Big breakfast buffet and down for day 2 at Petra. We decided that Colin and I would take a carriage to the end of the “flat” part and then walk up the 800 steps to the Monastery (fantastic views over the Rift Valley and a very well-preserved building). We would meet at the top. Anna being fitter and much faster caught up with us before we were half-way up the mountain (the carriages only taking 2 passengers, and costing 40 JD for the round-trip). Dosed with pain-killers my knees were ok for the way up and less so for the way down, but the building and the views were well worth it.
We spent about 1.5 hours up and then slowly made our way down, past all the stalls selling postcards, Bedouin hand-made “stuff”, tea, donkey rides and anything else you don’t want!!! At the bottom we could only find restaurants offering full buffet lunches, when we only wanted a small bite, so we sustained ourselves with lots of cold water and pop. We decided we needed to see a couple more buildings, including the Byzantine Church that has lovely mosaics. Anna and I were Petraed-out and went to find my carriage for the return trip out. A little argument/discussion since we had vaguely said we’d be ready at 2:30 and it was 3:30, but with ill grace the driver agreed to take us back. Horse carriages are a fairly uncomfortable way to travel, especially over rough rocks or rough cobbles, but they certainly beat slogging back on foot; having done the journey once on foot to stop and marvel at everything, and then once by carriage seemed a sensible combination. Other modes of transport in Petra include camels, horses and donkeys (popular for the steep uphill treks, but frankly terrifying to observe, and since my “problem” is downhill, not so useful!). Anna and I retired to the hotel to relax, swim, use the sauna and wonderful “recovery” room, while Colin went on further adventurous treks in Petra.
After dinner at a good local restaurant we met up with the American family and exchanged experiences. Turns out a boy friend is keen to do the London-Mongol Rally so we exchanged e-mail addresses. We also explored the fancy (expensive!) shops and bought some great Movenpick ice creams.
Gerry will be sharing her travels through Egypt and Jordan in a multimedia presentation as part of our 2011 Travel Day on October 29th. Check out this great day of programs on our homepage or through our program guide.
In the meantime, find out more about the history and inhabitants of Petra, check out these great books!