Nobody likes to fly on a bicycle trip, we certainly don’t. The process is stressful, finding boxes and Chinese carry bags to gather our load in 4 manageable check-in pieces is only the beginning of it. After the bikes are broken down—pedals removed, handle bars rotated 90 degrees, tires deflated—and fitted in the boxes, there is finding a taxi big enough to carry our massive “suitcases” and travelling to the airport before daybreak. And after paying a salty bill for excess baggage, there are no guarantees our vehicles will be intact upon arrival. But to reach the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan there was never the option of pedalling here for us. Riding overland from Turkey through Syria or Irak has not been a wise idea for a few years and on the Iran-Dubai-Oman route we first planned, we would have flown over Saudi Arabia—where it’s illegal for women to ride bikes—to get here.

  • Fresh falafel for lunch! Amman Governorate, Jordan.
  • Pausing in the 2nd century Roman theatre. Amman Governorate, Jordan.
  • Posing in the 2nd century Roman theatre with King Abdullah II and Crown Prince Hussein. Amman Governorate, Jordan.
  • Decorated sand bottles. Amman Governorate, Jordan.
  • Pickles, olives and cheese at the market. Amman Governorate, Jordan.
  • Fashion boutiques downtown. Amman Governorate, Jordan.
  • The Raghadan Flagpole (126.8m). Amman Governorate , Jordan.
  • 2nd-century Roman Temple of Hercules. Amman Governorate , Jordan.

Amman Slideshow

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Jordan is the most stable and liberal country in the Middle East and has been a land of asylum for refugees fleeing violent conflicts in the region. Apparently the country’s population has doubled in the past few years, a heavy burden on a small economy, but hospitality here is inexhaustible, something we were about to find out as we rode out of Amman’s Queen-Alia International Airport…and entered a most glowing Araba spring here!

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We exit the capital city on Highway #40 towards Azraq, an oasis city in the Eastern Desert. Amman Governorate. Jordan.
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Qsar Kharana, one of Jordan’s desert castles. It was built in the early 8th-century by the Umayyad Dynasty, but nobody knows exactly what it was used for. This jewel marks our 10th thousand kilometre! Amman Governorate, Jordan.
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Highway #40 is the trail from parts of Saudi Arabia to Amman and we are very popular with travelling Saudis. Many times a day luxury cars stop on the road shoulder, its occupants anxious to get a photo of us. Janick is especially on demand. Married women wearing hiqab, showing just their eyes, press their husbands to stop for impromptu photo sessions! On a windy day a father indulges his teenagers before offering us 6 packaged apple turnovers and a bottle of Purell! Amman Governorate, Jordan.
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We can see tents and camels belonging to the local Bedouins but they are far away from the road, like a mirage in the heat distortion. Zarqa Governorate, Jordan.
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A hundred kilometres from Amman we come to Al-Azraq. The oasis boasts fresh water and wetlands in the middle of the desert. The water comes underground from the Wadi Rajil River in Syria. This miracle is on the brink of a disaster as the river is now damned and over usage of the resource—Amman is pumping a huge chunk of it—have helped water levels to steadily dropped. The Azraq Wetland Reserve is fighting to restore the oasis, some migratory birds are returning. Physical water scarcity should be a hot topic for the next months. Zarqa Governorate, Jordan.
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Bedouin tents line the main road in Al-Azraq. We stop to talk with Sami (on the cover page of this post) and he insists his young sister go fetch some water for us. She comes back with a stainless steel bowl of fresh water, we each take a couple sips and Sammy sends us on our way. The desert ways! Zarqa Governorate, Jordan.
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Qsar Azraq was built by the Romans and maintained by a series of powers over the centuries. The black basalt fortress was T.E. Lawrence aka Lawrence of Arabia headquarters in the desert during the Great Arab Revolt against the Ottoman Empire in 1917. Zarqa Governorate, Jordan.
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After riding for two days in a fierce headwind towards Al-Azraq in the East we are looking forward to stir a westward course on Highway #30 to Zarqa and Jerash. But while we visited the oasis, the wind has turned, a complete 180 degrees! Squinting painfully in the flying sand, we do not require a lot of convincing to haul our bikes at the back of Mohamed’s truck coming back empty after delivering vegetables to Kuwait. Sitting comfortably in the cabin, with an orange pop in hand, we hear about Mohamed’s father leaving Palestine after the Six-Day War in 1967 and his coming to Jordan. Leaving the desert behind, the narrow busy road passes in front of the Azrak Refugee Camp. On the site of a former transit camp for displaced Iraqis and Kuwaitis during the first Gulf War, one of the world’s largest UNHCR camp opened in April 2014 to accommodate Syrian refugees. Jordan terre d’asile then and now. As we are reassembling our bikes some 25 kilometres east of Jerash, satisfied with the turn of events, we realise Pierre has left his Giro Atmos helmet in the cabin of the truck. Grrr! Zarqa Governorate, Jordan.
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Jerash is built around and over the Greco-Roman city of Gerasa. It was included with Philadelphia—modern day Amman—in the Roman province of Arabia. Its well-preserved ruins are Jordan’s second most visited archaeological site after Petra. Jerash Governorate, Jordan.
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Peaceful night spent with olive and almond trees before reaching Ajloun. Jerash Governorate, Jordan.
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At the main intersection in the city of Ajloun. With a view on the mosque and a cardamom scented coffee in hand we have a reprieve from the traffic but not the deafening honking! Ajloun Governorate, Jordan.
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In the Ajloun Forest Reserve, the road from Rasoun village to Rasoun Camp is ridiculously steep (some of it at 18% and 20%) and leads to the top of a mountain where Sheik Zuher and his sons operate a basic campground with a lot of heart! The steep climb was just a hors d’oeuvre as we have since climbed longer and steeper inclines and are getting ready to do it again! Ajloun Governorate, Jordan.
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Sheik Zuher’s son Emran invites us to leave the bikes behind, put on our hiking boots and follow him through lush meadows covered with flowers. By July all the green will have melted under the sun’s anvil here. Rasoun, Ajloun Governorate, Jordan.
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At the entrance of Rasoun village are the Roman olive gardens. Trees were planted 2,000 years ago and produce the best quality fruit from which is extracted precious oil. Ajloun Governorate, Jordan.
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We continue walking up to ancient caves, dolmens and wine press littering the hills. People have chosen to settle in this part of the Fertile Crescent thousands of years ago. Rasoun, Ajloun Governorate, Jordan.
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Omar invites us for lunch at his house. We mention having just eaten a falafel sandwich at a snack bar—where a customer insisted to pay for our meal—but after coffee is served a full tray of food arrives in the living room! That was a two-lunch day! Kofr Rakib, Irbid Governorate, Jordan.
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Check your brakes! Heading towards the Jordan River below sea level with a view on the West Banks in Palestine. Kofr Rakib, Irbid Governorate, Jordan.
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The Jordan River valley is busy with people working in green houses, growing fruits and vegetables. Highway #65 makes our heads spin. Honking and shouting is relentless. “Welcome to Jordan!” “How are you?” “Come, sit down and have a coffee!”, is an invitation we seldom refuse! Balqa Governorate, Jordan.
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Make those carrots and radishes appetizing! Eight times out of ten, when we buy fruits and vegetables on the side of the road, our dinars are pushed back into our pockets. “You are our guests”, we are told. Balqa Governorate, Jordan.
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As French Canadian kids growing up in the 60s and 70s Pierre and I had compulsory religious teachings throughout our schooling and we find ourselves now pedalling through Bible study. We have just camped close to the Jordan River, at the site where John The Baptist baptized Jesus and are on our way to Mt. Nebo (817m) from where Moses saw the Promised Land. Balqa Governorate, Jordan.
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While fixing a flat tire at the entrance of the Baptism Site we are informed by Australian tourists that it is Easter week-end. Really? Amazing! On Sunday, in Madaba, we expect an Easter church service at the Greek Orthodox Basilica of Saint George but the Orthodox Church is celebrating Palms Sunday, Easter is next week-end. A small time-difference between denominations! Madaba Governorate, Jordan.
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After a brief stopover in Mukawir—where the fortress of Machaerus stood on a flat-top mountain, home of Herod Antipas, and stage to Salome bewitching dance and John The Baptist imprisonment and beheading. More Bible study!—we are burning our break pads—and our cool—on the way back down to the Jordan River Valley. This time we are going to its lowest point, actually to the lowest place on Earth: the Dead Sea! Madaba Governorate, Jordan.
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Therapeutic holiday on the beach of the Dead Sea Spa and Hotel (DSSH). The Dead Sea is a salt lake, a very salty lake. At 34% salt, it is almost 10 times saltier than the sea, which makes it easy to float in, some kind of Epsomian levitation! The mineral-saturated Dead Sea mud and the higher atmospheric pressure found at -429m have health benefits attracting people come from all over the world. More than 10,000 kilometres into this trip, we gladly absorb the natural electrolytes and increased oxygen! Madaba Governorate, Jordan.



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Coast to coast! (Aqaba, Jordan - KM 10,870)
Holiday in Cyprus! (Larnaca, Cyprus - KM 9,930)


  1. Ghazi al zaidan

    This is me the Canadian guy from Toronto who met you one hour ago in the Dead Sea area
    Iam writing to you to say injoy your trip and to wish the best for you

  2. Another great post, and bittersweet reminder of the wonderful Islamic fellowship and generosity we experienced in Turkey, Morocco and India. Even the truck ride sounded familiar – we barely had to stick our thumbs out on the Black Sea highway before a huge 18-wheeler screeched to a halt to shuttle us back down the road to our bikes.

    Did Pierre get his helmet back? I think he may have a love/hate relationship with helmets. At least when you left your passports behind in California you got them back!

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