After a four hour coach journey from Amman at 6am I had finally arrived in Petra! World Heritage site and on the bucket list of many people, this was a once in a lifetime experience and I was going to cherish every moment of it. I had not anticipated how big it was, the sheer scale and size of this archaeological site was overwhelming. I explored it within the two days I had planned to stay here but I could have spent much longer, just sitting and appreciating its beauty and in self-reflection.
There is a free horse ride included in the ticket price, which saved a bit of walking but also introduced me to the local Bedouins. It was really interesting to hear a lot of them had international wives, who had visited Petra on holiday and ended up falling in love with the Bedouin life.
Entering the treasury I met the many Bedouins who live in Petra, I was offered a tour guide for hiking on the top of Petra, I instantly connected with my guide Ahkif and immediately I said yes. I hadn’t thought it through properly, the climb to the top was not easy but once there away from the crowds of people the view was incredible!
We continued to trek around the top of Petra without any other tourists, pulling ourselves up on the rocks and hiking, it was exciting and I was so glad I had said yes. We would stop in the Bedouin huts for some mint tea and a chat with the other Bedouins, they welcomed us because we were interested in hearing all about their lives. The cutest puppies I have ever seen kept trying to take a lick of my tea. We carried on hiking and as we did the Bedouins would shout to each other across the top of the canyon where their voices would echo. We spent six hours on the trek but I enjoyed every moment of it, I was at one with nature. This experience was priceless.
Later that evening we had dinner in the cave, we drove up in a jeep into Petra after dark. As we drove up the canyon I saw the most incredible white light shining from the full moon which I had never seen before in my life. It was incredibly bright and luminescent. There was no other light pollution to disturb its completeness. There were a few other tourists in the cave from Brazil and France. We sat together cut fresh vegetables, added salt and spices, wrapped it up in foil and left it to cook on the open campfire as we gazed at the full moon. This was so simple yet so delicious, the best food I had throughout my entire time in Jordan. We sat and discussed world politics, it was a very memorable night.
The next day we met early to trek to the monastery, I was short of time because I was leaving for Wadi Rum in the afternoon so my guide appeared with donkeys! This was to save the walk up 800 steps which I was thankful for still tired from the trek the day before. Riding a donkey down rocky mountainous steps was scary especially as my donkey would veer to the edge. ‘He is trained to do that to avoid tourists’ said my guide Akif trying to comfort me, but there was no one else there so it did not help much, one slip and that would have been the end! I never imagined I would be riding a donkey, they are much safer to ride on this terrain as horses can slip. As we arrived to the Monastery there was a service in progress.
Bedouins have become fearless in the canyon, running up sides and climbing, it was inspiring to witness and gave me the strength to face my fear of heights. I tried to climb as much as possible.
I sat on the edge of the canyon with my Bedouin guide, it was the most absolute silence I have ever experienced, not a single sound. We sat, didn’t speak and appreciated it, it was the perfect place for self reflection. This was soon disturbed by a group of Italian tourists who asked their own guide if we were all ‘locals’. I had finally become one with the Bedouins and integrated myself. In that moment my guide said I was family.
I’d had a great couple of days in Petra with my amazing guide, it was beautiful place to be as was the hospitality, I took many things from this experience.
Now it was time to go onto the desert camp in Wadi Rum !