Day 22 - Our first glimpse at Petra

Trip Start Sep 30, 2012
Trip End Jan 09, 2013

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Flag of Jordan  , Maan,
Monday, October 22, 2012

We started today making our way by local bus from Aqaba to Petra, about a two hour trip. The bus leaves when the bus driver is satisfied with the number of people on the bus, so you can wait a bit to get going. The bus is simple, but fine. The only frustrating thing for us was that people still happily smoke on buses, which is rather revolting.

We were swindled by a guy at the bus station for a ride to the hotel. Paying R30 for a 100 m journey. He could have just pointed us in the right direction. All part of he experience.

Our hotel is very nice, it does not have the best position for getting to Petra, but its top class, good food (at good value, we had lunch here) and great rooms- importantly it's the first place the shower can fit people over 6 foot in, in a long while. And the king size bed is nice too.

We took a walk down to the valley where you enter Perta, about a 20 minute walk downhill. The fee to get into Petra is hefty. Around R600 each for a day, but if you do multiple days it only goes up slightly per day. 5 Dinah (R60) extra for the second day.

There is a lot of horse activity around the gate. You can ride down, or take a horse cart to save you a bit of a walk before you see any of the buildings of Petra. The path starts out through a valley in open mountain area, with limestone caves dotted about. The path then enters the siq - this is the arab name for a narrow gully. The gully is beautifully dramatic, with high towering stone faced walls bending through the valley.

The exit to the valley is spectacular. As you emerge the magnificent facade of the first structure, the treasury, ensures that all visitors leave the canyon gaping with the Indiana Jones theme tune trigged in their minds. The facade is carved into the rock intricately and stands 43 m high and 30 meters across. Truly awe inspiring.

Following the path more of the impressive city opened before us, until we got to a decision point - which path to take. A friendly Croatian we bumped onto said he was heading to the High place of Sacrifice - which he had it on good information was a good place to see. As our main day is tomorrow, we thought this would be a nice side trip and followed him up.
This Nabataeans who built and lived in the city either didn't sacrifice much or they where the people of massive calves. The high point was a steep long walk up the mountain.

The end result was very much worth the walk. Besides the human interest points, the high place had wonderful views looking down on pretty much the whole of Petra. It really put things in perspective. The city area is vast and has what looks from a distance to be spectacular buildings.

Coming down we visited the theatre, again an impressive structure which could hold 7 000 people, all carved out of the rock face.

The day was a wonderful introduction to Petra.

We carried on walking, all the way back up the hill to our hotel... something we won't be doing again.

A brief reprieve, some dinner and we were back down to the valley to do Petra by night. Following the same path, candle lanterns line the canyon all the way to the Treasury. The walk is hauntingly beautiful, with light dancing off the curved canyon walls, stars shining in gaps, and a storm in the next valley lighting up the clouds.

In front of the treasures many candles light the area, where we all sit on carpets. In silence Bedouins pay their traditional music on instruments which relate to the flute and violin.

The day and evening has been magical. We so looking forward to exploring more tomorrow.
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milly on

stunning pics guys - always wanted to go here...
You are both looking more and more relaxed and into the travel mode - xxx

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