Around and around in circles we go.

Amman Travel Blog

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I think we've lost the highway now...
Most of today was spent in the car, staring out the window and wondering where the hell we were. We never quite figured it out, either! There is a definite dearth of directional signage in these parts. But, hey, at least the scenery is nice.

The goal was simple enough: to head out to Wadi as-Seer, west of Amman, and visit Iraq al-Amir (Caves of the Prince) and a castle ruin called Qasr al-Abad  (Palace of the Slave). Easier said than done.

We set off in the right direction (we think), and then were soon faced with a fork, then a traffic circle, then another, and none of it was labeled, so we drove around and around, hoping to come to a sign, the caves, ANYTHING…

In the end, after meandering all over the outskirts of the city, we actually gave up on trying to find the sites, hoping just to get back to Amman.
Those are some big building blocks!
And then our luck turned…about two hours into what should have been a 30-minute drive, we finally stumbled across a sign for Iraq al-Amir. Whoo-hoo! Once we found the sign, it was easy enough to find the caves, and the castle ruin was just below it.

The castle area was small, and easily viewed in about 15 minutes. It is thought that the rest of the original complex or outbuildings now lie under the town of Iraq al-Amir (the castle itself was rebuilt/renovated under the direction of a French archeologist). The remarkable aspect of this 2nd century castle is the size of the stones used to construct it -- they are enormous! The largest stone is 7m by 3m (23 feet x 10 feet), but only 40cm (16 inches) wide…I read on Wikipedia that this flimsiness caused it to be susceptible to earthquake, which is how it was eventually destroyed.
Hmmm, not sure I have the proper gear for this one!
There were also some nice lion carvings outside the castle, but they were pretty worn down and these days are looking more like soft cuddly kittens than lions.  

We then drove a short distance, and climbed a stone staircase leading up to the caves, which were apparently homes or stables at some point a long time ago. There was no signage, so we just peeked instead the ones that were gated, and walked into the ones that weren’t. If nothing else, it was a nice respite from the heat.

Then it was time to go back to the hotel. It’s almost comical how we seem completely doomed to taking the wrong turn here, going the wrong way there… I am sure there is a trick to navigating in this city, but we haven’t learned it yet.

We did make it back, eventually, and spent the rest of the evening in. Steve worked out, but my upset stomach is still with me, so I passed on that, and skipped dinner as well.

Tomorrow, dare we venture out again? Yes! The plan is to go east, to visit the desert castles on the road towards Iraq… although, of course, we hopefully won’t be going quite that far.  

cmgervais says:
Yes, definitely put it on your list for the next one :^). YOUR blog has me trying to shuffle things around... we hadn't planned to go to S. America but now I want to go to the Galapagos more than anything...
Posted on: Jun 23, 2008
chrisrae says:
I am so jealous you made it to Jordan! It looks amazing. Definitely on my list of future world travels. Great pictures.
Posted on: Jun 23, 2008
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I think weve lost the highway now…
I think we've lost the highway no…
Those are some big building blocks!
Those are some big building blocks!
Hmmm, not sure I have the proper g…
Hmmm, not sure I have the proper …
Lion carving at Qasr al-Abad (Pala…
Lion carving at Qasr al-Abad (Pal…
Lion carving at Qasr al-Abad (Pala…
Lion carving at Qasr al-Abad (Pal…
Info sign.
Info sign.
Stone steps to Iraq al-Amir (Caves…
Stone steps to Iraq al-Amir (Cave…
Steve appears to be about to do so…
Steve appears to be about to do s…
Me on the stone steps to Iraq al-A…
Me on the stone steps to Iraq al-…
There were 11 caves in all.
There were 11 caves in all.
Steve at Qasr al-Abad  (Palace of …
Steve at Qasr al-Abad (Palace of…
Wall of Qasr al-Abad  (Palace of t…
Wall of Qasr al-Abad (Palace of …
Amman
photo by: benwielenga