Abou Al Alaa Al Maarri
Umm QaisIn Northern Jordan, the hilltop village of Umm Qais, known as Gadara in the bible, provides sweeping views of the Sea of Galilee and the Golan Heights. (Mathew 8:28-34). It’s skirted by Greco-Roman ruins from the Decapolis city of Gadara, yet Umm Qais also provides a window into the everyday life of modern Jordanians. You can arrange to have lunch with a local family while in Umm Qais; be sure to try cha’acheel, a traditional specialty made with a leaf that’s believed to ward off diseases (did I mention it tastes good?). Umm Qais also offers great hiking and biking routes that can take you to the villages of Mukheibeh on the banks of the humble Yarmouk River. It’s also a jumping-off point for exploring Yarmouk Nature Reserve, one of the last remaining deciduous oak forests in Jordan.