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Paul & Tracey's Travels
21st Feb 2015 - Jordan
From the lowest point on Earth, to the Jordanian mountain based capital

Spent the morning chilling at the hotel, and sitting in the sun looking out over the Dead Sea to Israel. After checking out, we were re-United with our minibus which had made it down from snow affected Amman. The guide confirmed that the roads had been cleared of snow and were passable, so at 2pm we set off into the mountains again to spend the afternoon and evening in Amman.

Amman

Amman is the capital and most populous city of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. It is the country's political, cultural and commercial centre and one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Amman's population has been estimated at around 4 million  as of 2014 with an additional million residing in the surrounding areas, so well over two thirds of the countries population live here.

Amman is situated in a hilly area of north-western Jordan. The city was originally built on seven hills, but it now spans over an area of nineteen hills (each known as a Jabal, Tál, Mount or Mountain). The main areas of Amman gain their names from the hills and mountains on whose slopes they lie. The city's elevation changes from mountain to mountain. They range from 700 to 1100 m (2300–3600 feet)

As we ascended the mountain from the Dead Sea, we passed a sign showing the point at which we passed through sea level, which was a bit strange. We are travelling from a point 1,400 feet below sea level to one well over 3,000 above, or from half the height of Scafell below sea level to three quarters of the height of Ben Nevis above. As we carried on up we started to see huge piles of snow at the side of the road, and loads of locals parked at the side of the road to throw snowballs at each other or build snowmen. There were still loads of bulldozers moving around, and teams of workman out with their shovels clearing the roads and pavements.

Fabulous city views

First we stopped at a hilltop Roman ruin called the Amman Citadel which has fantastic views over the city as it climbs up and down the hills. In Jordan there are strict building controls with regard to the height buildings can be built at - most buildings cannot be over 4 storeys high, although there are a couple of tall buildings in Amman.

A wander round the souk

Then our guide took us to the Souk or market area of Amman, where we wandered around for a while looking at all the shops. Our police escort looked at his most anxious during this little walk around in what is obviously a poorer part of the city.

Then it was on to a local restaurant for some Jordanian food. Our guide has been very good in helping me ensure I am not eating any meat, however he does keep saying I should make a concession and eat this or that as it is very very good.

Finally round the corner to our hotel for a final night in Jordan, with an early start to drive to the airport in the morning for an 11am flight home. 

Reflections

I have really enjoyed visiting Jordan. I did not expect to have the trip affected by a snowstorm, but this did not spoil things and I got to see all I wanted to. All the people I met have been really friendly, but it is sad that the country is suffering as tourists are just not visiting at the moment because of the troubles. There are some great sights and experiences to be had in this country and it is a great introduction to the Middle East.



Next: Arrival in China
Previous: Cut off at the Dead Sea, and a visit to the Jordan/Israeli border


Diary Photos

Amman, Jordan

Road to Amman from the Dead Sea, snow slowly clearing, Jordan

Amman, Jordan recovering from worst snow in a decade

Locals have snowball fight on the hills above Amman, Jordan

Amman, Jordan from the Citadel

The Citadel, overlooking Amman, Jordan

Hercules's hand, The Citadel, Amman, Jordan

Paul at the Citadel Roman ruins, above Amman, Jordan

Mosque, Amman, Jordan


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