First Day at Petra

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About 80 km south on the Kings Highway from Dana is Petra.  Along the way, we picked up a hitchhiker.  Not our usual routine, but he was standing at a police checkpoint where we stopped.  And when somebody asks you "are you going to Petra?" on the road to Petra, there aren't a whole lot of excuses.  So no big deal in the end.

Again we timed our arrival perfectly for the hottest part of the day (around 1pm).  We purchased 2-day tickets for 26 JOD each and headed for the entry gate.  Trying to keep it real, we've stuck with long pants while in Jordan.  But upon entering Petra, we quickly learned the uniform for tourists here is short shorts and long white socks.  Duly noted.

The size of Petra is really staggering.  Throw in the weather conditions, and you really need to be smart and selective about what you attempt to see and do.  We're not going to get into all the history here, as that's a bit above our pay grade.  So here's the wikipedia entry if you need a primer.  Or rent Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

You enter Petra via the Siq, a narrow gorge, and after about 30-minutes of walking you end up with this in your sights:


That's the peek-a-boo view of the Treasury.  After emerging from the Siq completely, here it is in all its glory:

We then went the High Place of Sacrifice route looping down into Wadi Farasa and back to the main street.  It's a pretty healthy climb to the top, where the Nabateans performed religious ceremonies--likely including human sacrifices  Here's a view down:

We bumped into a dozen or so tourists up here, but then only saw one other tourist on the rest of the loop.  There are no directional signs at Petra, so unless you have your own guide book (we were using the Rough Guide) you really don't have a prayer of finding things off the main tourist track.

Plenty of Bedouins living down in Wadi Farasa with small gift tables, though.  You can see some of their goats hanging out here:

The below triclinium was one of our favorites.  Incredibly colorful and unique in that interiors were otherwise never carved.  There was crown molding on the ceiling and totally straight etchings around the windows.  Just amazing.


This is the view from the triclinium across to the Roman Soldier Tomb:

The Renaissance Tomb:

The Broken Pediment Tomb:

Five plus hours later we were back in the car and headed to our hotel to check-in.  We stayed at the Golden Tulip Kings Way Petra.  I got a pretty fantastic rate of $45 here thanks to an overly generous (and now expired) promotion from  It's supposed to be one of the nicer hotels in Petra, but it's definitely getting old and tired.  Though it absolutely served it's purpose.  If you don't have a car or aren't on a tour bus, there's no reason to stay here as it's a few km away from the main gate to Petra.

We relaxed here for a bit before heading out at 7:30pm for dinner.  We went to Red Cave on the tourist road outside the entry gate, and it was surprisingly good food.  Finally got to eat some of the lamb we've seen running around everywhere.

Then we went to Petra by Night at 8:30pm.  Two days per week, they light candles all down the Siq and around the Treasury.  You are ushered to a mat and served hot tea during a short performance of Bedouin music.  It's worth going to if you're there, but it's also super corny.  It's 12 JOD per ticket and you can buy these tickets at the Petra Visitors Center--all the guide books seem to say you need to buy them from some specific tourist agencies, but that's absolutely not the case.  Plus we purchased ours right before eating dinner that same night.

Here's a long exposure of the Treasury at night:


Simply stunning--though I'm a bit perplexed on scale given the pic of Lillie and the Renaissance Tomb. Also, can you not enter any of the structures?

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