Published: January 5th 2011
December 31st 2010
We docked in Aqaba around 7pm. The sun had already set. We went to get our visa's sorted. It took a little while but was overall very easy. They took our passports and put the visas and stamps in, we were not even questioned about anything. Alex and I decided to save some money by skipping Wadi Rum and taking a taxi up to Petra with Susannah and another couple we had met while waiting for our visas instead. Once we walked out of the port we were surrounded by taxi drivers. They were getting right in my face and even I was yelling at them to back off and pushing them away. It was worse than in Egypt, way too intense after 2 days of travel for Alex and Me. Between the 5 of us we were able to work out a deal of 50 Dinar for 2 cars so 10 Dinar each. The Dinar is stronger than the Dollar at the moment, it is about equal with the British Pound, so Jordan is actually quite expensive!
The drive from Aqaba was probably around an hour. It was a bummer that we were driving through everything in the dark
but I did get to watch the stars as we went along so I thought that was a fair compromise. Our driver got us a small cup of coffee. It made me feel sick, it looked thick and it was cause all the grounds were in it. I waited for them to settle to the bottom before trying it. There was Cardamom (a spice) in it and I didn't really like it.
We were dropped off at a hostel in Wadi Musa called Valentine's. They only had 1 room left, an apartment that usually only sleeps 4 but they would put an extra bed in (which turned out to be 2 mattress on the ground). They would give to it to us for 100 per night as long as we stayed for 2 nights. So it was 40dinars each for the 2 nights and then we got breakfast, pack lunch, and dinner for another 10. 50 dinars for 2 nights and 1 day of meals(about $100). It was the only place we had an option of staying, we called around to a few other places and they were all booked.
The "apartment" was ok. We had to walk
2 blocks down the road to get to it, there was no internet cause it was too far away from the main area. Alex and I shared a room with Susannah and the other couple got the other room. It was not very clean and it was cold but the beds were comfortable. Alex and I were super tired after almost 2 days of no sleep due to travel so we decided to go to bed while the others went out for dinner.
Next morning we were up at 7am. We went down for breakfast which was a hard boiled egg, plain yoghurt, bread, cheese, and jam. We got our pack lunches and then got on the shuttle to the Petra gates. The gates are not far but the area is very hilly and they are steep. We waited in line to get tickets, this was at least more organized than anything we did in Egypt. Our tickets for a 1 day pass was 50 dinar(Only because we had stayed a night in Jordan, if you just do a day trip over from Egypt it is 90!) plus another 12 dinar for the Petra by Night bit that we
had been told by a couple in Aswan was a must!
We walked from 8am till 5pm pretty much non stop except for a short lunch break! It is not really walking more like hiking! Lots of stairs and hills, you’re walking through sand and climbing up rocks. I was happy to welcome some movement! I was getting sick of sitting because there was so much travel time between everything in Egypt!
Petra is really big. There is no way to see it all in one day. Since we only had 1 day we picked a few of the main things we wanted to see for sure. We hiked up to the High Place of Sacrifice which was high up on the top of a hill, from here you could see almost all of Petra. From that point you could turn back and go to the main path or keep going up. We decided to keep going up! We reached a point with a sign that said Dangerous do not go any further if you are on your own and so on... We decided to keep going :D hehe Just past the sign is a set of really
steep stairs carved into the rocks. We made our way down into a valley where there were lots of tombs. There were a few other people down here so we were not worried. We decided to keep walking. We were on a trail that was not on our map that we got at the door but was one that was known because at the start of it was a little sign post about how old it was and so on. Somewhere along the way Alex and I took a wrong turn. We were no longer on a path and there was no longer any people around us... Once there were no longer any footprints where we were I started to get a bit nervous. We kept walking in the general direction that we had seen tombs of when we were high up on Sacrifice hill. Thankfully after climbing up another hill out of what probably used to be a river bed we found a trail and saw people again!!! Once we saw the people we decided to stop for lunch. Our box lunch from the hostel was plain yoghurt, tomato, cucumber, bread, cheese, orange juice, a small packet of cookies
and a chocolate with coconut in it.
After that we made our way back over to the path and headed towards where we had seen the people sitting. As we rounded the corner there was a lookout point with a small cafe. We continued on around the ledge and found we were up on a hill that overlooked the main path! We made our way back down and headed to the Monastery.
The Monastery, Ad-Deir, is a steep hick as well including 800 stairs cut into the rocks! It is at the top of Ad-Deir mountain and is carved into the side of the mountain. It is huge! You can’t go in but you can see in through the door. There are lots of Bedouin people along the path on the way up trying to sell their goods or tea. Once you get to the top there is another little cafe place. Alex and I rested up here for a little while but not long. It was cold and starting to rain. We began our climb back down and stopped in one of the covered shops on the way down as the rain started. We waited for most
of the rain to pass before heading the rest of the way down. The hike down from the Monastery back to the pickup point for the shuttle took us around 1hr 15min. And we were Hauling Ass!!! We were both totally worn out after that. We had the dinner at the hostel which was good and then prepared to head back to Petra to do the night tour.
Petra by Nigh is not worth it. I don't know why the couple we met so highly recommended it. They put candle’s into brown paper bags to light the main trail (which was cool but not how we had pictured it) and then you stop at the first big thing you see which is the Treasury, Al-Khazneh. Here everyone sits on the ground around a cluster of candles and then after a while someone(not sure who because we could not see them) plays a flute type instrument for a while, it sounds as though it is coming from far away. And then a guy comes out and tells a story about this instrument however he is very hard to hear it is a big crowd and there is nothing to project
his voice across it. I would not recommend the Petra by Night and would not do it if I were to go back again.
If I ever come back to Petra though I would leave at least 2 full days to hick around it maybe even 3 if you want to see it all and not rush through any of it. Petra is Amazing and I hope to come back again someday. The colors in the rocks are so beautiful, purple, red, yellow I tried my best to capture the color on camera but it does not do it justice really, it is something you have to see. The people overall in Jordan have been a lot nicer than Egypt and if someone helps you with directions they don’t expect you to pay them afterwards! It is nice.
Alex and I passed out completely spent after the day and evening of hiking. We had to be up at 6am to catch our shuttle bus at 7am to Amman. We woke up to a cold rainy day, glad that we had done Petra the day before we got up and got ready quickly. I had a bit of a
stuffy nose and a sneeze starting but didn't think much of it. The shuttle was warm, we had a heater right under us, but the seats were not too comfortable. The drive was about 2 hours to Amman. Once we were dropped off we shared a cab with a couple from Spain. They had found a hostel that was 5 dinar each and so Alex and I decided to see if they had a room for us as well.
When the cab stopped to drop us off we could not get our bags out of the trunk! The latch broke and the driver could not get it open, nor could any of the shop keepers nearby who tried to help. Eventually the driver pulled out his back seat and pulled our bags through that way.
I like Amman. It is cold and wet at the moment. Lots of hills some steep like in San Fran! The people are really nice and always willing to help for free! We went and had some of our laundry washed since there is a sign in our hostel saying we can't do it in the bathroom. We wondered around town for a
bit stopped for lunch and then after getting cold stopped in a tea shop that was nice and warm and had tea and a slice of blueberry cheese cake which is Nothing like any cheese cake I’ve ever had but it was good! Not too sweet which was nice!
The hostel we are staying at is not clean... and it is cold. Our room has no windows and a florescent light in the corner. But it is cheap so I guess that is what we get! They have shower time hours from 6am-10am and 6pm-10pm. There is a midnight curfew and no liquor is allowed. Awesome place to stay for new year’s eve right!?! Haha it ended up not mattering anyways I woke up in the early morning sick to my stomach and spent all of the 31st sick in bed. Which was a bummer cause we had planned on going to the Dead Sea that day but there was no way I could have gone. Alex and I stayed in reading and I wrote a tone of my blogs I tried to stay up till midnight but I didn't make it, I think I fell asleep around 11:45
haha so close!
HAPPY NEW YEARS EVERYONE!!!
Today we slept in till about 9 and then got up and packed. I am feeling better today but not 100%. We walked around town again and then found a little local place for lunch where there were lots of people eating. We didn't have to order they just brought us 2 cups of tea a bowl of hummus and a bean dip thing with falafel balls and Jordan's version of pita bread, and a plate of sliced onion, tomato and fresh mint. It was great!!! I think it has been my favorite meal so far! After that we walked around some more and then found a fresh juice place I got a small carrot and small grapefruit juice to help fight my cold and they were both great! When you are not in the tourist areas Jordan is not that expensive. I like it here and we would probably stay longer if it was not so freaking cold!!!
There are more photos below