Welcome to Jordan!
We made it - our Middle Eastern adventure has finally begun! 22 hours after take off we landed in the surprisingly cold city of Amman, Jordan.
We decided to treat ourselves to a night of luxury at the Grand Hyatt before our jam packed adventure begins! This turned out to be a great decision as when we checked into our tours starting point hotel the following day, it wasn't exactly going to be topping any "best lists".We had read in lonely planet before leaving that there is this amazing local street cafe to eat at. So good, the Royal family even dines there! As always, Lonely Planet never lets down and it was an incredible meal. For about $1.50 each we feasted on felafel, hand cut fries, fuul (a delicious Fava bean dip) , flat bread straight from the oven, mint tea and the best hummus I have ever tasted! A great way to start the trip, which for Jess and I is just as much about the food as it is the sights! After a much need rest, we started our second day in Amman full of energy and ready to explore. Outside of Italy, Jordan
has some of the worlds best preserved Roman Ruins. We started the day off at the Citadel, with breathtaking 360o views across the city. At noon the call to prayer echoed across the city. To be high above the centre of Amman, with Mosques dotting the skyline, was a wonderful way to hear our first call to prayer. Next stop was the Roman Theatre which dates back some 2,000 years. The Roman Theatre is still used to this day for theatre and entertainment. After a steep climb to the top, we again had spectacular views of the city and became some what of a tourist attraction ourselves with a few young local boys and their cameras. Walking the streets of downtown Amman in search again for our new favourite restaurant, Hashem, it was very clear this is a mans world. There are few women out on the streets and the ones that are, are accompanied by a male, presumably a husband or relative. There has been a little leering but for the most part everyone has been very friendly and most locals (men) we walk past all greet us with "Welcome to Jordan". After another brilliant feast at Hashem, we
came across a local bakery which sold some mouth watering sweets. Locals were literally lined up down the alleyway, so we figured it had to be good. I can't tell you the names of anything we tried, however for a few files (cents) we left on a complete sugar high! This afternoon we checked into our tours starting point hotel, the Caravan Hotel. Let's just say its definitely not the Hyatt! We may have ruined ourselves by starting the trip off in 5 star luxury as its all downhill from here. We met our tour group this evening and first impression was that we had joined an "very mature aged" tour until a few young guys from Sydney arrived. Our first impression wasn't helped any by the fact there is an old hippie British woman with streaked hot pink & purple hair, who refused to go to the restaurant our leader had chosen for us, as she doesn't eat hommus, felafel, fuul or basically any other delicious traditional dish of the region! She then proceeded to tell our tour leader (demanded actually) that he should change our itinerary the following day by skipping going to the Dead Sea so she
could see the St George Church mosaic in Madaba. This stop was never in the itinerary to begin with! I could see the faces on everyone from the group and I don't think anyone could believe what was happening! I couldn't sit by and not say anything. I politely reminded her that the stop to the Dead Sea is actually on the itinerary, that Jess and i were very much looking forward to it and would not be happy for it to be replaced. I received lots of smiles of "thank you for speaking up" from the group
Over dinner we got to know our group. Everyone is extremely friendly and the "oldies" we're a lot of fun. After dinner we toured the local markets and we couldn't believe how generous the local fruit & vegetable sellers were. Without expecting anything in return, they offered us sample after sample if the most delicious strawberries, almonds, beans & oranges. Amman has been a great first introduction to Jordan and we can't wait to start exploring the country even more!X
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