If you’ve been following my blog over the past few weeks, you probably realized that I did A LOT. Especially in Israel, my days were full – from waking up early to heading to bed totally exhausted, travelling to new cities almost every day. Jordan so far had not been an exception – so once I arrived by local bus in Wadi Musa, I really, really felt like I needed a rest day. Sometimes, when you travel for longer, this is what happens! You need a day just to relax, surf around and get some things in order. Also, weather was grey-ish on my (originally planned) first Petra day which would have been bad for photos. Since I had one buffer day anyways, the decision was easy, and I only left the hostel grounds for lunch and dinner that day!
As things go, it ended up being a good decision: the next two days were fully sunny and I met some cool people to explore Petra together with. There are one or two things you have to understand when it comes to Petra: It is a huge site, not just that one famous Treasury carved into the red rock. And the best way to see it is to spend at least 2 days trekking around the site, going up to different view points – it is all about the views!
I was lucky to be trekking with two guys who were even more into photography than I am. While usually, among backpackers, I’m the most crazy photographer, I was nothing compared to them – also in terms of experience and skills! So I ended up with lots of cool photos of myself from these two days. For once – not someone cutting off my feet and/or the top of the building. Haha!
Best Petra group!
Walking through the Siq
Me in front of the Treasury
On the first day, we maybe exaggerated a little. We first climbed up to a kind of unofficial viewpoint of the Treasury which one of the bedouins showed to us. He also explained to us a path crossing over to the High Place of Sacrifice – along which we had some of the most amazing views over the area. Definitely worth paying that bedouin some overcharged tourist fee for showing the trails!
Unofficial Treasury viewpoint
Views along the way to the High Place of Sacrifice
We then continued the trail down to the other side, ending at the two restaurants – a good time for a much needed lunch break! Sun was also burning down at this point, so we kind of passed out for about 2 h in the restaurant. Lol. In our defense, we were the first ones entering Petra that day, being at the gate slightly before 6 am already!
Trek down from High Place of Sacrifice
Trek down from High Place of Sacrifice
After re-fulling and re-charging our energy, we went for the long walk up to the Monastery. Many, many steps! And annoying donkey traffic, carrying useless tourists up and down. Oh well. We went up in the late afternoon and ended up staying almost until sunset. We did not stay until sunset since the Monastery was getting into the shade step by step, so the light conditions would not have been great. I guess around 4 pm light was at its best.
Rocks around the Monastery
I liked the Monastery, however, I preferred the Treasury (contrary to many people). The Monastery looks almost a bit too fake or restored to me – not sure if this is the case, but that is what it looks like to me. The Treasury had something more fascinating about it, probably also because you are reaching it after walking through the Siq (canyon) for about 20 min. After we left the Monastery, we only realized how absolutely exhausted we were. While I was fine for the first hour or so (of our long way back to the entrance), in the end I also felt my legs and every meter seemed just too long. In the end of course we made it – but let me say – do not underestimate the way back to the entrance after a long day in Petra!
On my second day in Petra, my group was down to Chris and myself and we decided to take it a lot slower. We had seen most of the highlights, so we only spent half a day more exploring the rest. We were also really, really done from the day before and our legs and feet still in pain! Still, we opted for another 6 am start to get the best light. We first took the trail past the Royal Tombs up to the other (official) viewpoint of the Treasury. It was nice, but I must say – I preferred our unofficial one from the day before.
Official Treasury viewpoint
Walk up to the viewpoint
Then, we explored some of the ruins in the center (around the colonnaded road) a bit closer. However, I seen realized that this was nothing major (some Roman ruins I had seen were better for sure), so after a quick round and some pictures, I called it quits and said goodbye to Petra. Was it as expected? To be honest, it was much, much better. While there is probably better ruins and carved out buildings to see in other places, it’s the whole setting that makes Petra special. The long walk through the Siq to reach the Treasury, the different viewpoints, the little cafes up there run by bedouins (looking like Jack Sparrow’s brothers), the surrounding landscape… Petra you have been absolutely amazing!!
Typical bedouin cafe
Ruins at the central part of Petra
Bedouin…or Jack Sparrow!?