If I created a pre-travel montage of Jordan, it would have idyllic sands with camels wandering in the distance.
I’d feature The Treasury ; a mind-boggling elaborate 40-metre structure carved out of a sandstone cliff in the lost city of Petra. This iconic ancient world wonder rocketed into tourism megastar status after Indiana Jones dropped by in search of the holy grail.
Red Sea exotic fish would play in bright coral. And, for a bit of fun, I’d finish off my montage with a muddy figure floating in the dead sea.
Then I’d stand back, look at my creation and think I’d probably done Jordan justice.
But I wouldn’t be close.
After travelling for 10 days on the new Jordan Bike Trail, my work of art would still include all of the above. After all, the picture perfect sandy Wadi Rum, immortalised in the multi Oscar-winning epic Lawrence of Arabia, is a natural Unesco heritage site not to be missed. The rose city of Petra is an ancient world wonder and who doesn’t want to try and die like a fly in the dead sea?
However, my sand, sea and camels montage is now filled with (in no particular order) rolling hills, olive groves, soaring mountains, epic vistas, great rifts, rocky ridge lines, water-filled canyons, endless valleys (Wadis), unfathomable rock formations, crusader castles, biblical events, the promised land, precious biospheres, untold archaeological sites and countless good-humoured encounters laced with copious amounts of cardamon coffee.
But there’s still one thing I haven’t added to complete my montage. It’s something that revealed itself the deeper I travelled. And, for me, it’s Jordan’s star attraction.
There’s an infectious joy in Jordan that radiates from the people everywhere you go. In towns, cool trendy girls in colourful hijabs and aviator sunglasses shout “welcome”. On the trail, farmers offer tea or coffee. You’ll be invited into Bedouin tents to feast on Mansaf (a traditional dish of lamb and rice) Villagers offer homestays on another level (one had an ensuite) and tribe elders will host you at wild camps in the Wadis.
Experience Jordan have worked with communities along the 725-kilometre trail, helping families set up homestays and rest stops to support those who want to explore the whole country.
Locals will go to great lengths to make you feel at home. Some say that’s part of everyday Arabic hospitality. But this country, has a generosity like no other.
Jordan has a very long history of helping its neighbours and tops a list of just 10 countries (out of 163) that host more than half of the world’s refugees. This figure represents roughly a third of Jordan’s population.
Despite events in neighbouring countries, this small Arab kingdom, which protects the freedom of all religions, has remained peaceful and stable.
Perhaps it’s this mix of history, culture, an unwavering push for peace in a challenging region, and embracing all those who need a home which gives Jordan its special spirit – a spirt you’ll discover when you travel through the heart of this remarkable land.
Enjoy this short 3 minute film “The Joy of The Jordan Bike Trail” and more good-to-know info about Jordan below.
About The Jordan Bike Trail
The Jordan Bike Trail is a new long distance 725 kilometre route from the rolling hills of Um Qais in the north to the coral seas of Aqaba in the south.
The mixed route – roughly 60% off-road double track and 40% tarmac – is physically challenging but not too technical. It’s been designed to take in the best the country has to offer – known and unknown.
The trail can be taken on independently or tackled in sections. You can join a small group adventure or create a trip with any level of support you need. More info at: jordanbiketrail.com
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan is south of Iraq and Syria, north of Saudi Arabia and east of Israel and Palestine. It sits at the crossroads of ancient trade routes between Asia, Africa and Europe. Some of the oldest civilisations have left their mark on this diverse landscape.
It is a constitutional monarchy often described as an oasis of clam in a troubled region. King Abdullah is popular both in Jordan and internationally for his democratic reforms. Crime is low compared with many cities in Europe and the United States.