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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 18, Tuesday - Amman, Ajloun, & Jerash

And I thought I walked a lot yesterday… 

Today started with a visit to Ajloun Castle, which was built by Saladin and has been very well preserved. I had a really fun time wandering around and finding that one small room often led to another room and another, etc. 

I have also learned a useful fact from my wanderings yesterday and today: if there is nothing blocking your path, you can pretty much go where you wish.

For example, I found a narrow stairway, which previous experiences in the US and Europe would indicate should not be followed, but I decided I might as well try since there was nothing to stop me. I ended up finding a huge room at the top (which I have since decided would have been my room if it had been my castle). There were plenty of places that were blocked by something, but by going through different rooms, I often found myself on the other side of the same barrier. 

I have been basically doing self-guided tours (though I have a driver to take me to and from each location) and one advantage of this is that I get to explore places the tour guides don’t take you. I saw plenty of tour groups pass by doorways which I followed to find plenty of rooms and places beyond. I also can stay at each place however long I like without having to rush or wait for an entire group. This is not to say that I don’t like traveling with people, I absolutely do and would love to take any of you to these places I am visiting, but it is also fun to have the freedom of exploring by myself. 

Next up was the Roman ruins of Jerash, and talk about things to see… Locals don’t seem to think much of this site, but I loved it. I don’t have much experience with Roman ruins, so maybe that had something to do with it, but you really can’t help but be impressed by the feats accomplished by the Romans so many years ago which are still standing today.

There is a grand amphitheater and a smaller one, a large oval piazza, remnants of churches, monuments, and rows upon rows of columns. Climbing the steps in the grand theater is quite a workout, but well worth the view in my opinion. 

Entrance to Jerash

Grand Amphitheater (that's a person way down there,  and I could hear her perfectly)

Behind me to the right is part of the oval piazza

 Back in the city of Amman, I visited the Citadel and another Roman amphitheater. I loved walking through the Citadel, built on the original site of Amman, and imagining what it must have looked like years ago when it was a bustling city. It’s fun to try to imagine what was in each room, what was being sold in the souq (market), and what the view would have been of the surrounding area. 

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