Saturday, February 17, 2018

Travel Talk Essential Jordan Tour, Part 2: Ajloun and Jerash

On the first full day of my Essential Jordan tour  with Travel Talk Tours, we visited Ajlun and Jerash and then returned to our hotel in Amman in the evening.

The tour guide picked us up at our hotel in Amman. We had the same tour bus, driver, and guide throughout the trip. The bus was a bit old, but it does have wifi!

The first stop was Ajloun (Ajlun) to visit a 12th century Muslim castle that sits on top of a hill in Jabal Ajlun (Mount Ajlun) district.
When we got off the bus there was a guy selling hot mint tea for 1 JD. December in Jordan is a bit chilly (40-50 Fahrenheit) and Ajlun being at the top of a hill was a bit windy, so it was nice to hold a hot cup of tea in my hands, although the tea itself was a bit too strong and bitter for my taste (the tea at Hesham Restaurant in Amman was much better).

Ajloun Castle was a Muslim castle, but it was in fact built on top of the ruins of a Byzantine church, and you can see remnants of this as you tour the castle.
Ajloun Castle

The view from the top of Ajloun castle was beautiful. Our guide told us that beyond the hills is Israel.
Being a part of a tour group means the lunch stops are predetermined. We stopped at Artemis Restaurant before heading to Jerash. This was actually one of the best lunch stops in the entire trip. I really enjoyed watching them make fresh bread in the domed oven. The guy even made me a heart-shaped flatbread, aww.
There was an option for a buffet (which did look pretty good, actually) for 15JD or for a sandwich for 7JD. Since the group all wanted the cheaper option and we had limited time to eat, I also had the lamb kebab sandwich which was wrapped in the same freshly made flatbread. While it was nothing to write home about, this would be one of the two good lunch stops you would have on the trip, so savor it.

I admit, I booked the tour specifically to see Petra, so I had not researched much else about Jordan. The second stop on this tour, however, really surprised and impressed me. We went to Jerash to see the ancient Greco-Roman city of Gerasa.
As someone would say, it was yu-u-ge!
The Arch of Hadrian, erected around 129-130 AD by the Roman Emperor Hadrian. Oh, the history these ruins have seen. The ancient city was founded by the Greeks in 331 BC, then it was conquered by Romans. During the Umayyad Caliphate, muslims coexisted with Christians. You can see the ruins of temples, Byzantine churches, and mosques.

a Roman theater in Jerash

There were so much to see in Jerash for history buffs!

The next way, we left Amman to stay in a Bedouin Camp in Wadi Rum desert.


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