Petra to Madaba : a long walk in the hills.

Petra Travel Blog

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Cameron in the canyon. [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]

[ Owing to the loss of my camera in Egypt, photos for this entry since donated through the generosity of travel pals Cameron & Nicole.  I thank you both! ]

The Jordan Gang (Nicole, Cameron, Kylie, Thu & I) all leave for Petra as early as possible today in Nic & Cam's hire car.  In reality we don't get tere much earlier than yesterday but enough so that by the time we reach The Treasury it is still nearly entirely vacant of tourists.  A Perfect opportunity for better, clearer photos.  Nic & Cam have come well equipped with a fab SLR camera and large tripod stand for it.  Cam sets it up on a timer with fast shutter-repeat settings so that all of us in place, standing in line attempt to do mentalist star jumps and leaps in time with each other and the camera in front of this great monument.

Petra Jump 1 [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]
  Childish I know, but hilarious fun.  Slightly tiring too.  Never the best jumper me!

Kylie, Thu and I feel we've pretty much seen all that we wish to see of Petra and our minds are already moving on to northern Jordan, Madaba and the Dead Sea.  Still there is some high point climbing we've yet to do and we fancy accompanying Nic and Cam to see if we can end up on the opposite side to the gorge from where we looked down upon The Treasury in Promise's company yesterday.  Promise actually pitches up at our momentary point of indecison and shows us an 'off limits' quicker but quite precarious route up the cliff side (there are vestiges of an old Nabatean stairway hewn sporadically into the rock, as there are all over Petra) but after I put my amateur climbing and scrambling skills to the test as an advance party it's looking way, way too tricky and dangerous.

Petra Jump 3 [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]
  Besides I've been spotted and am being told to get down and away from it.  Bummer.

So we take the more orthodox route up the large stone stairway looping back behind the site of The Treasury towards a place on the cliff tops entitled Sacrafice Point (there are a couple such names in Petra).  We walk and walk, half guessing an approximate route in the direction we think we need to go but after sometime this is proving quite fruitless and despite the redirections of a couple of guided trek groups we've quizzed along the way it's clear we're not getting anywhere interesting fast.  Nic and Cam, still with a lot more of Petra to see than us (having arrived only at midday yesterday) take their leave and head back to Petra main.

Kylie, Thu and I keep on trekking and trudging on in half-baked, half-guessed directions.

:D [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]
  "If nothing shows at that point then we'll turn back."  trudge trudge trudge "ok, if nothing shows at the next point we'll turn back." trudge sweat trudge sweat  " Okay, if by the time we reach...."  You get the idea.  Essentially we're giving up on Petra by default walking on and on up into the hills.  Inauspicious dessicated carcases of goats long-deceased start to pop up on the trail.  Thu correctly points out that if these 'locals' to the area got stranded and dead then what does that mean for us :)  But eventually we ascend, and ascend aaaaaaaaaall the way out of the Petra valleys and onto a little road that once followed, eventually takes us all the way back along the highway to the basin rim of Wadi Musa.
Petra Gang on the Edge. [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]
  I must pay tribute to Thu at this point particularly.  At the start of her holiday in Nuweiba - the day before we met her - at the end of a snorkelling session she'd managed to step right onto a spiney Black Sea Urchin of the type that abound in the rocky nooks and ocean bed areas of the Red Sea waters.  Not good.  This has left a small but noticeable tattooed trail of angry looking black spots along the side of her left foot where no doubt the urchins defensive spines have broken off and rest, prickling within her.  The grace with which she bears the discomfort and frequently pain throughout our two days of hardcore trekking and clambering in Petra really is credit to her.  I would not have been so stoic I'm sure!

Eventually we make our way down and back to the hotel.

The shadows of friends upon the cliff. [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]
  Thu slightly hobbling now as we go.  We grab our stuff and negotiate a mini-bus fare (3 JD a head) outta town and up to Madaba, north west Jordan.  A long drive in the direction of Amman along the King's Highway we are dropped by the roadside at the turning for the capital Amman and have to try our luck flagging a bus going the other way to Madaba.  Thu, with her language skills tries her best to commandeer a lift for us but we are not on the receiving end of the usual Jordanian hospitality we've been becoming accustomed to.  Eventually though a yellow school bus kindly slows down, stops and takes us on board, directed to do so by the kindly teacher within it and takes us all the way to where we wish to be.
Nicole [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]

Kylie, Thu and I have a pleasant evening in Madaba a town in Jordan most notable for the much, much higher than average percentage presence of a practicing Christian populace.  We have a quick look at the famed mosaics set in the floor of St George's Church.  Not all that impressive really for anyone like me who's ever seen some really knock-out examples.  We then stroll around town and have a fabulous meal of rotissery chicken and local food stuffs.  Curious as to the uncharacteristic prevelance of liquor shops in Madaba (owing to the Christian majority here) we walk into one and have the best time talking to another fabulously friendly old Jordanian gentleman Naseem who's only too happy to talk to us for ages about family, life, Madaba, Jordan, drink and (awkwardly) politics brielfy whilst introducing us behind the counter to the Jordanian national liquor of Arak.

The incredibly beautiful Monestary bathed in late evening light. [ photo kindly provided by Cam & Nic ]
  This is the usual anaseed-laced drink that tends to be claimed as a national drink of many countries in the Middle East and Mediterannean as far as I can see.  Milky white when mixed with water and ice. Ouzo in Greece/ Cyprus for example.

Tomorrow sadly Thu and I will part company with our pal Kylie who needs to crack on to the Dead Sea much swifter than we.  we're doubling back down south later tommorrow to the Wadi Rum desert so purchase a small half-bottle of red wine produced in The Holy Land (Bethlehem) to knock back when we get there.  Cheers Naseem.  A toast to you, your family and your fabulous country!

Stevie_Wes says:
Hiya John, unfortunately without digging out my old note books from my travels I can't recall the exact time. I suspect it was about 5.30 or 6.00am that we started out towards the site. You can't get in until the ticket office opens anyway, so try and find that on some Jordanian travel site (or other blog) and get there as soon as doors open. To walk through the canyon without relatively few people in it is a real treat, but the flood rushes in pretty quickly.
Posted on: Feb 05, 2011
jgatus85 says:
what time did you guys go there in the morning?? I want to miss the tourist tsunami as well
Posted on: Jan 25, 2011
AMehta says:
well this is where one of my favourite indie movies would have been shot - judging from the photos..
Posted on: Nov 07, 2009
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Cameron in the canyon.  [ photo ki…
Cameron in the canyon. [ photo k…
Petra Jump 1  [ photo kindly provi…
Petra Jump 1 [ photo kindly prov…
Petra Jump 3  [ photo kindly provi…
Petra Jump 3 [ photo kindly prov…
:D  [ photo kindly provided by Cam…
:D [ photo kindly provided by Ca…
Petra Gang on the Edge.  [ photo k…
Petra Gang on the Edge. [ photo …
The shadows of friends upon the cl…
The shadows of friends upon the c…
Nicole  [ photo kindly provided by…
Nicole [ photo kindly provided b…
The incredibly beautiful Monestary…
The incredibly beautiful Monestar…
[ photo kindly provided by Cam & N…
[ photo kindly provided by Cam & …
Stevie sat upon a cliff.  [ photo …
Stevie sat upon a cliff. [ photo…
The  Treasury building, one of the…
The Treasury building, one of th…
Petra Jump 2  [ photo kindly provi…
Petra Jump 2 [ photo kindly prov…
Petra Jump 4  [ photo kindly provi…
Petra Jump 4 [ photo kindly prov…
Petra
photo by: vances