In the morning we hiked up the red cliff mountain in the burning heat of the morning sun. We were thankful that the Kermes Oak trees provided a lot of shade.
On the 16 km long hike we walked with 2 new guides- Mahmoud, a retired air force pilot and Moat, a nurse. They explained the vegetation and told stories from the area.
Ale and Lorenz are picking tiny fruits from the Jujube tree.
The fruits had a sweet lemon taste and were delicious.
Often we saw signs of the Roman civilization. The village of Qabla was destroyed by an earthquake and has never been excavated. We walked over buried temples and houses and saw empty tombs and mysterious caves.
The Roman quarry of Qabla.
Every four hours, the voices of the Muezins from the villages around us were filling the air. We even heard their prayers in the Wadi Zubia, a valley filled with big and healthy oak trees.
At the end of our hike we visited Jesus’ Cave. In Roman times, the area above the cave was already used to press grapes for wine and olives for olive oil.
The millstone of the olive press. The wooden staff was turned by donkeys walking in a circle.
Ancient wine press. Those who made the wine stomped the grapes with their feet in this area.
Inside of the cave, where legends tell that Jesus was fasting for 40 days, the process of making olive oil was continued.
We stayed overnight in a private home with a family with four beautiful children. The whole family was extremely welcoming. The Grandmother of the children showed me how she makes bread.
We started our trek at the visitor center of Ajloun Castle whrere we also met our guide Eisa (Jesus).
Our group with Ajloun Castle in the background.
Our path was leading us through olive tree gardens and desert forests of wild pine trees, Kermes Oak trees and wild Strawberry trees. The ground covered with rocks and dry, red soil required to be attended to with each step.
A forest of dry thistles with a view to the Jordan Valley and the West Bank.
A Wild Strawberry Tree
Our first longer stop was at Mar Elyas, a now deteriorated church dedicated to the prophet Elias. He was born in the closeby village Lisbit nearly 3000 years ago.
View from the apsis of the church to the west entrance with a sophisticated water collecting system. The tree in the front is covered with wishing bands.
Mosaic of the church floor.
The Jordan police is known to be very friendly. They invited us for tea.
Mosque dedicated to Elias.
Near Orjan village we passed orchards of 2000 years old olive trees planted by the Romans. Some were even older.
Several thousands of years old olive tree.
The sweet smell of figs filled the air in the valley near Orjan. A well provided plenty of water for the fruit orchards.
We stayed overnight in the house of Eisa. His wife cooked delicious food for us.
The Abraham Path is a new long-distance hiking route following the footsteps of Abraham across the Middle East. The 400km route starts in Turkey and ends in Israel. I am very happy that I can walk the Jordan part of the trail with my son Lorenz and his wife Ale.
The trail starts in Ajloun, an ancient city one hour car drive north of Amman.
- The castle of Ajloun was built by the ruler Saladin in 1164 as a defense against the crusaders. One of the famous crusaders was Richard Lionheart who was injured when he attacked the castle.
Entrance to the castle
Fantastic cupola withstanding 2 serious earthquakes
The castle is very spacious and has 9 cisterns for water supply.
Saladin’s logo- a flower and a sword.
We are staying overnight in Eco Camp, an eco- friendly lodge and organic farm. The hospitality is incredible and the food delicious.
Tree house on the farm
These two goat babies were born today
Preparing dinner for us and for the two families living there
The red wine was produced in the farm. The meat was wrapped in bread and served in the plastic bag to keep it warm.
With my Japanese friends, I am staying for several days in Kramsach /Tirol. Kramsach is the sister city of Azumino in Japan. Both share the tradition of glass blowing. I was told that also the natural setting is similar. Tirol has spectacular hiking possibilities.
Mushrooms on a rotting tree
Path up to Roszkogel with cave. Inside stands the statue of St. Leonhard, patron saint of prisoners and farmers.
A great place for refreshments, the Cabin Bergstation. Unfortunately, the lift is closed and the owners struggle to survive.
Top of Roszkogel, almost 2000m high
Famous village of Alpbach with traditional Tyrollean houses.
On the top of Wiedersberghorn
The moss covered rock
Beside the rushing creek
On the day of the
Bacharnsdorf, Roma Road
Turkish Gate in the middle of the woods built in 1683 as a defense against the Osmanic forces.
Walking the 88 Temple pilgrimage
I do not remember when I first heard about the 88 Temple pilgrimage in Japan. For years, I harbored the thought of walking it myself as a very secret wish, secret even to myself. After a long incubation period, the dream finally becomes reality. At the end of February, beginning of March, I will start the over 800 mile long journey from temple to temple as an “ohenro”, as a pilgrim following the footsteps of Kukai, one of the most well known historic figures in Japan.