(Entry under construction). Remember that you can see a map of Jordan by using the map list on the bottom left.
On Tuesday, September 25 we had an evening flight to Amman. Since we had all day in Frankfurt, we visited the Stadel Museum, only a 15 minute walk from our Toyoko Inn. We stowed luggage and headed out into a beautiful sunny day. There was definitely the feel of autumn in the air, but very pleasant outside. Frankfurt has many museums, but the Stadel is a standout for art. We wound up spending several hours looking at the paintings with a great audio guide that taught us a lot. When we first entered, we saw Tischbein's "Goethe in the Roman Campagna;" we had walked by the Goethe museum several times, and I was reminded of my undergrad days when we read The Sorrows of Young Werther (Die Leiden des Junges Werther) many years ago. Goethe set off a fad of youth suicide back in his day before he wrote his huge Faustus (remember the story in which Faust makes a pact with the devil?)
We enjoyed our day, although we have to be careful about museum fatigue. What I found particularly interesting about this experience was the look at a lot of German artists that I did not know so well; I liked the Max Beckmann work especially. Even after several hours, we ran out of time, energy and brain cells to absorb more, and it was time to navigate the train back to the airport.
When we arrived in Frankfurt last Wednesday morning we were exhausted after an all night flight, so we took a taxi in to the city. Since we were rejuvenated on the way out, we were able to navigate the train at a fraction of the cost. However, it is a little trickier to navigate stations, stairs, ticket machines and correct platforms; we definitely have to have our wits about us. The Germans are excellent at organizing transportation systems, a trait we don't seem to be able to pull off very well in our Puget Sound area.
This is our first time in Jordan. We arrived in Amman at 2:10 in the morning, so we were very thankful we had arranged for a transfer through Overseas Adventure Travel (herein referred to as OAT.) We loved our trip to Tanzania last year with this company, so we felt confident in traveling with OAT again. We were met at the airport and whisked through the visa process, which is free if traveling with an organized tour. I know nothing about the writing system here, so I felt a little bit like I did back in Japan in 1988. It is an experience with illiteracy. Back in 1988 I was prompted to learn another writing system; I am not sure I have it in me to do that again at this point. However, I would like to at least get an inkling of how it works.
We met a few people at breakfast this morning who are with the same company but in a different group. They are starting their journey today; our group meets tonight for the first time. We are discovering that it is difficult for us to get through the jet lag, so we are hoping that this bit of extra time will make us mentally alert for our first day of "learning and discovery" tomorrow. Last year on our Africa trip we found that our excellent guides made our trip so special with the education piece, and we are anticipating that this year's adventure will be no different. Sleep deprivation does not make for active learning, so we are hoping to be rested up for a good start tomorrow.
In the afternoon we took a walk just around the hotel. Traffic is crazy with folks driving while using their phones, so we headed up a side street and wandered into a mall. It had a food court with a McDonald's as well as other options. There are metal detectors at our hotel and also at the mall. It is hot here, in the 80s after our brush with fall in Frankfurt.
At dinner we met a few fellow travelers and our guide Hisham discussed the refugee situation a bit, but tomorrow will be our actual first day with the whole group. Jordan's population has doubled because of the wars in surrounding areas. Tomorrow we will have security with us on the bus. One day here gives a new perspective.