Wadi Musa, Jordan, Asia
Today was absolutely incredible! I got to visit Petra for the first time, and it did not disappoint. I started out this morning at El Rashid Hotel and had a quick breakfast and moved my stuff back up the hill to Rocky Mountain Hotel. I couldn’t check in, but I left my bags and walked down to Petra. It was about a 25 minute walk through Wadi Musa to get to the visitor center. I bought a three day ticket so I will not feel pressured to see everything in a day.
It was a longer walk than I had expected from the tourist center through the Siq which was pretty awesome on its own. It is a walkway in between rock cliffs of sandstone that are incredibly impressive. Eventually it opens up to the most famous site at Petra, the Treasury. It was surreal seeing this wonder that has been in movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, and Transformers 2. It was even more impressive than I had expected it to be.
I hung out at the Treasury for a while and then moved on to see what else Petra had to offer. There are hundreds of caves and carvings that have been there for thousands of years. Some of them are more preserved than others, but all are pretty cool to see. You are allowed to enter some of the caves, but not all of them. The Treasury is one you are not allowed to enter. I made it past the 3,000 seater amphitheater and down the road of Roman Columns.
I decided to walk up to the Monastery today so I could get most of the walking out of the way today. That may have been a mistake. It was so hot by the time I started to walk up the 800 steps to the Monastery that I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. I soldiered on and finally got there and it was well worth it. It looked similar to the Treasury, but less ornate and a little bigger. This is where Karl Pilkington decided that he’d rather be living in the cave across from the Monastery instead of inside the Monastery, because then he could wake up every morning and have that as his view. Strange logic from a strange man.
There were four viewpoints from near the Monastery that blew me away. I had no idea that on the other side of Petra was a canyon. It is absolutely massive, and green! It was so unexpected, it was a really nice surprise. I finished up near the Monastery and decided it was time to start heading back. It took a couple of hours to get from the top of the hill down through the Siq and to the visitor’s center.
One of the more disappointing things I saw today was all the camels, horses and donkeys being used to give people rides up to the Monastery and around Petra. These poor animals were carrying all the people who really needed to be walking, up the hill at the hottest time of the day. They were being whipped the whole way with a piece of rope or wire by little boys who were looking for a good tip at the end of the ride. It was pretty sad to see, but I guess it will keep going on as long as people keep paying for it. I was surprised to see horses and donkeys going down stairs though. I thought their knee joints were built so they couldn’t go down stairs. Or maybe it’s just really uncomfortable for them, which made this whole ordeal even worse.
I got a taxi back to the Rocky Mountain Hotel where I could finally check in and got a much needed shower. I’m having dinner at the hotel tonight and then just going to chill here. I’m exhausted after all that walking in the scorching sun. Tomorrow I won’t have to go for such a big walk, but I’ll be out there again. There’s still a lot of Petra to explore!