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A Change of Scenery

The saying is true, “time flies when you are having fun.” My time in Jordan has been a nonstop adventure and I would not have it any other way. I have been able to meet some of the most spectacular people and have bonded in unforeseen ways with those who, not too long ago, were complete strangers.

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There is always time for a group photo when standing on a 800 year old castle.

The first part of my trip thus far has consisted of exploring the markets and alleyways of Amman, trying to look as un-touristy as possible (which I may add has been quite difficult). I initially struggled in remembering how get from my apartment to the local bakery or super market, as all the roads and buildings look so similar. I guess when I was in Colorado I never realized how much I relied on looking towards the Rocky Mountains to figure out which way was west. But all is well, as I am now completely confident in my ability to navigate the various areas throughout Amman and recall how to find my way home (although I still have no sense of where west is).

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Today was unique from any other day in that my group and I were able to get out of Amman and travel towards two different cities, Ajloun and Jerash. We headed north early enough so that we would be able to spend the day exploring these two spectacular places, filled with ancient history and natural beauty.

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A man taking in the magnificent views atop the Ajloun Castle.

Our first stop was Qalaat Errabadh (Arabic for ‘Hilltop Castle’), also known as the Castle of Ajloun, which was built by Muslims over 800 years ago. This was the first time I had the opportunity to explore a real castle and I was in awe of what a remarkable structure it was. There were various towers, chambers, and staircases to get lost in but the greatest part was the breathtaking view from the hilltop. When the weather is cooperative, one could plainly see Israel, Lebanon, Syria, and the West Bank, all from the rooftop. After a short hour of snapping photos and learning from our knowledgeable tour guide, it was time to part ways with Ajloun.

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Being a tourist in front of the Arch of Hadrian.

We made a quick and vital stop for the ever so satisfying meal of Jordanian shawarma before arriving in Jerash, where we would spend the next two hours in utter amazement. This is the site of Roman ruins and currently the second-most popular tourist attraction in Jordan, which are over 2000 years old. It is astonishing how well-maintained these ruins are and our tour guide informed us that Jerash is considered to be one of the most important and best preserved Roman cities. My favorite part was the triumphal arch, Arch of Hadrian, which is grand in size and stands to welcomes the hundreds of tourists that flood through it on a daily basis. I also thoroughly enjoyed listening to a man use bagpipes to fill the Jerash Theater with extraordinary music as I climbed to the top to capture an incredible view, which my camera does not do justice.

At the end of the day, I could not have asked for a better way to spend my second weekend in Jordan. While I go back to my daily life in Amman, filled with multiple trips to the coffee shop down the street and late nights of homework, I look forward to my future independent and group trips that are coming up. I cannot wait to share them with you!

From Jordan, with love

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