After Madaba, we headed to Petra. Arriving later in the afternoon (stopping along the way a bunch of times to check out the views) we were able to spend 3 hours inside the grounds.
Petra went way beyond my expectations. At over 2000 years old, my pictures don’t even begin to do it justice. The 1km walk through the narrow, winding gorge of the Siq (walls are anywhere from 300-600ft high) leading to the Treasury (the picture with S&M & the camel) was one of the most awe-inspiring things I’ve ever done.
Once inside, we slowly meandered around the ruins, the boys exploring inside the ones we were able to go into. We began the long walk back to the Treasury and eventually through the Siq around 5pm and it felt like we had the place to ourselves. The tour groups were gone as were most of the hardcore early morning warriors. It was peaceful and relaxing. After a delicious dinner (the food in Jordan...yum!) I put the boys to bed and since our hotel was so close to the entrance, I was able to walk back and enjoy the night walk through the Siq, to the Treasury. It was an interesting perspective seeing it lit up by candles and a spotlight at night. While the program was going on, I simply laid down on the ground (everyone was sitting) and stared up at the sky and the stars. They were everywhere. And it was a very surreal experience, knowing I was in a place that over 2000 years ago people thrived and were creating something amazing
We returned the following day, again later in the afternoon when it was cooler and explored lots more. We trekked 5km and climbed 1112 steps (yes, Sully ((who has gone full Arab since leaving Oman - his turban hasn’t left his head)) counted them all) to arrive at the even larger Monastery. We hung out there for a while to catch our breath, rest our legs and absorb all that was around us. Even a local Bedouin who decided to climb right to the top and entertain us! Walking back, there was some complaining from my two copilots. Their legs were sore, they were exhausted and it was hot. They had been troopers throughout Petra, so I splurged on a donkey ($10!) and they rode it the 4km back to the entrance. Max's pony riding skills from New Zealand were put to good use, as he was in control. Sully wanted nothing to do with being in charge. The whining stopped and was quickly replaced by laughter and excitement. Thanks, Donkey.
Petra was 2 days of eye-popping, jaw-dropping amazement. There’s a reason it’s a Wonder of the World. Go.