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Click to see detail of route in map.

The road to Madaba...


Byzantine mosaic map showing the entire region from Jordan and Palestine in the north, to Egypt in the south.
This map includes a fascinating plan of Jerusalem.

The Care taker of one of the castles, a hard job but someone has to do it!

To get a better understanding of the Palestinian refugees in Jordan, click here

To get an understanding of Jordanian timeline, click here

To get a country profile of Jordan, click here

At last we have completed the travel log and the following pages describe our return journey through Jordan, Syria and Turkey. It has taken us over a year to record this but better late than never!

Jordan

Part 2

We returned to Jordan from Israel over the Jordan River Bridge crossing, the most northern border crossing. It was getting dark when we rode into the Jordan customs. We were told at the Israeli customs that Jordan might not allow the bike into the country so we were not too sure what we were about to face. It had been a huge day and we were exhausted but the Jordan officials welcomed us with smiles on their faces, we relaxed, and our entry paperwork was processed quickly and efficiently. Apparently foreign bikers are allowed in but the Jordanians do not want the Israeli motor bike riders in their country, they are regarded as crazy trouble makers.

We do not plan to spend a lot of time in Jordan, we are really just passing through to get to the Syrian border. We were hoping to do the Kings Hwy again as it was so special but it is getting very hot in this part of the world and we must head north. Still so much to see and do.

It was with a great sense of relief that we saw the lights of a quiet little guest house in the hills not far from the border crossing. Helpful locals had guided us to the spot and we ate a home cooked meal before falling over!

Our guesthouse in the hills

In the morning we planned to go back to Madaba, we felt in need of the calming comfort and familiar faces at the Salome hotel again. We had to travel down the north west of the country reputed to be risky as most of the people, though now permanent residents in Jordan, are Palestinian refugees and displaced persons. We had heard about instances when angry children threw stones at passing foreign vehicles. Well one boy did throw a stone (that missed) but the majority where happy to greet us and smile as we passed by.

Again we turned east and headed up into the impressive baron hills towards Mount Nebo and the 'Promised Land.' We passed by Bethany, and just outside Madaba we stopped at one of the local craft shops were they still practice the creative ancient craft of mosaic work. The favourite subject is the tree of life, the original is cared for in the Madaba Museum.

The tree of life

A day of rest and a day to get a better appreciation of the this important ancient Christian centre "The City of Mosaics" dating back further than 1300 BC. It is time to move on and we head north towards Amman. Amman, the modern and ancient capital of Jordan, is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the World. Apparently the city's modern buildings blend with the remnants of ancient civilizations but the busy streets hold no attraction for us as we skirt around the outer suburbs heading east towards the Desert Castles of Jordan.
Scattered throughout the black basalt desert, east of Amman, the Desert Castles stand as a testament to the flourishing beginnings of Islamic-Arab civilization. These seemingly isolated pavilions, caravan stations, secluded baths, and hunting lodges, were at one time integrated agricultural or trading complexes, built mostly under the Umayyads (661-750 AD), when Muslim Arabs had succeeded in transforming the fringes of the desert into well-watered settlements. The Umayyad Desert Castles were initially regarded as desert retreats for Umayyad princes but it is now also believed that they were built in these isolated areas to maintain close contacts with the tribes of the region.

An interesting loop through the desert and the road takes us up north to the Nasib/Jabor border crossing (4 on the map). Our decision to cross here from Jordan into Syria on a Friday would mean huge delays.

Move north with us when we return to Syria – find out about our difficult border crossing.

Click on Next page below to continue our journey through Syria.

Click here to go to the start of our journey through Jordan.

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©Haydn and Dianne Durnell 2008