A post I meant to put on sometime ago, to be precise in the spring but time flies by. Overtime I go to Jordan to do some tree surgery people always say “but there aren’t and trees in the desert” oh yes there are but more importantly the capital of Jordan, Amman is in the mountains so to speak. At an altitude of approximately 1000m it can get very cold in the winter and very wet with snow recorded quite often. Of corse there are trees , there are loads of them.
So many species from all over the world but mostly we were working on the Aleppo pines, Casuarina, cypresses, eucalyptus and a whole load more I can’t remember their names. The Aleppo pines are the most numerous and were particularly large but were also in a pretty rough state. Apparently the previous winter they had some heavy snow fall that broke many of the branches. A safe tree to climb whereas the Casuarina were not. Full of ruthless with trunks ready to fall apart, I’m not a fan of these trees.
So after a hard weeks work it was time for a day off, having been to all the normal tourist sites over the last 25 years it was time to visit one of the National Parks. Rather fancied going to Ajloun forest which is a real rarity considering that Jordan only has about 1% of natural forest left. First we drove through the countryside where other trees abounded, mostly olive trees but the Aleppo pines were quite numerous. There’s no trees in Jordan my foot!!!!!!
Here is a bit from Wiki about Ajloun forest.
‘The climate in the reserve is rare in Jordan as wooded areas account for only 1% of Jordan’s area. The geography of the reserve contains mostly rolling hills and valleys as well as some springs. The reserve enjoys a Mediterranean-like climate but has been affected by desertification and deforestation for the past 200 years. The reserve is home to a wide variety of plants and animals. The following animals can be found at the reserve:
- Evergreen oak, (Quercus calliprinos)
- Carob, (Ceratonia siliqua)
- Wild pistachio, (Pistacia palaestina)
- Strawberry tree, (Arbutus andrachne)
- Black iris, (Iris nigricans), the national flower of Jordan
- Wild boar (Sus scrofa)
- Stone marten (Martes foina)
- Golden jackal (Canis aureus)
- Red fox (Vulpes vulpes)
- Striped hyena (Hyaena hyaena)
- Persian squirrel (Sciurus anomalus)
- Indian crested porcupine (Hystrix indica)
- Wolf (Canis lupus)
- Roe deer (Capreolus capreolus)’
We eventually arrived at the entrance and walked into the forest, rather shorter than expected and Justin Anderson would have been at home here. All the trees never attained a greater height than about 10m but they were spectacular especially the Strawberry tree which was a different species than the one I’ve seen back home. Really beautiful red vibrant bark. Never saw any wild animals but because we were there in the spring the forest was full of flowers, some I had never seen before, an absolute delight to walk through such a rare forest. Some photos of the forest and the wild flowers are in the gallery below.
In the evenings we would visit the night life in Amman and as usual there was plenty of graffiti to look at, some of it was quite stunning and rather good. I’d find it in the most unusual places but Rainbow street had the most especial down the side streets.
Just before we left to come home it’s always nice to stock up on some of the unusual spices found in downtown Amman, the smells, variety and colours were a feast for the nose and eyes.
Other reason to go downtown is to get some Amman Street Food, the best I know is at the 2nd circle where you’ll find the Reem Beef and Lamb Shawarma shop. Boy can they make shawarma quick!!! I get two or three at a time and the place always has a queue outside it.
And while I am writing about the food I am always amazed at the hospitality of the Jordanians even when they don’t have much themselves they will always lay on a feast at their homes although we do reciprocate with a few evenings out at some of the more traditional restaurants and Jordan is not a dry country either as many think.