Jordan

 

Jordan October 2007.

We are back in Dubai after a very interesting and lovely tour through Jordan. The whole Jordan tour was initiated by Haitham, a Jordanian working at the BMW dealership here in Dubai. Haitham coordinated with BMW Jordan and they compiled a tour program for the local Dubai BMW club members. Three weeks before our planned trip the 16 x BMW motorcycles were sent to BMW Jordan by truck.

Thursday, 11 October. We flew to Amman Jordan, Due to the Muslim Eid holidays all the flights to Amman were 100% full and some of the participants were off-loaded as most flights were overbooked.  These poor guys had to be scheduled on later flights which meant that they only got to Amman during the early hours of the next morning. We did an on-line check-in earlier in the day so were fortunate to get on the flight and arrived in Amman very exited to explore the real Middle East by bike. That evening most of us went to bed very late as we all sat chatting in a sports bar.

1
2th October 2007 -
Haitham (BMW Dubai) and Lara (BMW Jordan) has planned a full day of site
visits in and around Amman. The first observation of Amman was that the road surface appeared to be very slippery and indeed it was.  All 16 riders were very careful and praise the Lord no incidents or mishaps were reported.  Amongst the 16 bikes were 11 x 1200GS’s, 2 x 1200 Cruisers, 1 x 650GS, 1x K1200S and our F800S. Our first Amman-site visit was the local BMW showroom, Olé Jordan. Not very exiting if you were looking forward to sites like Petra and the Dead sea,but we had to show loyalty to our hosts, who arranged a lot of things for us. After the necessary welcome by the Minister of Tourism, photos and smiles we were on the road in convoy to the Amman Citadel. To this day I do not know what the Citadel was about, other than some huge Roman-looking pillars, an old, nicely restored Mosque and some ruins of something that might have been a castle. Our hosts failed to organize a tour guide who could tell us about the historical value of the sites we visited or even to give us some literature to read about these amazing historical sites. Sadly we did not read up on all the sites we were about to visit before we came to Jordan, as we were led to believe that we would have a tour guide with us throughout the journey.  We had lunch at a local hamburger joint Chilli Ways and then headed out of Amman to Jerash.  Jerash is one of the biggest ruins of a Roman city.  It has massive pillars as far as the eye can see with an amphitheatre that has one of the most complete back stage areas.  We were allowed to ride inside the archaeological site of the city area with our bikes and even inside the amphitheatre!  We declined to ride inside the amphitheatre as such an amazing part of history does not need a motorcycle parked in the middle of it.From Jerash we headed toward Ajlun Castle and went through a beautiful valley full of orchards and vineyards.  We arrived at the castle 10 minutes before it closed to the public.  Sadly, this time we had not only no guide to tell us about this giant castle on the hill-top, but we had no time to go inside and see what it looked like.  By the time we left the castle the sun was setting and we drove back to Amman in the dark, which was a challenging ride as there was lots of traffic that is not used to seeing or having motorcycles around them.  The unlit roads were also a challenge as we have become accustomed to riding on well lit roads throughout the United Arab Emirates.  The UAE has spoilt us as they have unlimited cash flow to put lights on all the roads throughout the country.  The day ended at a local up-market restaurant, Vis a Vis. We drove 180km on day one. That evening in the hotel I went back to my guide book and read up about the sites we were to visit the next day, as it is a horrible feeling visiting a site without knowing anything about it.
 
13th October 2007, last night at Vis a Vis, BIG Dave’s bike’s battery died. No one was able to fix it that evening, and it was decided to leave it until the next morning to repair or to find a replacement battery.  Not a very good move, as it turns out to be a huge challenge to look for a bike battery in a country that does not sell bikes.  At the end of the day, Dave followed the group of bikes to the Dead Sea in a taxi, now that is what I call boring!  Our first site visit was an Orthodox church in Madaba, with amazingly beautiful mosaic artwork.
After the Mdaba Church visit we went to Mt Nebo and stood on the same mountain where Moses and Aaron saw the promised land, Canaan. To me, this was the first site with significance.  It brought so much light to the biblical recordings of the time just before the Israelites moved into their promised land. We could physically see what the Israelites saw and we could see exactly what type of terrain they had to walk across.  On the mountain there is a church and a memorial stone for Moses.  The route down the mountain is a nasty road with a lot of sharp, blind hairpin bends. All the bikes stayed together down the pass and we drove into the Jordan River Valley in one convoy. On the way down we could also see modern day Jericho in the distance. Our next stop was the Baptism site of Jesus Christ. This was the only place where we had a tour guide.  We learned a lot about the site and the churches that have been established on that site after Jesus’ time. The next stop was the Dead Sea, something I was looking forward to for such a long time. The Mövenpick Resort sponsored us for the afternoon.  We parked the bikes and rushed down to the ‘beach’ area and quickly changed in the smallest changing rooms we have ever seen!  The water had an almost oily feel to it and it is the weirdest water experience I have had till now. You cannot swim in the water because of two reasons, the water has a very high salt and mineral content and when it gets into your eyes it burns like crazy, it also tastes extremely horrible and you keep popping up to the surface like a cork. It feels as if you have a full body life jacket on. The only way to experience the Dead Sea is to lay on your back and float, just an amazing feeling. The water makes your skin feels silky and soft.  Some of the biker wives used the full opportunity to get completely covered in the Dead Sea mud, quite a site to see.  We moved up to the swimming pool were we had a light snack and watched the sunset.  Again it was a night ride back to our hotel in Amman, everyone in the riding group was disappointed that we did not stay the night at the Dead Sea.

14th October 2007, started off better than the rest as we left Amman at sunrise and drove on a lovely road heading south along the Dead Sea towards Petra.  We refuelled at Kerak but decided to skip the planned visit to the Kerak Castle as we had a long road ahead of us and we wanted more time to visit Petra.  
Halfway between Kerak and Petra we lost 2 of our group and were asked to wait for them next to the road. This was a strange request as both were Jordanians and should know their way around their own country. The request to continue without them was turned down and wehad to wait a very frustrating 45 minutes. This would be 45 minutes off our time in Petra!  It dawned on me that the site we were looking forward to the most, was not that high on the rest of the group’s priority list.  Strange, as it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit one of the 7 wonders of the world.  Less time at Petra and more time waiting next to the road!!!  Eventually we were on our way to Petra and when we arrived in the town we were once again sponsored a meal by the Mövenpick.  ‘Maine, Steffen and I decided to skip the lunch; we grabbed a dry loaf of bread and a few apples and headed off down the valley into Petra. Petra was definitely one of the highlights, it was a huge disappointment that we could not spend more time there but we enjoyed every moment we had in Petra. Words cannot describe the magnificence of the place, neither can photos, it is one of those things you have to experience yourself to understand.  Something like Victoria Falls or the Great African Rift Valley, you simply cannot explain or describe it to someone.  The 3 of us (me, ‘Maine and Steffen) made maximum use of our time at Petra, and stayed as long as we could.  We were hoping the group would leave a little later from Petra than was planned, as up until then they had never left on time, always 20-40 minutes later than scheduled.  As Murphy would have it, we arrived 10 minutes late and the entourage had left without us, only 2 bikes were standing in the car park, our two. This proved to be a blessing in disguise, as the leaders did not work out the distance and time factor in travelling by bike, and once again the group had to spend an hour at a fuel station.  This time they were waiting for some of the riders who had left Petra early to go down to see Aqaba and then had to travel back up to meet the group at the fuel station near Wadi Rum.  We left Petra an hour after the group and arrived at the Wadi Rum gate an hour before the group!  By this time it was late and dark.At Wadi Rum we were greeted by Jordanian traditional dancing and music, arranged (not paid for) by our hosts, BMW Jordan.  The dinner was very nice, typical Arabic food.  The music carried on until late night, and when it finally went quite all the tired bikers were relieved.  The tents and facilities that were provided by the camp grounds was good.  The problem came when some party goers giggled and talked until way past midnight.  The quietness of the desert night made their voices sound very load, it was impossible to sleep.  This resulted in a tiring next day.
 
15th October 2007, five of us on 3 bikes, broke away from the rest of the group and drove down to the Aqaba on the Red Sea.  From Aqaba, we headed north via the Dead Sea Road.  It is a beautiful road with desert mountain scenery and all the way you have Israel on the left and Jordan on the right. At 180km from Aqaba you reach the southern part of the Dead Sea, and the area where Lots’ cave is situated.
 This is the cave where Lot and his daughters stayed after they fled from Sodom and Gomorrah.  The plains below the mountain where the cave is situated, looks extremely fertile, with green farmlands. Again, it was another significant biblical site for us to visit, and brought so much perspective to what we have been reading in the Bible.  From there we drove the same beautiful road that we had the previous day, stopped at one viewpoint to have a last good look at the Dead Sea, before we were safely back in Amman.

As we arrived at the hotel, we had to go straight to the BMW showroom to secure the bikes in their crates, ready to be shipped back to Dubai. That evening we had a nice dinner with some of our fellow BMW riders
.
16ht October 2007, we slept late and packed and then went straight to the airport to fly back to Dubai. Jordan was a special place to visit, and touring through it on a motorcycle makes it so much more special. We are thankful for the opportunity we had to visit Jordan. The Jordanians are extremely friendly, roads are great, and the countryside are stunning, what more do you need? 

 Thank you Jesus.

Back to top