|Wednesday 30th May - Jordan - Wadi Rum
What an absolutely wonderful day! Petra is unbelievably beautiful. I think the wonder of it all is the beautiful combination of man-made and natural. The rock formations are magnificent and then the ancient buildings are jaw-droppingly awesome. The site is very large and spread out, you could easily spend days exploring it.
We had read a bit about Petra and had decided that the three main things we wanted to see were the siq, treasury and monastery. The siq is a natural rock gorge that you walk through to get to the archaeological site. The treasury is the first view you get when you emerge from the siq its the famous Indiana Jones view of Petra. The monastery is one of the high places which you reach by climbing hundreds of steps. We hoped to be able to visit these sites and get back to the hotel before noon so we could then check-out and go for a swim before leaving Wadi Musa. We werent sure if our plan was feasible with the two kids in tow, but we thought wed give it a go.
Petra opens at 6am, we didnt quite make that, but we left the hotel at 7.30 and walked a couple of hundred metres down the road to the entrance. From there its about 2km down the incredible, narrow siq - we took a horse-drawn carriage for this section. Everyone always says it about Petra, but the first view of the treasury is amazing.
When we got out of the carriage Andrew stopped to take some photos. I was standing, holding Naomi and staring up at this huge building carved out of the rock and then I looked round and saw Keziah standing beside me just staring up with her mouth wide open. It takes a pretty good building to impress a four year old.
We walked down from the treasury in search of a donkey, as we thought that might be the best way to get to the monastery and back with the children. It turned out to be an excellent idea. The girls loved the donkey. Keziah sat at the front and Naomi sat behind her. It took about an hour to get up to the monastery and about 40 minutes to get back down to the treasury. For that whole time the girls were very content, Naomi even fell asleep for the last 15 minutes of it.
Donkeys are fantastic animals. Every outdoor-loving person who has children should have a donkey. If wed thought about it earlier we could have kept up our pre-children rate of munro-bagging!
The walk to the monastery is very scenic. The hills and rocks all around are strewn with ancient monuments and tombs. The path winds up 900 steps and then turns a corner to drop you outside the front of the monastery. Its a bit like the treasury, only bigger and not so finely hewn. The girls got off the donkey and we all had a snack and a drink. The Bedouin man who was leading the donkey was very kind to the children, they liked him and were happy to chat to him. He gave them Bedouin names Naomi is Aisha and Keziah is Salama. They were quite taken with that.
Anyway, after getting back to the treasury we met up with our carriage for the drive back along the siq to Petras entrance. We arrived back at the hotel at about 11.30, in time for check-out, lunch and swim. Our trip to Petra had been a great success, for all 4 of us.
We then drove on to Wadi Rum the desert. What can I say about Wadi Rum? Its wild, beautiful, dramatic. I keep expecting to see Clint Eastwood emerge from behind a rock and come strolling over to us. We are rough-camping and tomorrow we hope to spend the morning exploring a bit more of Wadi Rum.