The most anticipated highlight of the whole Jordan trip – Petra.
Traveling to such iconic place like Petra comes with its own setbacks. As you plan the trip, you build up unrealistic expectations fed by social media pictures and stories from other people. You try to plan the whole experience while holding yourself firmly on the ground, acknowledging that a lot of this can be just a buzz that comes and goes.
I’m happy to report it’s much more than that and it most certainly deserves the spot among the new wonders of the world.
Petra will take your breath away.
Petra was the center of Nabatean Kingdom and is believed to have been built around 4th century BC. I wish I had time to go into all details about the buildings and interesting sights, but there is simply not enough time and space for that. To read more about Petra, you can visit this wiki page or visit the Jordanian tourism website for more practical information. In case you want to take a glimpse of the city itself, you can take a virtual tour thanks to google street view.
We arrived very early in the morning, swinging by the breakfast at the hotel at 6 am and arriving at the gates at 6.30am. The horses were just being led out from the stables and few of the local guys were trying to convince us it’s way too far to walk on foot. We walked through a landscape that was covered in shade and I was shaking in my light dress only covered with a thick cardigan. It was around 10C as we arrived.
The whole entrance felt uninspiring, just a horizon of rocky hills and the rising sun reflecting at the back fo them. As we walked further the whole view narrowed down to a single canyon-shaped passage called the Siq leading all the way to the treasury. My expectations were that we will have to walk a considerable amount of time before we hit the treasury, but we got there in about 20 minutes. Apart from us and a few other tourists, there was nobody around.
The whole way to the treasury through the Siq gives you almost a cinematic experience. You are led through this narrow passage all the way until the tightest end where you get a glimpse of the Treasury. As you enter a whole new world opens and you have to pause for a while to gather your thoughts. It’s the sort of experience that takes your breath away and you can only say ‘wow’.
Right after that, you will be approached by a small local boy who will try to get money from you to take you to the viewpoint. You know which one, you’ve seen dozens of Instagram photos from that very place. I decided to go against my initial instinct and conquer our fear of heights while climbing steep rocks in a long dress. My husband was even less enthusiastic. We made it to the top and with my legs shaking we quickly took the pictures, holding on for dear life as the drop was massive! I can’t believe so many people go all the way to the edge and my head was spinning just thinking about it.
As we paused to admire the building, more and more people were arriving and we moved on to the central part where we found a restaurant for a quick lunch and from there headed straight to the monastery. More on that in the next blog post.
Before I turn this into a novel, I will leave you to enjoy the first glimpse of Petra and catch up with you in the next blog post where we hike all the way to the monastery!
PS: Happy Mother’s Day to everyone who is celebrating today!