Petra, and more travel.

Petra Travel Blog

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Hello All,
Today I woke up at 6am for my free breakfast, and then my driver and I headed to the Petra National Park in time for 7am opening.  It was the perfect time to be there.  Hardly a soul was up that early, and that includes the many vendors that prey on tourists.  After paying the admission I did succumb to taking a horse to the entrance of the narrow valley that leads into the sight itself.  It was a nice break, and I bargained him down to almost nothing anyway.

Petra is a huge archaeological site in southwestern Jordan, and it is one of the best examples of rock-cut architecture in the world.  Nobody knows when it was founded, but it is allegedly mentioned in the Dead Sea Scrolls.  That's old.  Rock-cut means just that.  The early Nabataeans inhabitants carved their temples and tombs into the yellowish-orange rock that defines the canyons and gullies of the region.  It is really amazing to see, and the scale is massive.

The treasury building, or Al Khazneh is over 40 metres high, and you may remember it from the Indiana Jones movies as the entrance to the final resting place of the Holy Grail.  There are many other examples of this type on the site, and the visit was exhausting to walk.  I even rode a donkey up to the Byzantine Monastery which may have killed me if I had chosen to walk it.

After seeing the whole park, I checked out of the hotel and we taxied it out of town.  I was dropped off at the Israeli border, and then crossed over to the Israel-Egypt border in another taxi.  After crossing into Egypt I had to figure out how to get the 200 kilometres down to Sharm el Shiekh where I had a hotel reservation for the night.

There was a fleet of mini-busses waiting for occupants, and then the bargaining began.  Thankfully there were two twenty something Israeli guys, and a lone Israeli girl that needed to go southbound also.  Unfortunately, there was a language gap.  Only one of the guys spoke any English, and it was very little.  But he was a student at a university in Mexico City, so we actually communicated better in Spanish then anything else.  Wierd.

That shared van got me within about 100 kilometres of my destination.  At that point I used the leverage of shopping around again to knock another 50% of the cost of the rest of the trip, and had the van to myself for the rest of the way.  There was a hand-off to a local taxi for the last few kms before I arrived at the Crowne Plaza for the night.  It was a three country day.  I am really pushing the schedule on this trip.  At least I have a few days here to relax.

Later, Phil
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photo by: vances