Day 3 - Petra, Jordan

Middle East
January 15th 2020
Published: January 16th 2020
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Morning Wake-up call today was at 6 am but our alarm was at 5:30. Breakfast was at 6:30 and bus pull out was 7:30 as we were making the long drive to Petra. If you look in a map you would see that there is some distance between Amman and Petra. It will be about 4 hours on a bus.

Typically, we start the day with devotions and prayer, then our guide will tell us about the site/sites we would be seeing. We always have a comfort stop and today we’d be having lunch before getting to Petra. Lunch today was just across the hill from Petra where we cold, get so picture of the hills in which Petra was built.

When you visit Petra there are three modes of transportation; ride a horse, ride in a cart pulled by a horse, or walk. We chose to walk because traveling downhill seemed easy. Some of our group had been to Petra before and said it looked like you could fall out of the horse carts (they went very fast), and I hadn’t been on a horse in years so those didn’t seem like good options.

Walking downhill on old cobblestones was not as easy as we thought! When the cobblestones were missing it was gravel and stones or mudholes. You also had to be very careful of the horses and horse drawn carts as they often traveled very fast and even passed one another. The passage (Siq) is very narrow in several spots. So, while it was more effort than we thought, we were glad we walked because you could stop and rest, admire the beauty, and take pictures.

Petra is the most popular tourist attraction in Jordan. It is located in the southwestern part of the country and is a city that was lost for years. It was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is visited by hundreds of thousands of people every year. It was built in the first century BC by the Nabateans who carved beautiful buildings and structures into pink and red sandstone canyon walls. It was a center for trade for 500 years and then was lost for nearly two centuries. It was rediscovered in the 19th century and was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1985

You enter the city by the Siq, the narrow entry created when the mountain split in two. The walk is all downhill and rough so good walking shoes are a must. It takes about 20-40 minutes to walk to the first and most famous of the buildings….the treasury. It was called Khazneh, which is Arabic for Treasury. Local people believed it contained hidden treasure. It is most famous because the movie Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed there. In the final scene, actors Harrison Ford and Sean Connery ran from the Siq and walked into the Treasury in their quest to find the Holy Grail. Believe me I kept hoping they would show up while we were there!

Now you are all smart enough to figure out if you walk downhill all the way to the treasury, then you must have to walk uphill to return to the main entrance. That is unless you are old enough to remember walking uphill both ways in a foot of snow to go to school!! LOL! Our group decided to catch a ride back up the hill. Now we learned that there was a third method of transportation, a golf cart! We thought that would be the better choice so we approached the golf cart drivers…….$40 bucks a person!!! No Way! Since we weren’t going to ride horses, we had to take the horse cart. Debbie Weekley and I rode together, and I don’t think I have laughed so much since I took one of those bicycle carts in New York City. I took a video of our ride but sadly can’t post it to my blog. I will share it on my Facebook page though. I think our cart driver loved driving fast, passing other carts, and making us laugh. He had as much fun as we did!

On our way back to our hotel the bus driver took a wrong turn, sort of, and drove us past one of the Crusader Castles that were built to protect Jerusalem. Shobak Castle was built by Crusader King Baldwin 1 in 1115. It was later occupied in the 14th Century by the Mamlucks who took over many Crusader buildings. There have been plans to bring it back to life with reenactments but, as of yet, that hasn’t happened.

Once we took our pictures we headed back to the Dead Seal. It was a long day with an especially long bus ride, but we made it back to our hotel in time for a late dinner. Debbie and I tried to walk down to the Dead Sea. We found the path, but it was pretty dark, and we learned that the beach was closed for the evening.

Tomorrow is a moving day. This means we pack up early, put our suitcases outside our rooms (very early), head to breakfast, and board the bus.

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