Once we arrived at the Jordan border another family departed with us and the five of us crossed the Israel border into Jordan. I have to say that crossing into Jordan was much friendlier. Once we were into Jordan a van was waiting for us and we drove for about a half hour and arrived at our hotel. We were told that we would meet our guide the next day to go to Petra and that dinner was being served. We got our room key, dropped our bags and headed to dinner. The hotel was much nicer than I expected and you could tell that in the day when tourism was booming this was a very nice hotel. We ate dinner then headed to bed, we both were super tired.
After a well needed good nights sleep we were off to Petra. Breakfast was included in our tour which was provided by the hotel. We were served a familiar Mediterranean breakfast consisting of cheeses, meat, eggs, and bread with jelly. If you would have asked me a year ago this would have been an unusual breakfast to me. Now though, it is a welcomed sight. We left the hotel at 9 am which by me was a perfect time. The drive to Petra from Aqaba City was almost two hours. We stopped along the way at a souvenir shop then once again to see a gigantic ridge along with the a white mosque at top one of the mountains.
In the far distance there is a white dome which is thought to be biblical Mt Hor – the burial site of Moses’ brother, Aaron.
We got to Petra about quarter to twelve and our guide said that we would meet back at the entrance at 3 p.m. So we had about three and a half hours to explore Petra. The family that we were with was Russian so the guide spoke Russian but thankfully he also knew English. The Son of the Russian family also knew a little English so we talked to him periodically. Since the guide was going to give the tour in Russian Autum and I were going to explore on our own which is what we wanted to do anyways, after all we did have our guide book.
Entrance to Petra
Petra was established in the 4th century BCE by the Nabataeans, a nomadic tribe from Arabia. Back then the city was home to around 30,000 people. The city is entirely carved into solid rock but that explanation does not do it justice at all.
Entering Petra the first site we encountered was the Siq which is a narrow gorge, a result of the natural splitting of the mountain. The colors of the rock were amazing and the way that rocks split were fascinating to look at. Parts of the Siq were used to film Indiana Jones movie so that was cool to see in person. Even though it was hot out, walking through the Siq the temperature was much cooler and had a lot of shade.
The Treasury is the first thing you see once you exit the Siq and it is amazing. It’s hard to put into words how massive and how amazing it looks in person. It is entirely carved out of stone in the side of a mountain, I was truly amazed.
Along the way there were camel rides, horse rides and even a horse drawn carriage to get you through the city. We toughed it out though and let our feet take us there.
Camels ready to give rides.
Next up was the Theatre, this was my favorite. This entire theatre including the seats was carved out of solid rock. I’m amazed at the design of this structure and to think that it was done so long ago just blows my mind.
We continued to walk around and to look streets, homes, tombs, and the life that used to be lived in this carved city.
After walking around we decided to start heading back to the front to meet our group. I’ll be very honest this is the worst time of year to go because it’s the dead of summer and it was hot. On the way in I really didn’t think it was too bad, I mean it was hot but I wasn’t ready to fall over. Now on the way out though, it was a different story. We started head back about 2 p.m. so the sun was hot as ever and the thrill of seeing everything for the first time was gone. The walk back is also a little uphill so that didn’t help. There were a few times that I really wanted to hire a horse or camel to take to me to the front but I didn’t and I survived. Once we met up with our group we went to lunch then we drove back to the border which was about a three hour drive.
To get back to Egypt was quite the process since we had to pass through Israel again. So we exited Jordan into Israel then exited Israel into Egypt. Now each time we would pass through border control we were questioned for a few minutes. I mean first of all we were Americans, why would we be in Middle East? Secondly, we both have Egypt work visas, why do American’s have Egypt work visas? Third, we are two single blonde haired women, we basically stick out like a sore thumbs. Usually though once we throw out the teacher card and that we have been here for two – three years were done with the questions. Once we arrived back on Egypt’s side I felt much better.
All in all this trip was pretty good and I would recommend Petra to anyone thinking about going – it was amazing! Being on a large Russian tour was not as bad as it could have been either. I’m glad that I was able to visit Jerusalem, Bethlehem, The Dead Sea and Petra. I realize that not everyone will have the chance to visit these places and I am truly grateful for the opportunities that I have. I also learned a lot of history along the way. It was definitely a learning experience as well as a travel learning experience too.
Later skaters –