Petra (Five days before the flash floods)

So sad to hear today that there have been more flash floods in Petra. This blog was written just after we visited.

I was sitting in the Hotel at breakfast remembering in Ireland where they so charmingly sit you at the table and ask you what hot meal you would like and sometime have trouble understanding what ‘Sunny side up is’ and thinking it really is nicer than navigating around a buffet finding where the honey is hidden. At that time I was idly watching a child cut herself a piece of bread and it occurred to me that it may not be terribly hygienic. As if to prove my point this gorgeous little girl stood back, looked at the bread thoughtfully , scratched her bum and then sliced another piece. The joys of travel. Obviously no accompanying picture to this one!)

Gosh I wish there was another way to let you see the atmosphere of history and magnificence of the rocks and buildings my words and photos really don’t do it justice. You have to go. NOW before the tourist trade grows. (Written a coupe of days ago) (Jerusalem is terribly overcrowded but thats another blog

Downtown Petra



We started off to see Petra very early as advised by David of ‘Departures travel’  (Btw the way many of your tips and suggestions were much appreciated David)
The first sight of the Treasury through the crack in the canyon is so impressive. I can’t think what it must have been like for the Swiss guy who had first heard about the city and took some time to persuade the Arabs to take him to it.  Petra is ENORMOUS.  much more that the Treasury which is in all the pictures.  There are the Kings Tombs, the Amphitheater, the Monastery, (which is twice the size of the Treasury) Downtown Petra where the shops were of course and you can almost feel the bustle of trade there must have been then.  (Did I say in the last blog how Juresh would have made Dubai’s shopping Malls look common.) You have to hand it to the middle Easterners they know how to shop.
Petra is said to be 100 sq miles and due to flash floods and earthquakes only about 65% of it is excavated.
The church still has the mosaic design on the floor perfectly preserved because it is the actual color of the stones not painted stones.  It was not as crowded as last night and it was easy to avoid any other tourists.    There are 900 steps up to the monastery and a bit of a hike to get to the steps so there is an option of riding camels to downtown or donkeys/mules up to the monastery. Pat and I chose to walk.  It was a bit hairy as you had to listen out for donkeys and camels coming up behind you.  Camels are surprisingly quiet and sometimes going quite fast,    The donkeys climb those steps at a 80 degree angle and it looks terrifying… actually I believe it is terrifying as the faces of those who rode them did not look relaxed.  . There are stalls on the way up to the monastery and we had to stop at one for a refreshing mint and lemon as he was calling out “have a break , have a Kit Kat.”
The local male Bedouins wear Kohl around their eyes and are really very beautiful in an androgynous type of way.  Keith Richards must have taken his look from them and a lot of them look like Johnny Depp.
We were both very proud of ourselves climbing up there and then some more up a cliff to the “worlds finest view’.  There are about 15 of those in Petra alone.


We did a 2nd day in Petra and in the afternoon our guide took us to Little Petra.  This is a place where they kept the camels and traders to rest before they would go into Petra.  Behind it it the second oldest village in the world. (The oldest is Jericho). Beidha is from 2000 BC!  They have only started excavating it and unfortunately Jordan hasn’t the money to wok more on it at the moment.  We saw another ancient tomb from neothleitc days that the Bedoiuns used for shading their camels and  Its quite sad to see all these places which were heaving with prosperity and now there is a shortage of Water and Jordan is so poor.  Since 9/11 they have had big drops in the tourist trade which is one of their top incomes and there is a shortage of water.
Throughout all of this there is the most incredible terrain with sights across wide expanses of land seeing the Red Sea , the Dead Sea and the Sea of Galilee all at once.  I find myself imagining just what it must have been like when Moses walked through all this.  Our Guide Emad has been Wonderful telling us about it all from the Koran which of course is very similar as in the Bible.  It has been a real treat to have him as he clearly loves his job and apologies for talking too much.  He even decided to top at an Olive Oil factory thats not really for tourists but they were happy enough to let us in to look around and really very friendly.  One of them came up to me to tell me he had been in Virginia so we all started sing ‘on the blue ridge mountains o Virginia…’The smell of Olives was fantastic.
Wadi rum next

Published by janeoconnor2000

Nurse, Singer/Guitar player. Sailing instructor traveling around any way possible.

13 thoughts on “Petra (Five days before the flash floods)

  1. I am delighted that you saw Petra early in the am and again at night and VERY IMPRESSED that you walked to the Monastery!, and the view from there is worth the long hike…and Petra as you have pointed out is a huge site and does need two days minimum….


  2. Fascinating…I wonder why kohl around the eyes?
    Why is The Treasury in a wall?
    Sooo relieved you missed the floods.


  3. Another fabulous trip, always love reading your blogs and seeing the pics. I’ve forwarded them to Mark too who always loves them.

    The flash floods have been dreadful, we’ve been watching videos on BBC website.

    Where you off to next? How long will you be away?

    We’re off to Marrakesh next weekend for 6 days. We’ve got 3 rounds of golf booked. Michael Campbell and his partner Mark coming with us. They have been having golf lessons over the last year as they want to be able to play when they retire.



  4. Jane,
    Such a wonderful description! Thank you very much for sharing your impressions and how singularly spectacular this place is! More for the bucket list!


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