Pella and Um Qais
We were rather disappointed with our Pella visit, for starters getting there was a mission: our driver didn’t know where to go and it’s over an hours drive from Amman.
When we eventually got there, it was literally just a piece of land. There’s someone at the gate selling tickets and then that’s it. We were not provided with any information, we were simply told here is Pella. Our All in One told us we could go up the hill and see what’s there, but it was extremely hot and we had no idea whether we would even find anything up there so we decided to get back in the car and head to the next site- Um Qais.
This really must not have been our day. We got to Um Qais and the first order of business was getting our hands on some ice lollies. We then proceeded to enter the ancient remains of Um Qais, and once again we were greeted with poor signage (if present at all, it was in Arabic only) so we resorted to following the crowds and wondering what the we were looking at.
We did meet some friendly locals, who insisted on sharing their coffee with us (we risked being completely rude and declined- the desert heat really is a force to be reckoned with). That plus the fact that both of us have written and produced too many episodes of Banged Up Abroad in our heads.
We cluelessly made our way through the ruins and once again rewarded ourselves with ice lollies. Once we were reunited with our All in One, and told him our disappointment about not being able to understand anything we saw there, he apologized and told us he didn’t get us a guide with it being noon on a Friday all the guides had gone to Mosque (you’d think an All in One would have known this and planned accordingly!).
After two disappointments in one day we went looking for a meal, and at least Santhuri got to try the local dish “Mansaf”. She’d been looking forward to this all trip. It’s a traditional Jordanian dish of lamb slow cooked in yoghurt. Verdict? I couldn’t get a clear answer out of Santhuri so jury is still out.
The next day took us to Jerash and this more than made up for the disappointments of the previous day.
We had the most amazing guide who gave us an informative tour punctuating with humour in true Jordanian style. Although there are still more ruins to be excavated, there is plenty to see and a lot to learn about the ancient civilians that lived there and the blend between east and west. This a definitely a must see when in Jordan and its worth spending a full day here. It is apparently a favourite venue for concerts, we can only imagine what it must be like to attend a show in an ancient Roman amphitheatre.