After clearing the Syrian border we entered The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Customs, are genrally not the happiest place's in the world, but on the Jordanian border all were happy chearful and very helpful, and not suprisingly passing through the border was swift and fairly painless (£60 for insurance and import certificate) having done the customs formalities in
about half an hour we relaxed and had a coffee and a toasted cheese sandwich, if only allthe borders were this easy. We rode on to Amman and headed for the centre were we found the tourist office, following a telephone call to a hotel to check the price and then to haggle it down a bit two fella's who were in the tourist office said if we would like to follow them in their car they would take us across town to our hotel !!, So we gladly accepted their offer and followed them to the hotel in Downtown Amman, this is where most of the interesting things are in Amman.

Amman is not the most interesting city in the world. It has it's historical amphetheatre and nymphanemiun ( waterfalls to the rest of us ), but as it was only a small town just 100 years ago most of it is fairly modern concrete apartments and unexciting. In 1900 the population was 2000 people and now it is a little over 1 million. The Royal family live in Amman and everyone we met expressed their love of their Royal family and great respect for the British Royal family also - many saying that Jordan and Britain were "same-same" ( an expression they also used to ask whether you are married ).

View of Downtown Amman from the Citadel.
We spent two nights here before moving on to the Dead Sea via Bethany Beyond the Jordan.  This is supposed to be the place where John the Baptisit did most of his baptising and also where he baptised Jesus. The site itself was only opened to the public in 2000 and was all new but almost empty. From the Visitors Centre you were taken by mini bus to the sights - luckily for us as we expected a 10 minute look around but noticed that it recommended at least 3 hours to do the full tour ! In several spots along the way there were checkpoints ( including in the site ) - presumably as we were within 100m of the West Bank border at times. From here you could see Jerricho. We stood on the bank of the Jordan River ( well stream at that time of year ) and looked over to the Israelie lookout towers ( around 50m away ). We did around 1/3 of the tour - it was way too hot for walking around in the bike gear. From here we headed down the Dead Sea.
The River Jordan - across is Israel.

It's the little green stream at the bottom left of the picture !

As we rode down the Dead Sea road we came to a complex of four or five hotels and the Government resthouse, these we passed by as we had been warned that they were expensive (£4 for a shower when you get out of the water at the resthouse, and you do need a shower as the water sting's after a short time) . We had been advised that about halfway down the Dead Sea there is a 'Reserve' where fresh water flows into the Dead Sea, unfortunatly this place was a building site as they appear to be building a new bridge so access to the water was not possible, so we rode on for a few kms then parked the bike's and taking six litre's of water with us we went down to the water's edge. We had only been in the water for a couple of minutes when an army patrol appeared, so we rinsed off the salt water and put our bike gear back on, and made our way up the bank to the bike's, here the army patrol insisted that it was very dangerous for us here (what they really meant was you should be at the hotel complex were they can rip you off).

Once we were back on the bike's we rode on four about ten kms where we found a shop, so we stopped to get a drink as the heat along the Dead Sea is unbeliveable and there is no shade at all, in fact the best way to decribe this place is 'DEAD', there is nothing growing here at all and the landscape has a lunar feel to it, It felt like we were riding on Mars.

The salt deposits left on the bank of the Dead Sea after evapouration of the water - note no life in the immediate surrounding area - plant or animal !
Floating in the Dead Sea.......
After the Dead Sea we stopped in Kerak for the night. In the morning we did a quick wander around the castle - yep another one. Then it was off to Petra to see the most famous part of Jordan.
Next page - Jordan -  Petra, Aqaba and Wadi Rum
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