This is my first time in the Middle East and Jordan is definitely one of the best places I’ve ever visited.
I touched down in the capital Amman on Sunday night and I’ll be here for a week in total. I’m staying at the InterContinental Hotel, a wonderful 5* hotel in the heart of the city centre. The little Arabic that I know has been super handy whilst navigating about and greeting people. Alhamdulillah!
I find that Jordanians are extremely friendly and hospitable which means learning about their country, culture and history is enjoyable. Amman is spread across quite a few steep mountains, so the landscape is really beautiful and looking down on the city from above is just magical.
Though I’m in Jordan for work, I’ve actually had quite a lot of free time which has turned this experience more into a holiday. Lucky me, ay!
On my first day I had a wander around the old city and the famous Al-Rainbow Street with lots of cafes, restaurants and shops. Life basically starts in the evening over here so that’s when you’d find most people out grabbing a bite to eat, socialising or doing a bit of shopping. The colourful street lights and shop windows also make Amman feel particularly vibrant and lively.
My second day was spent at the Dead Sea. It was about a 45 minute drive from the hotel, and on the way my driver Emad recommended we stop at a store called Black Iris Handicrafts which sells mosaics, carpets, art work, carvings, souvenirs and dead sea beauty products. Lots of great items for decorating my future dream home. (Fun fact: the Black Iris is Jordan’s floral emblem.)
On arrival at the Dead Sea I got a day pass to Dead Sea Spa Hotel & Resort for only 20JD (£23) which allows private access to the beach, pools and the hotel’s restaurant. The Dead Sea itself was a dream. Because the water is soooo salty, about 10 times saltier than normal sea water, your body just floats and it’s basically impossible to swim. So I just spent a long time floating about, enjoying the warm sunshine and living my best life.
Later on I gave myself a good scrub with mud found in the various pockets along the beach. They say that this mud is very good for the skin and health in general, and I can’t lie I was feeling fabulous afterwards.
In the afternoon I had a delicious meal at the hotel restaurant – I couldn’t recommend it enough. Jordanian food is great for vegetarians and vegans because it contains lots of fruits, healthy sauces, vegetables and grains – similar really to the mediterranean diet.
That evening I had some light snacks at the funky Books@Cafe in downtown Amman.
Day three was mostly spent discovering the history of Amaan. I had a guided tour of the Citadel where I learned about the making of the city, how different civilizations governed it, the ancient ruins, Jordan’s independence, and how the country has changed in modern times. My tour guide Faysal was a great photographer too so shout out to him for the cool photos.
Faysal went on to teach me about the Roman and Greek influence in Amman as we toured the Roman Amphitheatre. It’s about 95 steps to the very top and seats about 6,000 people. I can only imagine how electrifying it must have been to perform on that stage back in the day!
As sunset began so did the hustle and bustle of the city. Echos of the Adhan (islamic call to prayer) could be heard from all over and people came in great numbers to gather and pray at the King Abdullah I Mosque, the famous blue-domed mosque of Jordan.
Faysal took me to a street food stall where we bought falafel wraps and ate sugary Jordanian desserts.
I feel so lucky to be abroad (once again), experiencing a new culture, language and a different way of life. I can’t wait to see what else is in store this week.
Here are more pictures of the adventures so far.