We started the day at an altitude of 1068m in Petra, climbed to a castle at 1359m, descended to -400m at the Dead Sea and finished at an altitude of 858m in Amman. This was a difficult day for navigators. In Libya and most of Egypt we have been escorted by guides, policemen and security men. We had to keep an eye on where we were but the work was largely done for us.
While we were leaving Petra with the other Aston behind us, there was one navigational instruction that was a little difficult to interpret. We did a series of lefts and rights but missed the last one. Thinking that there was nothing more for me to do for a while I started to read the guide book out loud about the castle we were about to visit. After a while I glanced up at the compass on the GPS and noticed that we were travelling south and not north. Fairly fundamental! It did not take long to recover.
We stopped at Shawbak castle on a hilltop. It was worth it. There are streets to walk down and churches to visit. One could feel the community living there and the views were stunning.
Stuart finds brilliant roads that are just not on the map. After the castle we found that we were on a minor road parallel to the main one. The reason became evident when we realised that we were travelling along a ridge with views back to Shawbak – see photos.
There was some confusion with diversions due to roadworks in a town along the way. We did manage to find our way back to the route. A short while later we saw two other rally cars travelling in the opposite direction. A radio call came out: “Are we going in the wrong direction, Charlotte?” We were able to confirm and were glad of the radio connection.
The descent to the Dead Sea was long and relentless. There are pockets of agriculture and habitation but much of the countryside was arid and there were just the tents of the nomads. The drive along the bank of the Dead Sea was on a beautiful road and was most enjoyable. We could see across to the West Bank and we passed various references to Moses on our way. There was an arranged stop at one of the hotels on the Dead Sea and we did the obligatory float. Quite an experience. It is difficult to get your feet to go back down to the bottom!
There was a long climb to Amman but, with the heating on and the outside temperature at 34 degrees centigrade, the Aston made it. There were more navigational challenges due to road works, solved by Robin following the locals, and due to a mis-interpretation of a junction, solved by a bit of old fashioned map reading.
We ate in a Lebanese restaurant with four friends including Vivienne who is half Lebanese so we were able to leave ordering to her. The result was delicious.