Published: April 4th 2009April 2nd 2009
View across Petra
Even knowing it's there, Petra is very hard to see. Notice the tiny white dot on the right most hill - Aaron's tomb.
08h00. There's a knock on the door. Housekeeping! The alarm hasn't even gone off yet! Packing and leaving the rucksack at the door, I headed down to breakfast and made a packed lunch from the bread and cheese available!
Ali came to collect us at 09h00 and we began the slow climb up from Petra to the summit of the surrounding hills and the plateau beyond. Upon reaching the summit, Ali stopped the bus to give us one last glimpse of Petra before we headed off along the King's Highway down to Wadi Rum.
The journey across the desert began on the outskirts of Petra with red sandstone rocks and slowly moved to yellow sandstone before finishing up with brown sand. We passed several camels along the route and numerous goat herds; all the while the heat was building up.
Just before midday, we finally pulled off the main road and began the final 8 miles into Wadi Rum. There, we unloaded our bags and went to our tents - our accommodation for the night is a Bedouin camp. After a cup of sweet tea, we sat down to lunch.
Some of the group opted to take
a camel ride and so, some 30 minutes later, a camel train of 5 left the camp with two of us following on foot - the official camp photographer! The little train moved out into the desert and into the heat. Five camels making it seem easy to walk across the sand - two followers making it seem difficult.
After an hour, we returned into camp, dismounted and drank a large quantity of water!
In which the invaders are repelled
Come 15h00, we boarded our two jeeps and headed off into the desert for a four hour trip. Leaving the Bedouin Camp, we crossed the little railway line so beloved of TE Lawrence and started across the sand.
First stop was a little group of rock carvings depicting ibex drawn by the Hammoudians. We continued across the sand, sun beating down until we came to another set of carving, also by the Hammoudians featuring a stylise Arab and a very fine Camel. Then we came to stop at a wonderfully tall sand dune. Whilst the energetic ones climbed to the top and ran down at high speed the rest of us partook of more sweet tea.
Again, more bumpy travel until we came to a magnificent rock bridge and a camel train. This particular bridge was not too easy to climb, and so we continued another quarter mile to a second bridge. The views across the desert were spectacular and the group decided to climb.
Finally, we stopped once more - to collect fire wood - before eventually stopping in the lee of an enormous rock where our drivers built a fire and we climbed to a platform in order to watch the sun go down.
Although there was some heat haze, the view across the desert to the distant hills, some 20 miles away, was spectacular. Whilst waiting, we did notice a group of four 4x4 heading our way and proceed to chivvy them on away from us. Closer and closer they came before realising that we'd already struck camp - then headed away.
Sadly, there were no clouds in the vicinity and so the sunset was not as spectacular as it could have been. However, to see the setting sun over such a remote part of the earth was awe inspiring,
Finally, after the sun dropped, we too dropped and
joined our drivers in taking tea before returning to camp, a meal, some music and a night in a tent.
There are more photos below