“As a matter of principle, we do not let cyclists pass through here
but this time – as if for fun – we shall make an exception for you.
Keep straight ahead, don’t stop and don’t wander off the road,
there are mines everywhere. Godspeed… Don’t get shot”.
On the last checkpoint before the border between Israel and Jordan,
taxi drivers were betting whether the soldiers would let me pass or not.
The stretch of the road between the borders is negotiable if you are driving
an approved car but for cyclists and pedestrians it is a no-go zone.
I waited patiently. Two days prior I had passed through this area on my way
to Jerusalem. An Israeli soldier smiled slightly while telling me
to take special care on the road. Indeed, special care was needed.
On the short stretch of the road between the border checkpoint
and Jerusalem I had found several rusty rifle shells.
Police checkpoints during my trip were numerous, whether it was in Israel,
in Jordan or in Egypt. In spite of this or maybe because of it
I felt exceptionally safe in all three countries.
I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness of the people of Jordan,
and the Bedouins beat all records of hospitality.
Petra will remain in my memory for a long time as one of the places worth visiting again.
Once again I found myself gazing into the starry sky over the desert.
This time it was Wadi Rum, said to be one of the most beautiful deserts in the world.
One day I may return to the village called Abu Gallum on the coral reef.
After all, the Bedouins’ invitation of a cup of tea remains open.
It was nice to hear sincere words of warm greetings on the way. Words I will remember for a long time to come: “Welcome to Jordan”.