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Published: October 14th 2007
Sure footed sturdy animals
Petra 7-8 Oct
When we arrived at Petra, Ian decided that as he had already seen the sights there, he would not stay but instead go direct to Aqaba and get his foot sorted out at a hospital. Gail and Jeremy decided that as they, too, had seen Petra before and Jeremy was not feeling too fit, they would go on to Aqaba as well.
That left Milla and me on our own with the agreement that we would rejoin the others in two days’ time and so we made suitable meeting arrangements. At the Al Antab hotel we found that they had a campsite - for want of a better word - below the rear of the place, about 6 stories down the back of the hotel which was built on a steep slope. It was fine and we had access to perfectly good showers and loos, with an abundance of hot water. Moreover the hotel offered a free taxi service to and from the Petra site. So we said goodbye to the others and parked our car before availing ourselves of the free taxi.
We had both seen pictures and read about Petra but the real
Roman soldier's tomb
thing was as stunning as I had expected it would be. We hired a guide which really made everything so much more interesting. The long walk down through the ever-narrowing gorge was spectacular in itself, with the shafts of sunlight making the colours of the stone even more striking. When we finally reached the Treasury we stood in awe while the detail of its history and construction were explained to us by Ali, our guide. From there we progressed further down the valley to see and be shown the highlights. Ali was with us for over 2 hours by the end of which we were pretty exhausted and could hardly take in any more “culture”. We said farewell to Ali before making our weary way back through the gorge. The last kilometer from there we faced an uphill struggle back to the town. But there were horses one could hire to convey the weary and we elected to ride up. Milla was of course at ease on her animal, ever though she was rather sanguine about its health, and I was far more worried purely and simply because the animal had its ears back the whole time and whenever the
The Kazneh is the best known of the 800 carved tombs in Petra.
“groom” - a nasty little chap - lifted his stick the horse shied away and threatened to throw me off and bolt for it. I was thankful to arrive back in one piece! We had a nice cool beer back at the camp to relax.
By now the only bit of level (Tarmac) ground behind the hotel was crammed with 13 Dutch owned camper vans. We had seen these variously along our route for the previous day or two but now we had to share the facilities with them. They were quite charming and were on a group tour from Amsterdam to Aqaba via Turkey and then to return via Greece and Italy. It was fun chatting to them and 4 of them all had birthdays the following day when they held a sort of street party from tea time till supper time all amongst their vans. They had a great meal together with music and dancing - they were wrinklies like us - and it is a long time since I have heard all of Abba’s music played with such enthusiastic enjoyment.
The second day (8th October) we were into the Petra site quite early, before the
The Monastery is the largest tomb façade in Petra.
hordes. Our objective was to get to the Monastery before it got too hot. We faced a frighteningly steep ascent and we really chickened out so we hired a man with two donkeys and set off on these delightfully uncomplaining beasts. Instead of struggling for over an hour on this ascent we made it to the top in 25 mins. Riding the donkeys was quite an experience! They were very sure footed and at times we sat on their backs looking down great chasms to the side of us, mere inches away from where the animals were walking. In the end I just didn’t look any more, putting my complete trust in where they were taking us. The Monastery is very much like the Treasury and worth seeing but, 200 yards further on, was a sight very well worth seeing too - it was the most magnificent view to the west towards Israel, some 3,000 plus feet below us - quite stunning! We walked down with ease only to hire the same man with the same donkeys for another ride into remoter parts of the site, away from most of the grockles, before returning to our camp around lunchtime. Emails
View of Israel
called that afternoon before we ate in the hotel and turned in early.
Next day (9th October) we drove down the King’s Highway to Aqaba to rejoin the others for the night there before tackling Egypt. Petra was well worth the visit and we loved it
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