Arrival in Amman

Amman Travel Blog

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View from the hotel room

As one of the wonders of the modern world and an icon to fans of the movie Indiana Jones, the Treasury in Petra is clearly at the top of most travel wish lists. So when the decision to go to Jordan was made, my friend Kevin who is a huge Indiana Jones fan, was the most logical choice to be my travel partner. We had a long 10 hour flight on American Airlines to London where we then had a 4 hour layover before connecting to Amman, Jordan on Royal Jordanian Airlines. Arriving just before midnight, clearing customs and immigration was a slow process but while in line, I meet a guy named Josh from London who just so happens to be doing a similar tour around Jordan but with G Adventures.

The Roman Theater in Amman
Finally clearing customs, the baggage claim area was nearly empty and I was able to locate by bag. However, Kevin's was no where to be found. We spent the next hour scouring the baggage claim area and getting the run around from various airport employees. Resigned to the fact that Kevin's bag was lost, we finally left the airport after leaving our information with the Royal Jordanian representative. It was now after 2:00 am and we had been in Jordan for almost 2 hours. At this point, I was afraid that our pre-paid airport pick-up had left but once we entered the arrivals area, there he was with a sign with our names. From the airport, it was a quick but quiet ride to our hotel in downtown Amman, the Art Hotel.

After just a few hours of sleep, I woke up and stepped out to our balcony to see a Saturday morning buzzing with activity.

Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Kevin and I wandered downstairs for breakfast and as we sat there we saw a few people sitting by themselves. We wondered if these were people that we would meet later this evening and would get to know over the next week. After breakfast, we headed out for some exploration. From the hotel, we walked over to nearby Hashemite Square to check out Amman's famous Roman Theater. A famous landmark in Amman, the Roman Theather is a 6,000 seat theater from the 2nd century. We paid our 5 dinar entry fee and had a quick look around where we climbed to the highest seats and had great views above Hashemite Square and the surrounding area. After exploring the theater, we visited the nearby Folklore Museum and Museum of Popular Traditions. Entrance was included with our ticket to the theater and these 2 small museums featured exhibits showing traditional Jordanian life, costumes, weapons, face masks.
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Next to the Roman Theater was the much smaller Odeon.  This sort of "mini-theater" was able to seat around 500 people and was likely used for much smaller performances. From here, our next goal was to visit the Citadel, set atop the highest hill in all of Amman. We could have easily taken a cab to bring us to the top of the hill but we followed the instructions of our trusty Lonely Planet guide and hiked up the hill going through small alleyways, staircases, and residential streets before making our way to the top. 

At the top, we enjoyed great views of the surrounding city of Amman and made our way over to the Citadel. After paying our entrance fee, we stopped for a quick snack and drink as it had already gotten quite warm. While enjoying our snack, I notice a guy walking over to us.

Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
It was Josh whom I had met at the airport last night. Like us, he was also here exploring the highlights of Amman before meeting up with his tour group tonight and the 3 of us set off to explore the Citadel together. We checked out what remains of the Temple of Hercules while constantly having to dissuade Kevin from climbing it's columns before making our way to the Jordan Archaelogical Museum. Inside the museum, we checked out some random artifacts and learned that the Dead Sea Scrolls were at the Jordan Museum. The 3 of us agreed that we would walk there together after checking out the rest of the Citadel.  After the Archaelogical Museum, we explored the remains of the Umayyad Palace but nothing really caught our attention. So after a quick walk around, we decided to leave the Citadel and make our way over to the Jordan Museum.
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Making our way back down the hill towards the Roman Amphitheater, it was hard to retrace our steps from this morning as the streets were now buzzing with activity compared to the relative quiet of the morning. However, with the help of the GPS on Josh's phone, we easily found our way. Enticed by a small juice stand, the 3 of us popped in for some refreshing freshly squeezed juice and took a break from the warm day while discussing the political situation back home in the States. We made it to the Jordan Museum and once we entered the courtyard, the first thing I notice is the relative calm and quiet compared to the noise of honking cars and traffic just outside the gate. The museum displayed exhibits featuring important moments in modern Jordanian history and ancient history in the region including the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Hashemite Square in Amman
We strolled around the exhibits and after less than an hour we left in order to seek out a late lunch. Based on the recommendation from our Lonely Planet Guide, we walked over to Hashem Restaurant just across the street from our hotel. Popular with locals and tourists, this place was jam packed. We managed to snag a table where we enjoyed a delicious lunch of falafel, salad, hummus, and pita bread. Of course, all of this washed down with some delicous mint tea. After being reenergenized with lunch, we decided to walk over to Rainbow Street where we had read was the trendy and hip area of town. Climbing our way uphill, we made it over to Rainbow Street in search of a bar to enjoy some beer.  Finding some beer proved a bit difficult as a few establishments that appeared to serve beer were alcohol free.
At the top of the Roman Theater in Amman
Eventually, we found Buffalo Wings and Rings we the three of us enjoyed a pitcher of Heineken and people watched along Rainbow Street. We had a few hours before we were to meet our tour groups so we parted ways. Josh walked back to his nearby hotel and we walked back down the hill to ours and we agreed to meet up in Petra in a few days. 

Meeting your fellow tourmates is always an interesting experience. Knowing that you were going to spend a lot of time together for the next week, I'm always hoping that there will be interesting and friendly people. We met at 6pm in the dining room where we first meet Faisal, our tour leader for the next 8 days. We also meet our 10 other travellers. There was our fellow Americans Brent and Jocelyn, a long distance couple living in Virginia while the other works in Bahrain, Patrick from New Zealand but working in Hong Kong, Lucca and Sarah siblings from Switzerland, Sophie and Rich from England, and Dave, Mark, and Ronan from Ireland.

The 500 Seat Odeon next to The Roman Theater
At first glance, it seemed like this was going to be a quiet group. After filling out the requisite paperwork, we all headed out for dinner at of all places, the same place we had already been to for lunch. We dined on the same falafel, hummus, and pita bread that we had for lunch while slowly starting to get to know our fellow tourmates. Funny enough, as we were about to leave Josh and his group from G Adventures showed up. This definitely must be a popular place! After dinner, we set out to buy some alcohol for the next day and also to buy some clothes for Kevin as his bag had still not arrived. That night, a group of us decided to meet up at a bar on Rainbow Street for some drinks. I walked with Mark and Dave through the narrow streets and alleyways heading towards Rainbow Street where we were to meet Kevin and Ronan at a restaurant-lounge called Cantaloupe.
The Roman Theater in Amman
To our surprise, Kevin and Ronan were already there! We spent the evening on the outdoor terrace where the 5 of us drank the night away and discussed politics and our mutual dislike of Donald Trump. It was a great night of getting to know these guys and with a great view overlooking Amman.

jacobi says:
Good blog and photos :)
Posted on: Jun 18, 2017
royv1 says:
Ha! Thanks Man. And it's only Day1!!
Posted on: Mar 13, 2017
AdamR3723 says:
Absorbing account. Thanks!
Posted on: Mar 06, 2017
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View from the hotel room
View from the hotel room
The Roman Theater in Amman
The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Inside The Roman Theater in Amman
Hashemite Square in Amman
Hashemite Square in Amman
At the top of the Roman Theater in…
At the top of the Roman Theater i…
The 500 Seat Odeon next to The Rom…
The 500 Seat Odeon next to The Ro…
The Roman Theater in Amman
The Roman Theater in Amman
Panorama View of Amman from the Ci…
Panorama View of Amman from the C…
Panorama View of Amman from the Ci…
Panorama View of Amman from the C…
View of the Roman Theater from the…
View of the Roman Theater from th…
Temple of Hercules at the Citadel
Temple of Hercules at the Citadel
Exploring the Temple of Hercules a…
Exploring the Temple of Hercules …
Exploring the Temple of Hercules a…
Exploring the Temple of Hercules …
Exploring the Temple of Hercules a…
Exploring the Temple of Hercules …
Exploring the Temple of Hercules a…
Exploring the Temple of Hercules …
Exploring the Temple of Hercules a…
Exploring the Temple of Hercules …
Jordan Archaeological Museum
Jordan Archaeological Museum
Artifacts at the Jordan Archaeolog…
Artifacts at the Jordan Archaeolo…
The Hand of Hercules at The Citadel
The Hand of Hercules at The Citadel
Umayyad Palace at the Citadel
Umayyad Palace at the Citadel
Exploring the Grounds of the Umayy…
Exploring the Grounds of the Umay…
Exploring the Grounds of the Umayy…
Exploring the Grounds of the Umay…
Exploring the Grounds of the Umayy…
Exploring the Grounds of the Umay…
Panorama View of Amman
Panorama View of Amman
Walking The Streets of Amman
Walking The Streets of Amman
The Al Hosseini Mosque in Amman
The Al Hosseini Mosque in Amman
The Jordan Museum
The Jordan Museum
Inside the Jordan Museum
Inside the Jordan Museum
Artifacts inside the Jordan Museum
Artifacts inside the Jordan Museum
Amman
photo by: benwielenga