Amman, Jordan: Lonely Planet Walking Tour

May 8, 2016

The walking tour detailed in the Lonely Planet guide book is an excellent introduction to Amman.

Our plan was to take a taxi to the Citadel at the top of the hill, the start of the LP walking tour. We asked the desk clerk at our hotel to tell the driver where we wanted to go. Either she didn’t understand or the driver just didn’t want to drive there and he dropped us at the mosque at the bottom of hill instead.

Otherwise the walking tour does a nice job of introducing you to the sights and local culture of downtown. We used the Google map on the Ipad to keep us on track. Just follow the blue dot using the LP walking instructions to guide you.

As suggested in the guide book the tour would be better in low light earlier in the morning, but we slept in and started the tour around 10:30.

Amman orginally founded as Philadelphia by the Greeks has layers of past civilizations evidenced in it’s ruins.

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The Roman Amphitheater is rebuilt and impressive.

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The Temple of Hercules and the Islamic Umayyad Palace on the hill are worth a quick spin for the views or a more in depth exploration for the enthusiast.

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Reading that Muslims in Jordan don’t like to have their picture taken, and even pictures at markets are often frowned upon, I didn’t take any street shots. The downtown area is a gritty melting pot of modern commerce and tradition – male mannequins wearing form fitting Euro-style shirts alongside shops selling dusty antiques.

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A short distance from the Mosque is the vegetable souk filled with great looking produce.  If you have the time it’s worth poking around its narrow streets.

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Since we were short on time after the vegetable souk we went straight to Hashem Restaurant, a well known falafel place. We sat down at empty table. The server greeted us and starting listing items slowly.

“Falafel?”
“Yes”, we replied.
“Beans?”
“No.”
“Baba ganoush?”
“Yes.”
“Hummus?”
“Yes.”
“Teen?”
No idea what “teen” is. “Water?”, I ask.
He looks at me confused. “Sprite,” he suggests.
“Ok Sprite.” I reply.

“Teen” I believe, turned out to be sweet tea which seems to come with the meal.

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Five minutes later he brings a plate of piping hot falafel and the other dishes we ordered along with a plate of vegetables and mint and a basket of fresh pita. Great food and fun for 4 dinar (5.50 USD) for the both of us. The highlight of the walking tour!

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