Where and When: Amman, Jordan – 31st January 2023
0300: The alarm goes off. A very, very early start for me. As I had an early flight from Heathrow Terminal 2, I stayed in the Heathrow Hilton Garden Inn the night before.
Hilton Garden Inn is located at Terminal 2 of Heathrow Airport (on the other side of the short stay car park to be exact) and is a good option if you have an early flight. The hotel is clean and comfortable and the staff are efficient and polite. There is a small cafe to buy snacks and essentials and even a mini-business centre to check Internet and print your documents. Terminal 2 is only a two-minute walk away.
0345: At Heathrow. I am all checked-in and ready to sail through security, except that, security isn’t open!
Tip: The earliest flight from Heathrow leaves at 0600. The airport website says to get there 3 hours early. This is probably sensible if you need to check-in luggage. But if you only have carry-on luggage, then there is not much point getting here before 0415 as security isn’t open. The fast-track lane isn’t open till 0530.
0420: Security is open and I’m through pretty quickly. On the other side, the Dalek invasion has begun at Heathrow 😃
0600: After on-time boarding we are away. Below me, London is starting to stir. As the city is just starting to wakeup, I am off on my next adventure!
1100: After a short stopover in Vienna, I am on my onward flight to Amman. The flight time from Vienna is 3 hrs 15 mins which is much shorter than expected.
1615: Landed at Queen Alia International Airport at Amman 20 minutes ahead of schedule. I am lucky enough to be one of the first out of the plane, so when I get to immigration there is no queue.
Prior to immigration, you have to go to a visa counter which charges you 40 Jordania Dinars (JD) for a visa. No questions, just 40 JD. You can pay by card, but it is much quicker if you have cash.
Immigration next. The officer asks me a couple of questions about the trip and that is it.
1635: As I had no luggage to collect, it is a brief sail through customs. Intrepid has arranged a transfer to the hotel so I was soon on my way to the city.
50 minute journey to the hotel and I have my first taste of Jordan. It is quite rainy and foggy. Apparently it is the first rains in about a month.
1730: Arrived at Toledo hotel on Al-Razi Street. The hotel is built to the side of a mountain. So on arrival, what appears to be the ground floor is actually the top floor.
1800: Time to meet my other travellers on the group tour. There are seven in total, six women and one man. Five out of the seven are solo travellers. Our guide gives us an overview of the tour and a few Dos and don’ts. Do haggle, Don’t drink the tap water, Do wear layers and so on…
1900: Dinner at the Ghaith restaurant with the group, a few minute walk from the hotel. I go for the Chicken Mansaf. This staple Jordanian dish is meaty, spicy, and sour all at the same time. Tender chicken meat, fluffy rice, crunchy nuts and silky sauce are the perfect combination after a very long day.
2100: It has been a long day, and it is an early start tomorrow, so I turn in for the night.