From the ancient ruins of Jerash to the nature reserve of Ajloun, you can smell the olive trees.
As the minibus rumbles along, winding through large valleys and small towns where stalls sell qatayef and nuts with nougat, the scent that enters through the open windows is distinctive and homely.
It reminds me of my Dad’s Italian cooking – olive oil with balsamic vinegar; chopped olives in a fresh tomato sauce; olives served as an antipasti alongside cheeses, cured meats and wine. Olives straight from the jar in the fridge as a snack.
It reminds me of passages from religious texts, where these trees are mentioned so frequently. This must be what the Mount of Olives smells like in Jerusalem, and the Garden of Gethsemane. I want to take my Mum there one day.
The scent of the olive trees, only prevalent for 10 minutes or so, are comforting.