Day 14 - Jordan
|Friday, November 28, 2014: Of course, after several days of rain in Jordan, we awoke to a sunny day.
|We had a delicious breakfast in the Al Madafa Restaurant. This was included in the price of our tour.
|Shadi picked us up right on time and we headed out to drive across the country to Petra.
|When viewing the weather for Amman on our iPhones, we often saw either "Fog" or "Haze" as the description for the weather, complete with a little icon representing those conditions. We understand now, because we drove through this fog for about 15 minutes.
|It was a relaxing drive to Petra through the desert.
|There were Maersk containers everywhere so we had plenty of opportunities to get a photo that represented Maersk in Jordan.
|We had a restroom break at the appropriately named MidWay Castle about an hour south of Amman on the way to Petra.
|There were no prices shown for the Coca-Cola Lights so we had to ask the person up front to negotiate a price then go back and pick up the can we had paid for.
|More desert scenery, ...
|... and more.
|We have no idea what these piles of rocks were.
|There is one lone modern windmill in this distance in this photo.
|We went through a police checkpoint as we were entering the tourist area of Petra. This was one of at least a half dozen checkpoints we went through in Petra, bringing our trip's grand total to at least 20 or more.
|We have no idea what this says but it's probably nice.
|We reached the main town of Wadi Musa and stopped at the scenic overlook at the top of the valley. The archaeological site of Petra is located at the foot of the purple mountain range in the far back left of this photo.
|From this overlook, we could see the Beit Zaman Hotel where we would be staying later. It consists of most of the terraced buildings seen in the center of this photo.
|Shadi, our driver and guide, escorted us to the entrance of the Petra visitor center and arranged a guide for us.
|Just inside the gates is the common square. There are restaurants and shops on the right. Park entrance is still 500 ft past the fountain to the left, downhill. Always downhill.
|Here's the first photo we took past the ticket gate. The journey to Petra starts with a wide avenue leading down to the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra, known as the Siq. Horses are to the left for those who wish to ride them to or from the Siq and are willing to pay the mandatory tip to the aggressive horse handlers.
|The first monuments we passed on our walk were Djinn blocks, believed to be the earliest tombs in Petra. At this point, we were 1/3 mile from the entrance.
|Another Djinn block, next to a canyon we saw locals using. Our guess is that this is one of the routes the local vendors use to get in without paying but we don't actually know.
|This is the Obelisk tomb.
|Pretty scenery off to the west.
|Now we were entering the Siq, the main passage through the mountain down to the heart of Petra. This is about 1/2 mile from the entrance. That's our Petra guide on the left.
|View of the Siq. The walk continued to be downhill and would be for the remainder of the multi-mile path.
|Here is what remains of the water channel that was used to bring fresh water into Petra from a spring several miles away. The channel ran the entire length of the Siq. In places, it has been partially restored by park workers.
|The scenery in here was beautiful. We were approached by children trying to sell us souvenirs (postcards, jewelry) every 10 minutes or so.
|Here's something pretty. One of these days, we'll get out our Petra map and figure out what this was.
|More scenery. Note the water channels on either side.
|After about a mile and a half of walking, we were rewarded with a dramatic first glimpse of the Treasury.
|This is the most famous site of Petra: Al-Khazna (The Treasury), built 60 BC - 50 AD.
Here's a panorama of the whole scene.
|Orchy was there!
|And so were we. If an occasion ever called for a selfie, this was it.
|Here's a closer look at the Treasury, looking straight up from near the base.
|This is the recently excavated lower level of the treasury. It was protected by a heavy metal grid on top. We took this photo through the metal grid for a better shot.
|During our visit, aggressive vendors tried to sell us souvenirs, camel rides, donkey rides, and horse rides. No, we don't want a ride, thanks. We moved on from this area through the canyon opening in the background on the right in this photo.
|We kept walking downhill. This is the entrance to the Street of Facades, with tombs on both sides.
|Here are more tombs and donkey wranglers.
|This is the theater. The seating area is carved out of the rock.
|This is the former home of a very rich family in Petra.
|These are tourist shops at the base of the Royal Tombs.
|This is the Urn Tomb.
|Here are all of the Royal Tombs. From right to left: the Urn Tomb, the Silk Tomb, the Corinthian Tomb, and the Palace Tomb.
|About two miles into the walk, we were on Colonnade Street where the donkey ride vendors were especially aggressive and donkey waste made it necessary to keep an eye on every step we took.
|On our left was the entrance to the Great Temple. With enough time and interest, visitors could spend several days here. Since we have very little interest in history and archaeology, we had no need, but we can certainly see the appeal to those who love this stuff.
|On the left is Qasr al-Bint, the temple of Dushares, the largest façade in Petra. It was built with wooden supports to withstand earthquakes.
|At the end of the valley are restrooms and a restaurant. From here, there is a trail leading up to a monastery. Our guide encouraged us to hike it, but with 2.3 miles of uphill walking ahead of us, we decided to pass. We stopped to have a snack in the shade before heading back up.
|We took an alternate route for the first part of the walk to avoid the endless vendor hassling on Colonnade Street. Here's a view of it all with the royal tombs in the distance.
|Here are the royal tombs again.
|Past Colonnade Street, we were back on the main walkway again.
|At this point, we were past the theater, heading back to the treasury. It was late afternoon so it was starting to get chilly because now we were walking exclusively in the shade. Fortunately, we had dressed in layers and had gloves with us.
|We had to stop in awe of the Treasury. We sat on a bench to rest until the vendors latched onto us again.
|Here we go, back into the beautiful Siq again.
|We were exhausted on the uphill walk, so we took short breaks on some of the many benches along the way.
|Sometimes, a low rock wall served as a resting point too.
|Here's the view looking back at the entrance to the Siq. We should have gotten a photo of it before, so here it is now. The entrance is just behind that large, domed rock on the left.
|Finally, we just had the long boulevard left to climb. Horse vendors were anxious to convince tourists to use their services.
|Here's an artsy shot of our long shadows.
|Here's the view of Wadi Musa as we were nearly at the ticket gate. It was 3 1/2 hours since we had started out.
|We ate lunch at the Zad Restaurant, which showed up on the receipt as "The Indiana Jones Cafe."
|We don't remember what we ordered but it looked like this.
|We had some time to kill, so we took one of the only seats in the square that still had sunlight on them.
|A pair of stray cats were also taking advantage of the late afternoon sun. We still had time before we were supposed to meet our driver, so we decided to go walking outside the complex looking for him.
|We found him parked nearby right away, so off we went to check in at the Beit Zaman Hotel.
|It was an steep path uphill through a maze of buildings to get to our room, ...
|... in the building on the left ...
|... in room 411, the door in the center of this photo.
|Here's our spacious room, ...
|... and here's the bathroom.
|With sunset coming quickly, we immediately headed back out to explore the hotel grounds. Here's a lovely park area.
|Up on the hill, we could see the overlook we had visited earlier in the day, visible in the upper left of this photo.
|Here's an unassuming little tree.
|But look closer at what appears to be the only fruit on the tree and you'll see that it is what's left of a pomegranate. Now we have seen an actual pomegranate tree in real life.
|The resort had a nice, empty pool, but we were just looking.
|Dinner was included in our tour price and consisted of a delicious Middle Eastern buffet.
Yum. We could eat food like this forever.
Copyright © Deborah Schilling/Thomas Bundy