I’m going to pick back up on our trip to Israel and Jordan. If you missed my first post on Jerusalem, feel free to check it out from a few posts back, or just search “Jerusalem” 🙂
In Israel, Shabbat, the Jewish day of rest, is observed from sundown on Friday until sundown on Saturday. During this time, a lot of shops and restaurants are closed, and a lot of taxis and public transportation don’t run. We had read that Tel Aviv, where we were staying, wasn’t super strict, but didn’t want to take our chances. We only had a few days time to explore and wanted to get the most out of our trip that we could! Patrick and I along with 11 other Vanderbilt students headed out of Israel and into the neighboring country of Jordan. Patrick REALLY wanted to visit Petra because of Indiana Jones. I’ve not seen it, so I didn’t really know what all the fuss was about other than the fact that Petra is listed as one of the New Wonders of the World. I’d not ever seen a World Wonder and thought Petra would be cool to see for that fact alone, so I was game! What a surprise I was in for! Petra is AMAZING! A definite must if you ever get the opportunity!
We hit the road before the sun was up, and got to take in this gorgeous sun rise while en route…
It was a LONG but beautiful drive through Israel to Jordan! Though I didn’t catch a picture, the coolest thing I saw was a wild ostrich on the side of the road!
I thought it was only going to take us about 3-4 hours tops to get to Petra, but it took about that long just to get to the border crossing. It was really cool to be able to walk across the border into another country!
It took another 4-5 hours to get to Petra…this day was like the longest day of my life y’all! We stopped for a traditional Jordanian lunch. I didn’t know what much of anything was. It tasted really good going down, but didn’t sit so well with me…thank goodness for peppermint oil, can’t leave home without it!
Once at Petra, we were instructed to use the restrooms at the front because there wouldn’t be many other places to go once inside. It was in this restroom that I experienced one of the oddest cultural differences of my life. Before entering my stall, a woman handed me little wad of toilet paper, maybe 6 or 7 sheets worth. I have never before been given a ration of toilet paper! All I could think was “Thank goodness I only have to pee!” How mortifying would it be to have to ask for more?! Another strange bathroom finding in Jordan is a hose. Each bathroom I went into had one! I guess it’s sorta like a French bidet?
Petra is pretty darned fascinating! It is Jordan’s biggest tourist attraction and I can completely see why! In case you aren’t familiar (I wasn’t! I’d never heard of it!) Petra is an ancient city carved into rock. I truly felt as if I was in another world! As we traveled the narrow passageways of the Siq, our tour guide explained how well planned this ancient city was – it even had its own hydraulic system!
Petra’s most elaborate structure is “The Treasury” It’s believed that this may have been a temple or a mausoleum of some sort, quite possibly for someone of high importance due to the intricacy of it. At one point, tourists could go inside, but are no longer permitted to for safety reasons. How amazing is it that these carvings have stood the test of time?!
Tourists are however permitted to explore all the caves that litter the mountains. Remember how we were instructed to use the restrooms at the start? I think people who didn’t do that used these instead 🙁 Most were pretty smelly, but still very cool to explore!
A view inside the caves…this was one of the more elaborate ones…
Petra is called the “Lost City”, though it was never really lost to people of the area. The entire city is believed to have been a market place of sorts, that played a hand in trading. The caves weren’t homes, but rather tombs for the wealthy deceased. An earthquake is what is believed to have brought on the end of life in Petra.
It was somewhat of a dream come true to finally talk Patrick into a camel ride! I loved it, but Patrick wasn’t really a fan. I don’t think Patrick’s camel was a fan either lol I’m pretty confident he broke his camels knees on his dismount! Let me tell you, camels are some large creatures! I had no idea just how tall they are until looking down from atop!
After leaving Petra, we headed to a Bedouin Camp in Wadi Rum. It was about 8 PM when we got there, so it was dark, however I have never in my life seen so many stars! It was breathtaking! No photo could ever do it justice unfortunately! Y’all know I tried for you right?! 😉
The Bedouin Camp was party central! The music was blasting, the people were dancing, I would have loved to have been able to experience it more, but I was just too exhausted! We ate dinner, Facetimed the kiddos (Wifi in the dessert…who knew?!) then settled into our humble abode for the night haha…
Though equipped with 2 twin sized beds, it was so cold that Patrick and I opted to sleep in one together! I was so tired I passed out even with the blasting music. Snoring from a neighboring tent woke me in the middle of the night…not cool! It was kind of a miserable nights sleep, but we got the most hours the entire trip there.
We had no idea the beauty we were going to sleep in! We awoke to one of the most beautiful views I’ve ever seen! I’ll start my next post, “Wadi Rum” with that view, so be sure to stay tuned for more on this amazingly beautiful trip!
TIPS FOR VISITING PETRA
- Be prepared for the drive. Petra is in the middle of nowhere, dessert, Jordan.
- Wear supportive tennis shoes! I had on a pair of slip on sneakers and I struggled a bit.
- Wear sunblock. It’s easy to forget you are in the middle of the dessert here, but you’re in the middle of the dessert and the sun will get you!
- Eat before and bring water with you as there aren’t places to eat or drink once past the entrance.
- Again, use the restrooms before entering! Nowhere to go once inside.
- Barter with the camel, horse and donkey owners! One man wanted to charge us $40 for 2 camels or $25 for us to both ride one camel, but we ended up only spending $15 for 2 camels with another owner!
- Bring your camera! Duh!
- Once you’ve been in one of the caves, you’ve been in them all. They aren’t anything spectacular from the inside. It’s the outside of them that sets them apart.
- Prepare yourself for some funky smells in the caves…
- Jordanian people are very kind and accommodating! You can barter with them on prices of goods, though it’s not even super necessary…we got a carved magnet for $1 without bartering!
- Be prepared to walk! My hubby tracked our walk, and it was 7 miles round trip!
- Be prepared for children to try to sell to you 🙁 They are super sweet and respectful, but are bold enough to come right up and ask you to buy from them.
I can’t say enough good things about Jordan! We had an amazing experience there! I don’t think many people would think to travel to Jordan as a vacation, but I would go back there in a heartbeat! If you ever get the chance, snatch it up, you’ll never regret it!
Be Blessed + Be A Blessing