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December 12th 2014
Published: December 12th 2014
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PETRA, JORDAN, 11 December, 2014. Clear Blue sky

We arrived from Madrid last night after a good 4.75 hour flight across the width of the Mediterranean, flying just to the south of Cyprus, village lights visible, then across Israel to Amman.

This morning we departed at 8am for the 3 hour car trip to Petra. The driver repeatedly told us how trustworthy he and Jordanians were, proven wrong when Mem's credit card was compromised when booking a hotel room on the internet last night. The driver also insisted on stopping at purpose built huge tourist shops selling overpriced and average quality tourist goods, mostly Christian icons and Calvary scenes.

Petra was set in a river valley which had been carved out by raging river water. The area is so barren, that even light rain creates river torrents. The rock is sandstone and has red, pinkish hues. It has been carved into striking cliff walls and faces.

Petra is renown for its temple carving facades. The Treasury and the Monastery are the most highly regarded and were beautiful to view as was the colonnaded street. It was a long walk to the Monastery, we estimate about 15 km return journey and included climbing 800 stone and dusty steps. Unfortunately it was unsignposted so distances were not known before setting out!!!

It was costly to enter the site, $US 70 per person!! $US 200 car trip. Once inside we were constantly harangued by camel drivers, donkey owners and horse cart drivers about rides to the various sites. The beasts were scrawny, dirty and bad tempered as they seemed to be constantly whipped by their master. Needless to say we didn't take up the offers.

We are certain that most visitors would only walk to the Treasury as the path was well maintained. Its quality decreased as we ventured further.

The highway was busy and it seemed like a racetrack. The sunset at 4.30 pm.

Very tired at days end. Wonder why we have three more days here!

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