Saturday, 11 August 2012

The Awesomeness of Petra

The colourful canyon entrance

Once we arrived in Wadi Musa we discovered that we couldn't check into our room until 2pm, so we filled in the time by finding a long overdue lunch and then quickly dumped our bags in our room.  We were so excited to get into Petra, and since it was so hot and we were sweating like pigs anyway, we decided to for-go a shower and head straight to the site.  We were feeling feral after our night in the desert, but sometimes exploring ancient ruins over-rides such things!
The Treasury!

We walked down the steep road from town to the entrance and bought ourselves a 3 day pass.  It's then a 2km walk through the desert which leads into an outstanding multi-colored and multi-layered canyon before you finally come around a corner and see the infamous Treasury carved into the rock face.  It was spectacular, partly due to the setting and partly due to the enormity of it.  The afternoon passed very quickly as we explored the site down as far as the Royal Tombs.  We even got to see a Bollywood film being made in front of one of the rock temples, although we're yet to discover its release...  

A colourful Royal Tomb
The Monastery of Indiana Jones fame
Since the site was meant to close at 6pm we stopped at the Royal Tombs and started the long trek back through the valley followed by the hot, hard climb back up the hilll to town.  Upon arriving in our room we were disappointed to discover that out hotel had no hot water, but we were both in such a need of a shower, and it was so hot anyway, that we braved the cold water before heading out to explore the town and find something to eat.

Rewarding view over Petra from the Place of High Sacrifice
Over the following two days we managed to make a fairly thorough exploration of the Petra site.  We climbed the 800 steps to the Monastery, it was worth the sweat and pain, as the Monastery is very impressive (some of you may know it from Indiana Jones...) and the view out over the valley behind the Petra site is also worth seeing. 

The morning hike up the to Place of High Sacrifice was not as hard as to the Monastery but we thought it had a better view as from the very top you could see the whole of the Petra valley and it gave a really good idea of the layout of the site and showed how massive the place really was - we would actually recommend people check it out on their first day.   We were glad we'd bought a 3 day pass as there were places that were off the tourist trail that were worth exploring, although the most famous temples are so famous for good reasons!

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