Staring into the distance, over this noisy and ramshackle city, the houses glisten under the sun like hilltop growths of sugar or salt crystals.
Amman – like Bath – is built of limestone. And also, like our World Heritage city, had its first local quarries of building material opened by the Romans.
However, whereas we glow like honey under the sun, Jordan’s capital is glaringly white and quite dazzling to the eye.
Downtown offers a rich repository of Latin leftovers best viewed from the citadel, perched on top of the city’s highest hill, and including one of its most striking sights – the Temple of Hercules.
A history of earthquake activity has done much damage with only a few reconstructed pillars to show for what must have been an amazing building.
To one side lie a few marble ‘body parts’ from what have been a huge statue of this legendary half man/half god – including some fingers.
From this vantage point you can take in the equally impressive Roman theatre below – an amazing example of engineering precision.
We were shown around by car and on foot by the two Jamal’s in our lives over the next couple of days. Jamal 1 our driver and Jamal 2 our guide.
He spent time in the States as a chef, met and married an American woman who came to his restaurant, and returned to Jordan to train as a guide and raise a family.
We took a walk through the city’s vibrant souks before driving through West Amman – the home of the wealthy and the Beverly Hills of this young but rapidly growing city – mostly a creation of the 20th century.
Jamal 2 took us into the amazing Hashem Restaurant where you queue to sit and enjoy some of the best hummus and falafel platters in the city.
Then to Habibah where sweet tooth’s of all ages line up for honey-infused, pistachio-topped and filo-crusted variations on the region’s most famous desserts. Ours had a goat cheese base too!
We’re staying at the Grand Hyatt and enjoying the spa extras and bounteous breakfasts!!
Tomorrow we are off for a full day sightseeing tour of some of the historic sites located north of the capital. It includes an opportunity to look down over the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights.