21st December - Dead Sea to Amman - distance 78km - ascent 1270m - av speed 11.2km/hr
At last we are off! After a 6 o'clock start and breakfast of pitta bread and cheese (not my idea of an ideal breakfast!), we drove south with a taxi packed full of people and bikes. The journey was spectacular as we descended over 1000m from Amman down to the Dead Sea. After a few pictures we enjoyed a swim in the very salty water (Sarah dipped her tongue in to check!). Dickie and Ro headed off in search of a vehicle to purchase (more on this soon) leaving the rest of the team to face the climb back to Amman under beautiful blue skies.
A few km after starting we turned off the highway onto a quieter road which wound up through the mountains (we ended up doing just under 2000m of climbing today). The scenery was incredible and the road relatively traffic free. We climbed steadily for about 4 hours past Mount Nebo (where Moses looked out over the promised land) to the town of Madaba up on the plateau; Nic making mincemeat of even the steepest sections of the road. Lunch consisted of fizzy drinks and swiss rolls though perhaps not enough to sate Jamie's appetite. Refuelled we headed on to Amman even enjoying a police escort through some of the trickier sections of Madaba.
We have been really impressed by the welcome of everyone we've met on route. However, we did experience the traditional 'welcome' of stone throwing at cyclists by Jordanian children - Pauline was hit on the foot but didn't suffer any injury thankfully.