It was a good night’s sleep for the first time in days. We awoke refreshed but it started off slow. Our driver didn’t show-up at 7am. After fighting with my phone and doubting that I had properly confirmed the reservation, the tour operation called me back and sent a replacement. (First guy was AWOL)
The drive, half of it along the dead sea, the other half through desert and desert mountain, felt long. But it was beautiful in parts, especially the windey mountainous part. We got to the local city, Wadi Musa or Valley of Moses which obviously has no other purpose than to handle tourists. We grabbed some Pringles and candy and bought our tickets. (21 jd adults, kids free)
Horse rides were an extra $12 each for a half-mile trot to the entrance, but they were worth it in the hot sun, especially on the way back when we were exhausted. Emma gallopped by herself even after Trisha advised her not to (and she loved it. )
Memorable ruins are made spectacular by the surrounding scenery. A narrow gully with walls over 200 feet high wind toward the city. The sandstone is layerd in rich colors. Once you get through the gully into the more open city area, it’s high desert at it’s best with amazing rock formations both near and far.
The Nebataean civilization is astonishing. Nomadic Bedouins were the owners of the only passage through the mountains, and they knew how to find water. The trade routes had to come through Petra and were charged for the access and water. It basically became filthy rich overnight. You can see elements of almost every major civilization around at that point, from Damascus, Athens, Rome, Byzantium, and Egypt. They were independent for only about 400 years, 100bc to 300ad and were Roman or Islamic ruled afterward untill water trade routes and a few earthquakes caused the inhabitants to abandon the city. It’s like a desert Atlantis, but real.
We went in low-season and the guide was happy for the work. It’s amazing how much access they give tourists. We could climb all over the place and Lily enjoyed the rock climbing a lot. Emma was beginning to get a sense of the scale of history here. You could see her looking at the roman-created cobblestone road with awe. It was hot and dry – the kids made it almost 3 hours before beginning to tire but they never whined. We all passed out in the back of the car on the way to the hotel. We jumped in the pool, ate some pizza and ice cream and straight to bed.
[Photos by Trisha Creekmore]