Sunday, 24 January 2010

Our first drive in Amman… finding our way to Jabal al-Qal'a

So here we are, Bob’s first day off and we decide to go out for a drive. It’s good, it’s Friday – so there are not a lot of people on the road. I am always the designated driver so off we go. We decide to head for Jabal al-Qal’a – the Hill of the Citadel. Or that’s what we think, because Amman is a city without signs! We find the hill at the top of which we think the Citadel is, only to discover that yet it is the wrong one. There is a taxi stopped on the road and we ask him for the way. As Bob’s gets out of the car, he discovers that the taxi driver is Hassan, the one from the hotel. He laughs a little bit at us and tells us we are not in the right place… Hassan stops another taxi and asks him to drive us there, so we follow the taxi and yes it’s true we were not at all on the right hill. We pay the driver 3JD (as we were told) and we are at the top of one of the hills, and the right one this time!

the view from the Citadel

You have an amazing view over Amman – I have the impression that we are in the middle of Amman on the top of that hill. The city is in all the directions. This feeling is even stronger as the 3 o’clock prayer call starts on this Friday afternoon. The call echoes through the entire city – it is very beautiful.
The site was occupied as early as the Neolithic Period and fortified during the Bronze Age – the ruins that you can see today are Roman through early Islamic.
the Temple of Hercules – built between 161-166 AD


 the Byzantine Church – constructed in the 5th-6th centuries AD

the Umayyad Mosque – ca. 730 AD

Historically it is an interesting site to visit, also because it covers such a long period of time. It is also a very nice place to walk around with a stroller. We haven’t been here for very long, but I have discovered that you have to be a little adventurous and have a solid stroller to walk around in Amman! The pavements are really high, cars are parked everywhere… I don’t mind and Bibs thinks it’s funny with the bumps – but let’s be honest it is not the easiest country to walk your baby asleep in!

At the bottom of the hill you can see the Roman Theater, I think there is a path going from the Citadel to the Theater. We didn't visit it, Bibs is tired, so it will be for another time.

The drive back to the Hotel goes a bit better… there is a car with diplomatic plates leaving the Citadel at the same time as us and we decide to follow him. And yes it works, as we find our way back! It took us over an hour to find the Citadel and about 8 minutes to get back. One says that you have to get lost to be able to find your way, well I don’t think that I can find my way back up there without a little bit of help!

Bobs needs to buy some peanut butter for a guest, so we head to Carrefour. And let’s say that it is the last time we do that on a Friday evening! It was absolutely over-crowded. In Europe it is rare to see more than 2 persons doing the groceries together, well here it is a family thing: husband, wife, kids and baby-sitter! I would say that it resembled the first day of sales in London.

4 comments:

Shelby Reynolds (Loving Rice) said...

Love your blog! I just found it and am really enjoying your experiences. I'm an expat living in Bangkok with my family (wonderful husband, two children and another one on the way!). We've been here for two years and I can completely relate to your 'newbie' experiences overseas! (We've been here two years and I have just only started driving in Bangkok about 6 months ago... it's that crazy here!). Do you need a license to drive in Jordan or, as an expat, are you able to drive without any sort of local license?

ehab said...

hey ,,, cool post ! i was there yesterday & posted my images last night,, what are the chances ?! anyway , great post & awesome place ,,a worth to see place even if small relatively not to forget the amazing view from there :D

ehab said...

Ooops , I just noticed that the post is one year older :P still , great post , great place ,,, by the way on your next visit to the place , take a walk down to "Balad" & look for " Al quds restaurant " it's not a five star place , but they serve some good dishes [ like Mansaf..etc]that cost you no more than 5 Jds each ,,,

Babs said...

Haha that's ok! Haven't had a chance to answer you yet :) i really like it up there... Thx for the tip about the restaurant, will def have a look next time... Is it open on fridays do you know?

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