Now our Cycle Jordan tour is up and running, we've put together this collection of photos, videos and comments to give you an idea of what the experience is like. On this page you'll find:
Tour Leader blog and video
As the saying goes, 'a picture paints a thousand words' and Explore customers Anna Perjema and Andrew Tremlett have been kind enough to share some of their photographs from Cycling in Jordan with us.
Anna sent us the photo at the top of the page, alongside the beautiful shots below:
Andrew sent us some great shots of the scenery you'll see along the route.
"This was my 7th Explore biking trip and it definitely rates as one of the best in terms of the overall experience. The tour itinerary was well-planned, the cycling was superb (and very safe), and there was a very good mix of off-road and on-road biking. Mohammad was a delightful Tour Leader - knowledgeable, helpful, always obliging, friendly and humorous. His walking tour around Petra was a highlight and definitely something I feel privileged to have undertaken. A well organised, well thought out trip. Very pleased I have done this one and leave with lots of great memories." Michael Rainsborough, Cycling Jordan, April 2014
In the words and video of a Tour Leader
Ania Grebosz led the first departure of Cycle Jordan and she shares her experiences here. Check out the video put together from shots she took - you'll feel like you're cycling in Jordan yourself - then read on to find out about the Tour Leader's tour highlights - are they what a customer's would be?
"At the start of my adventure tour leading career, I made myself a promise not to keep going back to the same place, but to visit as many countries as possible. Now, five years down the line and having lived and worked in six continents, I am still very selective about which country I would go back to. Jordan is one of them.
I had worked there a couple of years ago and still remember the bustling market in Amman: the strong smell of sweet mint tea, the feel of hot sand on my feet at the Wadi Rum desert and the taste of my favourite Arabic dish, baba ganoush. When I found out I would be leading a new cycling trip in Jordan, I was excited about going back to this small country with such a rich and unique culture. This time exploring it by bike…
Upon landing in Amman airport I braced myself for nine days of hard work leading a brand new trip, sorting out the logistics, liaising with the local crew and ensuring it all lives up to the group’s expectations - the usual Tour Leader’s duties done behind the scenes. Within 24 hours, I found myself descending Mount Nebo looking ahead at the group gently winding down a series of hairpin bends into the valley below with a stunning panorama of the Dead Sea in the distance. One word came to my mind - tranquillity. No wonder Moses called this place the Promised Land! We ended our scenic ride with a splash in the Dead Sea, whose salty waters reminded us of every little cut on our skin. We didn’t mind, though, as the famous mineral-rich mud we covered ourselves with supposedly made us all look ten years younger!
We spent the next two days in Petra, where my intrepid group trekked with me to the top of the ridge and down the Valley of the Butterflies – an “off the beaten track” trail that provides spectacular views over the ancient city carved directly into the bright-red rock face by the Nabataeans. What I always find astonishing about Petra is how well-preserved the monuments are. The details of the columns, the doors, the statues – it all looks like it was constructed yesterday. It’s hard to believe it was cut into the cliff 2000 years ago!
The highlight of the tour was, without a doubt, the overnight in the desert. We cycled 52km to arrive at our camp in Wadi Rum - set in a wonderful location from where, sipping on a sage tea, we witnessed the magical moment of sun setting over the bare open flatness. We watched how the sun’s rays played with the colours of the landscape, changing the dunes and surreal sandstone formations from bright yellow to every shade of pink and orange, setting the sky on fire and eventually making the world around us so deeply dark that we couldn’t even see a hand in front of us. This was the moment that I started to smell the spicy aromas of Arabic food and I found myself walking towards the cooking area, but it was empty! Only then I realised that the smell was wafting from the sand. Ibraham, our cook, was preparing us a truly authentic Bedouin dinner cooked in the underground pit. After indulging on this unique tasting feast, we gathered around the fire and, as the clouds slowly disappeared, we watched the sky turning into a sequin blanket of starts, unfolding the Milky Way. A view that needs to be seen to be believed.
We cycled 202km in total, ending in the seaside town of Aqaba. We packed our bikes and helmets away and spent the last day enjoying the sun and warm water of the Red Sea. Taking advantage of the cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city, we had fresh fish for dinner and (finally) my favourite baba ganoush in the local restaurant, while the sight of camels casually strolling by reminded us of where we were.
That evening we ended up celebrating our biking challenge on a fancy roof-top bar, watching the busy port of Aqaba and listening to the hypnotising call to prayer from the Al-Sharif Al- Husain Bin Ali Mosque. Looking at the lights of the Israeli city, Eilat on the other side of the gulf, I reflected back on the last week, full of so many different experiences, and what I remembered most was the split-second flashbacks of my group cycling in a single line in various environments - the lush vegetation near Mt. Nebo, the seaside road, the small villages, the dramatic rock formations in Petra and Wadi Rum. Gazing at the ferries leaving the port for Egypt and honking their horns, I found myself smiling and suddenly felt very lucky to have the best job in the world."
To experience this all of for yourself, join our Cycle Jordan tour.
By James Adkin