{JORDAN ~ January 28 – February 05, 2017}

PETRA ~ February 01-03, 2017

We made it! We finally made it! With an average speed of 20km/h and a visibility of 3-5m we finally rolled into Petra. Our hotel was directly located in front of the entrance to Petra. Perfect! Exhausted from the drive we check into the Petra Guesthouse.


GUEST HOUSE PETRA – RIGHT BESIDE THE ENTRANCE TO PETRA

There is a lot to see in Petra and time is very short. Last entry into Petra was at 5pm so there was no point for us to run in and out as it was already afternoon. We decided to take the rest of the day easy and rather get prepared for the next day.

I totally fell in love with the food in Jordan and we found a very nice restaurant not far away from our hotel. The food of the Oriental Restaurant was amazing. The staff was super friendly and came up with recommendations and complementary dishes. We totally got spoilt. Ordered far more that normal people can eat. So by the time we finished someone could have rolled us back to the hotel, but it was worth every bite!


AMAZING FOOD AT THE ORIENTAL RESTAURANT

We ended the evening on The Cave of the Petra Guesthouse. Very cool atmosphere and great for a drink to end the day.


THE CAVE


THE CAVE


THE CAVE

The next morning we got up at bird’s fart to be the first people entering Petra before all the tourist buses arrive. Although we were off season – you never know! We entered Petra from the East entrance and it took us ~10 minutes to get to the Siq entrance. There are ponies offered that you can ride to faster get to the Siq entrance, but we just walked. Early morning walk – no people – just us! That was pretty amazing.


ENTRANCE TO PETRA ~ THE HIDDEN CITY


THE TICKET TO THE HIDDEN CITY

We reached the entrance of the amazing Siq – a canyon with its narrow corridor that snakes its way to the lost city of Petra. We just entered the canyon when we saw two familiar faces: the guys from the Wadi Rum desert camp. After a quick “hey hello – and bye” we continued our walk thru the Siq.

Now, one thing that is common with most sites is, that wherever there are tourists, souvenir stalls or people selling postcards are not far. Same in Petra. There are a lot of young kids, age 8-12 that are walking around trying to sell postcards for a few dollars. Usually they have a heart-breaking story to tell. Fact is, that the kids are not at school, and that is basically why it’s not recommended to buy anything from the kids.

Half thru the Siq, we were surrounded by kids, trying to sell their postcards to us. One kid followed us step by step, showing the best spots to take photos and explaining some of the historical sites. His name was “Why Not” and I guess his family owned the souvenir stall “Why Not” that was further down in Petra.

At first we tried to ignore “Why Not”…


OUR LITTLE GUIDE “WHY NOT”

With every step we walk thru the Siq, we came closer to the Treasury. The Treasury is the most famous and iconic site of Petra and on the cover of most of the Jordan Travel Books. Thru the small corridors of the Siq we were able to see a glimpse of the Treasury and when we were finally standing in front of it, we were blown away by the beauty and architecture of this ancient place.


THE TREASURY THRU THE SIQ

Camels in front of the Treasury and almost no tourists gave us the best photo opportunities. It is an amazing piece of craftsmanship and I’m still wondering how this has been created back in the days. The Traveling Book told us the best time to have an amazing sun rise view but if we would have scheduled everything according the the best time of the day, we most like had to stay 1 week in Petra. The Treasury was amazing – with or without the golden sun rise.


THE TREASURY


THE TREASURY


CAMELS IN FRONT OF THE TREASURY

We continued our walk thru the Street of Facades – also known as the Outer Siq. The Street of Facades has over 40 tombs and houses built into the rocks. It is fascinating and unbelievable what mankind is capable of.


THE STREET OF FACADES

The Street of Facades leads along souvenir shops and other touristy places. Meanwhile “Why Not” was following us, talking about the great sites we have to see next and the best way to get there. Oh well ~ knowing that it was most likely not the right thing to do, I asked “Why Not” if he wants to join us. The little boy was super happy and so we had a great little guide who showed us around Petra.


THE STREET OF FACADES


STREET OF FACADES


STREET OF FACADES ~ THE ROYAL TOMBS

“Why Not” guided us about 150m north east the Palace Tomb up hill to the Nabataean Cistern. On the way there were some great views of the theater that was built into the Street of Facades. It was a very steep and exhausting walk but when we were up the hill, the view was amazing. We continued our hike further up and down again until we reached a little Bedouin camp. From the camp we had an epic view down to the Treasury. That was pretty awesome. We had tea and rested for a while until we continued our way back down towards the Petra City Center.


STEEP HIKE UP TO THE NABATAEAN CISTERN


TEA AT THE BEDOUIN CAMP


THE TREASURY ~ FROM THE HILLTOP


VIEW TO THE HIGH PLACE OF SACRIFICE


THE STREET OF FACADES ~ THE THEATER


STREET OF FACADES ~ THE ROYAL TOMBS

If you’ve ever been to Rome or Pompeii, some of the architecture and sites look quite familiar. Especially down in the Petra City Center when you walk along Colonnaded Street, I almost thought I’m in Rome.


COLONNADED STREET ~ THE GREAT TEMPLE

We continued our journey and “Why Not’s” next destination was The Monastery – hidden high up in the hills – it is known as one of the legendary monuments of Petra. It takes about 40 minutes from the Nabataean Museum to the Monastery. More than 800 steps lead the steep path up to the site. Donkeys can be hired if you are not able to walk all the way up.


WAITING FOR SOME TOURISTS


ON THE WAY UP THE MONASTERY

The Monastery is breathtaking – not just because of the exhausting hike, but also because of its beauty! It is far bigger than the Treasury and the location, up on top of the hill, surrounded by some trees, makes it an epic site to visit!


THE MONASTERY

We continued our walk to the TOP OF THE WORLD where we had some tea and a stunning view over Wadi Araba, Israel and the Palestinian Territories. What an epic hike! We were lucky that “Why Not” took us there.


THE TOP OF THE WORLD


PETRA AND ITS CAMELS

Meanwhile it was early afternoon and we went back down to the Colonnaded Street. t was time for some late lunch but also time to say good-bye to ‘Why Not”. The little boy has been amazing and we gave him a very generous tip for his great tour and some snacks. He was very happy and so were we.


PETRA AND ITS CAMELS

We had late lunch in the Basin Restaurant which belonged to our hotel and decided to take a slow walk back thru Petra. Meanwhile there were more tourists and by the time we passed the Treasury, the place was crowded. We arrived at the entrance at around 5pm, exhausted and overwhelmed by the history of the site.

After a quick refreshment we went down to The Cave, had dinner and planned our next day. There were two options: continue exploring Petra or leaving toward Madaba to have more time to explore the city.

Now in hindsight we should have stayed in Petra. But that’s the thing with hindsight…….. Instead of exploring Little Petra, we decided to have a relaxed morning, check-out and drive to Madaba. By what we read in the Travel Guide, the City of Mosaic has great sites to explore…

 

 

 

 

Please continue reading: JORDAN ~ MADABA, THE MOSAIC CITY