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Palmyra to Jerash

Flag Jordan Flag Syria Jerash Oval Forum, Jordan

Saturday, December 12 2009

5 years, 4 months, 20 days

Jerash, Jordan

About Travel Photography,
Colors of the World.

Manfred is creator of, travel photography, a travel blog and a photography blog (a journey from 2004 to 2013). 'I set out to see the colors of the world, always I try to capture the colors'.

Seeing, is understanding, so I report and photograph, but formost enjoy and live those different conceptions of life (all that TV [and the web] cannot give). I reject jealousy, animosity, bigotry. Be free!

Manfred in the desert of the Western Sahara

The mind, when pondering at night and always asked those questions. What am I doing in corporate wonderland of bank, university, office or church? Who is the other animal asleep deep inside, the thinker, punk, creative, or Indian, vagabond and healer, maybe artist, writer, photographer, traveler, globetrotter? Oh God, dare you to think. When I saw the lies, gambles and manipulations I follow the old dream and set out for the journey of life lived, the journey to see the colors of the world.

During years on the road I have taken the turns as they came along, and realized one thing: Only such a small part of the planet can be explored and such a vast land and sea mass will always remain unknown, to me; many swamps, jungles, deserts and oceans will never be traveled. But then I am father of twin boys, Daniel and David, my most important, and I show them some of the wonders and colors out there.

ThisFabTrek, Photography and Journey, the Stories from the Road and Life around the World, stopped in August 2013 after more than 9 years, Love and Peace.

Last vehicle.

G20, Chevy Gladiator.

Chevrolet Gladiator G20, The boys in Cordillera Blanca, Peru.
The boys and Chevy van, Peru.

The G20, the vehicle that came to me for the Americas adventures.

6 wheeled Land Rover.

Land Rover Defender 6x6
Link to Foley

The vehicle of the Africa adventures, a Foley 6-Wheeled Land Rover Defender.

Before, the MB307.

Manfred and MB307
Journey, Middle East.

The vehicle of the Middle-East and North-Cape Journeys. See all vehicles.

Daniel and David with nanny Aisha, the best we ever had, black African Woman carrying white twin babies, in Bamako, Mali.

current MB307 16,016km

Trekking 453km

Ferry 1,668km

Train 4,138km

Land Rover 73,588km

Other cars 86,018km

Travel Blog

contains Festival/Fiesta/Art photography.

"There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come." - Victor Hugo.

"What matters in life is not what happens to you but what you remember and how you remember it, to tell the tale." Living to Tell the Tale - Gabriel García Márquez.

"They never taught wandering in any school I attended. ... they never taught the art of writing a book, either. It's all so mysterious."
"Wandering is an art in itself. Wandering and writing don't mix"
"Writing demands commitment and if one thing your wanderer is allergic to is that very quality of commitment, for once one is committed he runs that very risk of failure ..." Wanderer - Sterling Hayden.

"Photography enables you to grasp a place first time round. ... Photography is a means of exploration, it's a vital part of travel, almost as essential as a car or a plane. " - Wim Wenders.

"The worst prejudice we acquire during our youth is the idea that life is serious. Children have the right instincts: they know that life is not serious, and treat it as a game..." , Egon Friedell.

"How far you gonna go. Before you lose your way back home" - Tryin' To Throw Your Arms Around The World, Achtung Baby, U2.

"If you want to be a hero well just follow me." - Working Class Hero, John Lennon.

"When I think of all the things I have done, I know that it's only just begun." - I love you, Lou Reed.

"One does not escape the Sahara - the Sahara let's you go or not" - Touareg.

"Planet earth is blue and there`s nothing I can do" - This is Ground Control to Major Tom, David Bowie.

"Glory for the crazy people/in this stupid world" - Ahmed Fouad Negm. > journey > asia > jordan > 20091212-jerash

Back from Morocco in Damascus.

Map, Syria/Jordan.

Download GPS (KML) track/waypoints.


In Damascus (wiki), one road leads onto the mountain to the north, a majestic, barren, rocky one; the road has a great many bars looking down on the white city. On a hot summer evening 22 years ago, colleagues from the petrol business and I had beers and peanuts and cashews in one of them, I remember this, such a beautiful sweaty drinking evening, such a painful sweaty night on the toilet that followed for me; I had been suffering from diarrhea for days and since that evening I know never eat nuts when you suffer from diarrhea. I was 22 years old then.

But now is cold, still this afternoon the view is great, the sun lays its rays on the city. A few days in Damascus, not enough, not so much time, not now. I laid an eye on the Umayyad Mosque and the souk just before my Morocco trip. That's it.

Souk Damascus.
Souk Damascus.
Umayyad Mosque, courtyard, Damascus. Boy running.
Cold feet, on winter marble.
Damascus, Umayyad Mosque, minaret.

On the 9th of Dec we leave a pretty rainy Damascus, our last stretch together to Amman, the supposedly last journey together. Christina and I go separate paths. The drive is interesting; It is good to be moving again. Qanawat (wiki) first stop, it rains. Roman ruins, columns and cisterns, a formerly wealthy place, a decapolis city. I will see many.

Qanawat, decapolis, Syria.
Qanawat, decapolis.
Cisterns, Qanawat.

Onwards through the rain, we pass Swaydaa (wiki) or Sweida or As-Suwayda (spelt nearly like my own name Schweda), a Druze town of great friendliness and prosperity. Druze (wiki) is a difficult concept in social, religious or ethnical terms; they’re mostly Shia Muslims, esoteric, secretive in their religious practice. But also the 1 Million Druze people that live in the Levant are not all exactly the same. In Sweida none of the women wear head scarves, all western clothes.

It rains but we realize the Roman ruins around here too, so plenty, people live inside them, with them. The stones have served as homes for 2 millenia, impressive. In a dirty run down food stall we find the probably best Falafel so-far. Warm freshly baked Falafel in thin Lebanese bread, fresh salads, pickled cucumber and turnip, yogurt, tahini and soy vinegar sauce, assorted spices. Delicious. There would be things to see. I cannot be bothered, the rain...

Soon after there is Bosra (wiki), we park up at the Roman theater (citadel/coliseum). Night falls, an early quiet night, to the drums of the rain.

Morning is better, again the site is huge; many of the Roman and Nabatean houses are still in use and lived in. The place is very quiet, the grey weather adds to the sadness. What goes through my head when I think of a 2000 year continuous residency ship is that the people here in this fogotton corner of Syria might have actually lived better then, two millenia ago. So hungry after the 2 hour walk; a falafel treat imposes itself. Why must we find the worst falafel so-far in Bosra, in a dirty run down shop? Old thick bread, too much bread, no freshness, no beauty, so dry you can hardly swallow it.

Bosra, Syria, Roman ruins, Muslim woman on decumanus.
Bosra Syria, Roman decumanus.
Bosra, Roman bath. Syria.
Bosra, Syria, Roman ruins.
Roman Theater, Citadel, Bosra, Syria.

Quick border, a cheap Jamson's from duty free and we enter Amman. Modern, civilized. This city which I have visited twice so-far has been changing at such a rapid pace. Is Friday, is cold, the Lebanese fast food cafe has free wifi, is unheated, doors wide open to invite early morning clientele, the Koran is sung on TV; is Friday, is beautiful.

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Enter Jordan.

My road, desert mounts west of Amman.
My road.
Mountains, Jordan desert.
Desrt mounts.
Desert mountains, Amman.
West of Amman.

Valley, firtile desert. Jordan, east of Amman, Qasr Iraq El-Amir.
Qasr Iraq El Amir.

But I leave Amman the same day, alone. First go west over these desert mountains, with green stripes of fertile valleys in between the biblical mounts. Just west of Amman only olives, in some areas, also figs and pomegranates go well on the stony earth. Veggies however appear everywhere on the sides of the roads, onions, radishes, salads; from the villages in the valleys and the little streams that irrigate.

Reservoir lake, Jordan. desert mountains.
Kafrein Dam reservoir.

Only once down in the depression of the Jordan River valley at 200m to 400m below sea level extensive cultivation takes place. Reservoir lakes tell of active water management. The further north I go the greener the surrounding gets; Also a lot of rain happens to fall at this time of the year. I am right in the season.

Jordan Valley, plastic house cultivations.
Jordan Valley, East Bank.

So down west from Amman over the desert, still so sunny, plunge down into the depression, a bit north the Jordan valley back up mountain east to 1100m above sea level, some delicious honey is offered at the side of the road; mountain honey for my emerging cold, caught on plane back from Morocco. Take a plane ride and catch a cold, always.

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Jerash. Oval Forum.
Jerash, decumanus.

Jerash/Jarash (wiki) is my destination, it is Hellenistic, Roman, Byzantine (mosaics on churches’ floors), and Umayyad. But the jewel is the ancient Roman city, is what I am after. I am lucky to have the site virtually for myself until noon and the imagination can strive. Also the weather sends a few rays down on me and the ruins, projecting the columns’ shadows onto the millennia old pavement. These stoned streets still bear the marks of the Roman horse carts that once rolled through it. Jerash is another city of the prosperous decapolis, 10 cities out here that were autonomous but had to trade with Rome. The site is indeed very complete, still so much awaits excavation.

Jerash, decapolis.
Jerash, Roman street and columns.
Roman street and columns.
Jerash, Jordan.
Cloudy Jerash.
Temple Artemis four columns, Jerash, blue sky.
Artemis blue sky.
Artemis Temple complex, Jerash, Jordan.
Temple complex.
Church, floor deco, mosaic, Jerash, Jordan.
Mosaic, floor deco.
Tiles floor apse, Byzantine church, Jerash.
Byzantine churches.
Jerash, oval piazza, from Theater.
Oval Piazza, Jerash.
Artemis Jerash.
Artemis columns.

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