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Published: April 17th 2018
Today was our (very) full day at Petra. Lana took our group minus Pierre, Brian and Margaret who had decided to do their own thing at around 7:45am and she told us some interesting things along the way into the Treasury. We then continued on and she took us to a shop which was run by a young man who is the son of a New Zealand lady, who married a Bedouin. He was selling jewelry and of course, his mother's autographed book which of course, Daisy duly bought. It was interesting, because Jenny in our group was telling us about this story and now here we were talking to the son. He lived in a Bedouin cave in Petra with his parents when he was a baby until they were moved by the government into a Bedouin settlement. He then moved to New Zealand at 17 to study, but has now been back in Jordan for the last 12 years or so.
We then continued on past Roman ruins until reaching the end of the valley where we had a small lunch, just sharing a falafel sandwich at noon. From here there are a number of different walks you
can do but we, along with the other Aussies, Phil, Marie, Jenny and Mary, decided to do the most popular one which is the Monastery. We were told there were 800 steps to climb and Daisy decided to count them. She counted 776 but didn't count the few down steps so 800 is pretty close. My smartwatch told me I had climbed 31 floors at the end of the day. All through Petra there are donkeys, horses, and carriages available to hire but no one in the group elected these options. Lana had discouraged us from using them as well, because she said that especially during peak times, the animals are overworked. Walking the steps are not always that easy and in some places you could a fall long way and it didn't surprise me seeing some of the worried looks on people riding donkeys. I definitely would not be riding a donkey to climb up or down the Monastery.
At the top of the mountain we discovered not only the Monastery but also a few trails pointing to the “best view in Petra”. These trails actually took you to rival cafes all with similar views, overlooking the Rift
valley, which featured a black coloured mountain. After a short rest, here we started our walk down, which we both found more difficult because of the uneven surfaces in places, you really had to watch your step. Phil, Marie and Jenny went down a bit quicker but I stayed back with Daisy and Mary who both found their hiking sticks a great help. However, you also had to watch out for donkeys as Mary had the misfortune to be hit by one of the them and was pushed against a wall hurting her arm. Luckily it wasn’t too bad and she was able to continue on. The others had waited for us down the bottom and we all proceeded to walk back, but I lagged behind because I was taking photos and couldn’t resist one more short hike, up to the Royal Tombs which you could see from the bottom track. At this stage I couldn’t see the others and just figured they would continue on as I did indicate to Daisy that I may do that extra track.
After that, I was getting pretty tired but I continued onto the Treasury and found the others relaxing at a
café with a fantastic location right opposite the Treasury. After getting a much earned drink, we all headed back to our hotel, getting back about 5:15pm which gave us 75 minutes to rest before dinner at 6:30pm. By this time only Pierre, Daisy and I were crazy enough to return to the Treasury to see “Petra By Night”. Lana took us down to the ticket office to get our tickets and off we went. I had decided not to risk taking my tripod as I wasn’t sure they would allow it. As it turned out I sat next to girl who had a tripod so it would have been OK. Petra By Night consists of candles lighting the whole way from the main ticket office to the Treasury and it was quite beautiful and atmospheric on our way back but too many people spoiling things by using flash lights etc on the way down.
When we got to the Treasury we were herded to a spot amongst the candles fairly close to the building. We were all sitting on rugs on the ground and they then played music with live musicians and told the history of the Nabateans who
built Petra. Towards the end, I was getting uncomfortable and noticed there was space at the sides so I got up and knocked over a candle putting it out in the process. I was surprised to see that you could sit on the steps of the café that we were at earlier. I wish I had noticed this earlier as it was much more comfortable and afforded a better view. Also whilst the music played, the Treasury was not lit up at all so it was very difficult to take photos but later they told everybody to get your cameras ready and they flashed lights onto the building. Overall, a beautiful, atmospheric experience but not necessarily a “must do” activity, unless you are very keen of getting some nice photos. We stayed back after most of the people had left and this is when I got the best photos and was able to get some nice shots without a tripod as they actually kept the changing coloured lights on as people left.
Around 10pm we started back and it was long 30 minutes as we were so tired by now but it was also very pleasant as for most
of the time we were now by ourselves walking between the candles which was a nice experience. Not surprisingly, we went straight to sleep when we got back to the hotel. Record number of steps for me today, 40,025 and 31 floors! No wonder I’m so tired.
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