily I live 10 minutes from the airport and make it back with plenty of time to spare!

Off to pick up my pre ordered currencies, and find that these currencies are not easily obtained her in Australia, they couldn't get the Jordan Dinar and only half the Egyptian Pounds I ordered, no big but I was hoping to avoid the extravagant exchange fees at the airport! (As airline staff we get a discount at home!) But I spose it can't be helped!

Security is a breeze and my stress levels abate as I sip my coffee at the boarding gate and book myself a little treat on the way home.

A stop in South Africa and 4 says in Kruger Park and why not, gotta have my Safari fix for the year!

Boarding time....RELAX...ENJOY....PREPARE TO BE AMAZED!

OCTOBER 11TH 2019

The flight was great, tried to sleep but couldn't... Arriving into Dubai for a quick 2 hour stop over, couldn't see much it is so cloudy, I was hoping to catch a glimpse of the landscape as we landed as I have never been here before oh well.  The airport is great though easy to find your way around, WOW $5 US for a small coffee it had better be good!

STILL OCTOBER 11TH 2019

The flight to Amman is only a short 2 hours, the Emirates Crew are really friendly, Thanks Rosie for the lovely service.

Finally after flying for 14 hours we land at Amman Airport, it is so small and getting out is so quick.  I have a driver waiting for me in arrivals and he insists on taking my bag, as soon as we get out of the main doors the heat hits you full force there is no wind just heat!

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Finally Arrived!

The drive into the city was interesting Jordan is so dry and rocky I don't know why I was expecting it to be flat but it's a rolling landscape of rocky hills and valleys.  The roads are very modern there is development in varying stages a long the way.  We pass a sign for the Syrian and Iraq borders, wow I really am in the Middle East It seems they like to build using a specific type of stone as all the buildings are the same color which blends in with the countryside, there are slashes of color with advertising, signage and the occasional garden.

My driver doesn't speak much English and we communicate using Google Translate.  As we get into Amman City the traffic becomes crazy but there  does seem to be some logic to it as people follow the rules.  The city spreads out from a valley and over the surrounding hills, it is massive, chaotic and impressive! 

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WOW I am actually here!

We drive down into an older quarter of the city and park on a side street as the Dead Sea Marathon is on (how anyone can run in this heat is beyond me) and the street the hotel is on is closed.  The Amman Pasha Hotel our meeting point for the trip is opposite the Roman Amphitheater, we really are in the center of the city!

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Cute!

The hotel is basic and quaint it has been around for a while, the owner is a Syrian who used to lived in Adelaide, he and his staff are very welcoming and friendly, he employs people who are facing hard times and in need of help, so many of the staff are from countries where they have had to leave and seek refuge, it is sad to think that in this day and age people still have to flee their homes and everything they know and love to stay safe.

They offer me a coffee and when it arrives it is a traditional  Arabic coffee that makes my teeth feel like they are dissolving it is so strong and thick.

The room is big and clean I have a great view of the the Amphitheater, but I haven't slept for....um over 30 hours so shower and a nap before heading out to explore!

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What a View!

The free walking Tour I planned to do, well that didn't happen, I crashed out and woke up in time for dinner.

The roof top restaurant has amazing views of the city all lit up, even at night it is busy.  The restaurant is simple, the fresh air is lovely and i love the the herd of little animals wandering around, yeap the owner has rescued rabbits, guinea pigs, tortoises and baby chicks, it's so cute! Of course I share my dinner before heading off to bed! 

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Hotel Inhabitants!

OCTOBER 12TH 2019 DAY 1

Woke up at around 2am and couldn't go back to sleep, Jet lag blah...

During breakfast I met some of my fellow travelers on the tour a lovely couple from Canada.  I am loving the falafels included in the free breakfast.  I chill for a bit before heading out on the 'Free Walking Tour' the hotel has on offer. 

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My 2am View!

Our guide is great, and our first stop is the oldest bakery in Amman, the smell of baking bread delights the senses and he gives us all a taste handing out sesame biscuits still warm from the oven.  

As we walk along one of the busy main streets there is an unusual mural painted on the side of a building, he explains it's there to represent the equality of life in Jordan the equal balance of rights between men and women, a face half a man and half a women blending together as one, I like it, as you can often have preconceptions of countries like Jordan being a male dominant society, impressive!

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Face of Equality!

We cross the road and I am glad he is here to guide us as in this traffic it's not an easy feat! 

Turning down a side street we come across an old Roman Baths the 'Nymphaeum' it is small little hidden gem and no entry fee!  It is only 2 levels with underground arches and columns.  Some of the carvings are still intact and you can get a sense of what it must of looked like.

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Just tucked away on a side street!
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Info!
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Sending love from Amman!
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Imagine it filled with water!
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Would have been amazing!

We cross the street and wander through a fresh food market, full of fruit, vegetables, nuts, and spices.  The people are friendly, they don't harass you to purchase  and are happy to answer any questions and to sample what's on offer.

Coming out of the market we are walking through a cover promenade and notice there are dried teabags stuck to the ceiling, apparently if you throw the bag at the ceiling and it sticks you will get good luck, our guide says he has never tried this as he scared it won't stay there and he will have bad luck.

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Lucky Teabags!

We wander down a street dominated by spice shops, you can smell the sweetness in the air, the colors are vibrant and the displays are fantastic.  We enter a quaint old store with beautiful old fashioned cabinets.  The owner points out the different types of spices in amazingly perfect pyramids tells us what they are used for, he hands out frankincense in it's pure form, it is crystal like and smells sweet.  

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The smells...
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The colors...AMAZING!

We stop on a major intersection dominated by the Grand Husseieni Mosque, it is quite grand with 2 towers dominating the skyline and colored glass.

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The Grand Husseieni Mosque!

As we walk it seems each street is famous for what it sells, one street we walk down has jewelry and antique shops another clothing, another furniture, which makes shopping easy!

Turning down a side street dominated by cafes we come across a set of stairs decorated with open umbrellas creating a colorful shaded  roof to those taking the opportunity to stop and take photos, it is a popular spot.

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A splash of color!

We stop outside a restaurant which boasts the best falafels in Amman, our guide disappears returning with a bag of fresh warm delights and they are good!

We take time out of the blazing sun and visit what was once The Municipal Building of Amman, it has since been turned into a museum, there is no entry fee and we are free to roam around at our leisure.  the original furniture is still there, and there are views from the large ornate windows of the busy tree lined streets below.

This is our last stop before heading back to the hotel, and I am thankful for the guided tour as I would never have found these wonderful little places on my own let alone discovered the culinary delights Amman has to offer.

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City Life!

After a coffee I head down to lobby and ask the travel director the best way to get to the citadel and the hotel owner offers me a lift with his wife who is heading out to do some shopping, such wonderful hospitality. I am glad I accepted it is a long walk up hill.  She doesn't speak much English but is all smiles as we make our way up the winding streets to the top. She waves goodbye and races off back down the hill.

The view from up here is mind blowing, you really get a sense of how sprawling Amman is, spreading up and over the hillsides that surround the city.  Every house is built form the same colored stone, I wonder why no one has thought "hey I am going to paint my house so it stands out"

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This city seems to go on forever!

As you enter the citadel the first you thing you see is the temple of Hercules, with it's giant pillars, which are larger than pillars at other historic sites and this is to pay homage to Hercules strength. 

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The entrance to this ancient temple on the hill!

I am however disappointed to see people climbing all over them to take photos, why, these things are thousands of years old and should be protected not ruined!  It is so huge it would have once stood out boldly over the city for all to see.  The hand of Hercules as since been moved which I was hoping to see, oh well. 

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It would have been magnificent!

There is an amazing view of the amphitheater below, you get a sense of how the city was built, spreading slowly outwards from the temple over the centuries.

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Another amazing view!

 Walking around I find 2 pillars decorated with with olive branches and white fabric, it looks pretty in this ancient setting and as I enter the Archaeological Museum I ask a caretaker what they are for, he tells me they were for a wedding that was held the day before and that he should remove them, I reply with a 'No they look lovely' he promises to leave them be!

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Ancient Wedding Tradition...!

There is a small Archeological Museum on the site and the air conditioning feels amazing, a respite from the heat outside.  The first thing that catches my attention is a stone carving of Medusa sitting near the door, it doesn't do her justice, as she said to be so beautiful that Poseidon came out of the sea to possess her in an act to make Anthea jealous, this made Anthea so angry she cursed Medusa with ugliness, by turning her hair into snakes and her gaze turning men to stone.  This is a sad tale as she was cursed for something that wasn't her fault, all because of male urges and a jealous goddess.

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Poor Medusa!

Inside the humble museum is very interesting and set out to take you through the history of the region.  As soon you enter you are greeted by 2 water nymphs the details so clear and intricate. 

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Head of a Nymph
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Which goddess is this?

There is clear chronological order to the museum that takes through the centuries. In the center of the room is a coffin with a mummified baby, my first thought, how sad but it turns out the Romans used to bury their children under the floor of the living room, morbid, but was to keep their spirit close to the family, I can understand the tradition as today people are so nomadic we are always on the move from property or city to another that we lose that strong connection to the family bonds. 

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Ancient Coffins

The number of the different tribes, cultures and nationalities that occupied this region make Amman one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world.

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This museum has some the areas oldest statues

There is the restored Byzantium Church, built in the 8th century.  The domed entry is shaped like a cross has been restored with a large dome and the arched doors look out to the ruins of the of the palace I like it.  It is cool inside which is surprising considering how hot it is outside.  

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It seems so small on the outside!

There is a small rosette on the floor at the entrance that catches my eye it is very quaint and ornate, I like it.

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It's so quaint!

Leaving the church there is a view of what was once was the palace, it seems quite small but from the door you get a sense of the layout.  The of course the throne room was in the center. 

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Thru to the Palace...!

Walking around the ruins in the midday sun you really feel how dry the air is air is.  I make my way back to the entrance passing burial chambers that are still under excavation. 

When I get out.side taxi drivers are touting for customers, I politely decline deciding instead to walk back when one of them starts to follow me, continuously trying to get me to change my mind, thinking that ignoring him is my best course of action he actually becomes quite aggressive and starts shouting at me, I didn't understand what he was saying but I got the jist of it. so I quicken my pace and head down the hill disappearing around the corner hidden among the houses I finally relax

Leaving the Citadel I walk down back to the hotel through the winding streets finding the short cut recommended by our city walk guide, the alley of steps cuts out the winding street but you get to glimpse of how the everyday person goes by their daily life in this bustling city.

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Lovely little side streets...!

After sharing my lunch with the local feathered and furry friends, and meeting some fellow travelers I head off to the Museum.  Walking down one of the main streets the shops change from food to clothes to household items to building supplies they are grouped so well that shopping in this city must be easy, and not a mall in sight. 

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Shopping like a local!

 The walk is only 20 minutes from the hotel and the museum is easy to spot, there is construction underway on the outside and it makes finding the entrance a little difficult but with the help of 2 lovely local, ladies, even with the language barrier take the time to try to understand me walk me there,  the entrance comes into view.  Unfortunately I do have have cross the road, but I lived another day!   It is a very modern and bright building and the staff are so helpful. 

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I found it!

The museum is filled with amazing statues and friezes from the Roman Era, I love this part the Myths of their culture is so fascinating.  The changes in the region is so clearly laid out and to learn about the Islamic history is an eye opener. 

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It's called Lion,,, HMMMM!
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Cool!
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Made me think of the phrase"Two Faced"

I wish I had more time to spend here as I make my way to the hall with the Dead Sea Scrolls. The room is dark but there are 4 on display the first is from the book of Isiah, one from Deuteronomy, another from the book pf Ephesus and one that doesn't have a bible chapter associated with it. Also on display are these copper tubes covered in the ancient script, what else lays undiscovered in this massive region, when people moved around in freedom, how much could when learn about our past.

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Roman exhibit
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I like it!

Looking at the time I have to head back to the hotel for our group meeting. 

It must be peak hour as the traffic is chaos, so unbeknown to him I follow a local to get across the road and make my way back just in time for the trip meet. It seems like a great group with a mix of nationalities and ages. I meet my roomie for the first time.  She is from New York, she is chilled and friendly, I think we will get along well, I like her, she has a quirky sense of humor.  Our guides name is Husam, he gives us a run down of where we are going what we will see and do.  I can't wait!

After a group dinner and a chat with some of my fellow travelers, the lack of sleep, the early wake up and a day walking around the city exhaustion takes over.   I head to bed its been along hot day tomorrow, hopefully I will get a good nights sleep...

Posted by TracingTheWorld 04:58 Archived in Jordan

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