Middle East Day 12 - Petra

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November 4th 2017
Published: February 15th 2018
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Today we are going to Petra. We have decided against independent travel and booked a tour. I’m not really a tour person - I don’t have the patience for other people. We leave our hotel for the 7 am pick up. The car is late and only takes us to a meeting point to wait for our bus. By the time the bus arrives, it is in an hour since we left our hotel and we can still see it. We take the bus to the border. One group member has issues with Israeli Immigration and we must wait. It is now 2 hours since we left our hotel and we can still see it. At Jordanian Immigration two group members have problems and we have to wait again. By the time we board our Jordanian bus, it is 3 hours since we left our hotel and we can still see it.

With the delays and a stop en route, we reach Petra quite late. Our guide takes us down through the Siq into the city. It’s spectucular. A narrow 1.2 km long gorge deep in the red rocks. It’s also fairly daunting with a constant stream of horse drawn carriages hurtling down laden with tourists. It is an aquired skill enjoying the scenery whilst avoiding being run down.

Then the gorge opens up and in front of us, our first glimpse of The Treasury, a huge tomb carved into the sandstone rock. It is indeed one of the Wonders of the World. Our guide tells us we are free to explore. We have 20 minutes, before we must make our way to the restaurant for lunch and return to Israel. We have been travelling for 8 hours for a 20 minute visit to Petra. Most of our group are day trippers and not happy.

Luckily, we are not returning, we are spending the night at the Seven Wonders Bedouin Camp and have tomorrow free to explore at our leisure. We are collected by a man in a pick up truck (we’re going off road). He drives for while, then just as it is getting dark, stops in a layby. He says we should witness a desert sunset. He’s right. It’s beautiful.

We continue to our camp. We are literelly the first there. We arrive at the same time as another pick up truck containing the staff. Our tent is basic but cosy. There are no other guests, no power or water (they are only available from 6-10 pm). We wonder why we didn’t opt for a hotel. But 6 pm arrives, as do several coach loads of tourists. The atmosphere is jovial as the staff cook dinner over a camp fire, we can shower, there is electricity, even wifi. Best of all, the camp is at the foot of some rocks which are now illuminated with hundreds of fairy lights. It is magical.

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