Thursday, October 27, 2022
Today is magical. Last night was spectacular. Breakfast is good. On the bus for the 5 minute drive to the entrance to Petra. We are exhausted from last night’s hike. Did I paint the picture well enough?
Bilar tells us today’s hike is easy. He says we can do it. Then he shows us the map of all the hiking trails and shows us where we will go. Whoa! Wait a minute! Why does the map say ‘hard’? It shows the Main Trail as ‘easy’ and everything else as ‘moderate’ or ‘hard’! Something is fishy here!
Bilar tells us we have until 4PM. It is 8AM. Going be a long day. I tell Bilar we will be at the bus at 4PM but don’t look for us on the tour. We walk off to the side and I see it. Salvation from the hike! Golf carts, that, for a price, will drive us to the Treasury round trip. $25 JD (Jordanian Dinar), approximately $37 USD. A bargain, our legs tell us! So $74 dollars poorer (there are 2 of us), we ride down into Petra, passing our group on the way and laughing amicably at them. Our driver is funny and sure knows how to earn a tip! He shouts at the crowds walking in, “No Brakes, No Control! Crazy Driver! Crazy, not Lazy!” The crowds around us roar with laughter! We arrive at the Treasury and get off the cart without feeling the exhaustion in our already tired legs.
The Treasury is spectacular by day in a different way than at night! Carved into the cliffs, the Treasury stands over 50 meters high! Absolutely amazing feat of engineering, no wonder this is one of the Seven Wonders of the World! Our cameras start working hard for us. They are quite happy! We proceed further along the Main Trail into Petra, letting our cameras lead the way like they so love to do!
We walk along the Street of Facades, buildings as large as the Treasury but not as spectacular (but fantastic in themselves) and we come across the Theatre, an amphitheater with 45 rows of seating carved into the rock. A lot of destruction here, some caused by an earthquake in the 4th century and some caused by different foreign occupations. Every step of the way vendors vie for your business, whether it be a trinket or a camel or donkey ride. Just like in Egypt, if you even make eye contact with them they will hound you for an endless period of time! It’s such a shame that it is difficult to window shop at your leisure but that is the culture here.
The roads here are fantastic, mostly built by the Romans who were amazing road builders. Walking down stone roads that are thousands of years old and still intact, perfectly crowned in the middle! Our road engineers could take a lesson from the Romans, for sure!
We walk on through the “Nymphaeum”. I’m sure it’s not directly translatable to what looks like the root word here, but who knows if they had a ‘Red Light District’? Elaborate apartment like caves built into the walls of the cliffs!
Walking on, we come across the “Colonnaded Street” and the “Great Temple”, mostly in ruins, but a sight for our poor camera lenses! We come to the end of the Main Road at “Qasr al-Bint, but without our guide, we don’t know what that means. What we do see are restaurants with WiFi! So, being only 11AM, we find seats in the shade and soon we spot a fellow traveler, Marg (short for Margaret and pronounced with a hard ‘G’) from New Zealand. Quite the fun lady we have been discovering and she is older than us so we share like minded ideas such as riding instead of walking!
Marg has already contracted for a horse and wagon that took her into Petra and will take her out. Her driver is more than thrilled that she has friends to share the ride, and despite his haggling, we get a ride out with her back to the Treasury for 30 Dinars for the 2 of us. She then piggybacks on our ride from the Treasury to the Entrance and all is good.
We get back to the Entrance before 2PM and decide not to wait for the 4PM bus. We find the taxi stand and it is only $10 Dinars for the 3 of us back to our hotel. The rides in and out of Petra make much better money!
Back at the hotel, Elee and I check out the pool and go for a swim. The water was cool and took some time to get into. Feeling a bit refreshed, we go back to the room for a much appreciated nap. I wake up and see I have a WhatsApp message from Marg, wanting to share her good fortune by scoring a bottle of wine in Petra. Our hotel is dry of alcohol! So she comes to our room with the wine transferred into a water bottle as if it must be concealed!
I will now and forever call Marg the “Naughty Schoolgirl”! This one’s for you Marg! May you stay ‘naughty’!
We go downstairs and have a bowl of soup each (very good Lentil and Corn Soups) for dinner and then retire to our room for the night!
See you all tomorrow for the next adventure!