9. Travel report: Jordan 16.11. - 03.12.2007
Entering Jordan from Syria is easy and the visa is issued right at the forder for 10 JD (7US). Jordan ist not a cheap country to travel, and we found the hospitality of Turkey and Syria unreached. As soon as you come across the border, you notice that it is cleaner, more organized, the houses are nicer.
The visit of the ruins at Jerash, a good example of a Roman provincial city which had a population of about 20'000 inhabitants 2000 years ago, excited us. Beeing able to be the only visitors to explore early in the morning the colonnaded street, get impressed by the theatre or the huge size Oval Plaza, was fantastic. This experience was made possible by the police who let us (as en exception) camp at the site.
The modern capital city of Amman is spread across over 20 hills, and is a painful experience for cyclists. It's - as most of Jordan - physically demanding. Cycling on to Madaba, famous for the Byzantine-era mosaics, we fight against a hard headwind, whirling around sand and plastic. The same day Jordan people elected parliament; a lot of horning cars and shouting of paroles. And we experience for the first time how it feels, when kids throw stones to cyclists. This seems to be a hobby for boys along the Kings Highway. Cycling down to the Dead Sea offerd stunning views. To float in a sea with a 30% salt content was an especial experience, because we found ourselfs too high in the water to actually swim.
Along the Dead Sea Highway we enjoyed to look at encrustations of salt at the shore. One night we pitched up the tent, a little away of the street as we usually do, just wanting to start cooking our dinner, as a pickup pulls up with a maachine gun fixed on the top of it. Without thinking, we had put up our tent too close to the Israelian border, so the army officer tells us politely to pack our things. Next day the going uphill, from the lowest point on earth, 410m below sea level to 1300m, was a hard task and we realized more altitude meters than in the alps when starting our trip (1807m in 47km).
The visit of Petra, the rose red ancient city of the Nabateans (Arabs who dominated the region in pre-Roman times) is the Highlight of Jordan. For 3 days we explored the narrow steep canyons with fantastic rockformations and extraordinary range of colours, climed rocks, hiked across mountains, admired tombs, facades, stairs and the Theatre chiselled out of the sandstone.
Pedalling further to the famous Wadi Rum with extraordinary desert scenery. There we slept in a tent with a Bedouin family (next to camels, goats, chickens, cats) playing ball with the 3 children and undertake a one day jeeptour into the desert, together with Tyson, a nice cyclist from the USA. The rockformations, sanddunes, natural bridges are great, but all is very touristique.
The easiest bikeride in Jordan, 90 km from Wadi Rum down to Aqaba at the Red Sea, was great doing together with Tyson.
From Aqaba we take the Ferry to Nuweiba in Egypt, an 1.5 hrs. ride. Now relaxing in Dahab at the Red Sea, a famous place for snorkelling and diving, and waiting for Andreas - Pius nephew - to arrive. He will cycle through Egypt with us, so we really look foreward to his visit.