Monday, July 27, 2015

Petra, Jordan, Part 2: Deep In The Heart Of Petra

We used Day 2 of Petra to explore further into the city. The National Park is huge, and there are tons of routes and trails you can choose to take, all of which will lead you to separate buildings and scenes and stories.  And a lot of Petra still remains un-excavated!   

You know, just taking our time going through the Siiq by taking more ridic jumping photos

Cliffnotes of the Day:
  • Since we wanted to see as much of Petra as possible, we decided to go the mule route and hired mules for the day to cart us around.  I really wish I could remember my mule's complex Arabic name. 
  • I'll say it again - Petra is HUGE.  There is so, so much to see.  Our focus for the day was to see another incredibly well-known building called the Monastery, which was much, much, much (x3) farther than the Treasury.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves
My mule looks like a total monster next to Drew's.  We are in front of the stadium in Petra - I can't imagine how long that thing took to carve out

A former relief carved into the walls of the Siiq that's since been worn down by erosion. You can see it used to be a man leading a camel and a caravan - all you can really see now are his feet and the camel's hooves.  For something 2,200 years old, however - pretty legit
My favorite part was that you could see so many buildings hidden in the rocks in various shape - some were still pretty intact, while others were so eroded that you had to look hard to see the faintest trace that there used to be something there
Drew's mule was slow (who can blame him!? He was like, half the size of my mule) - so our guide took a bunch of photos of me and my mule in front of a canyon while we waited
Not only that, but Drew's mule had to carry this boy with them too
The ride up to the monastery was so, so gorgeous - like huge valleys and cliffs and rock formations and crazy winding paths with dangerous-looking stairs and such.  I started to feel terrible for my mule for having to haul me up the steep trails. I'm sorry about my ice cream habit, mule-friend

Our little caravan, approaching buildings in the background

After the longest, craziest path through steep winding walkways overlooking breathtaking gorges, we arrived at the Monastery!  It's in such a remote location, and again - IT IS GIGANTOR

To get an idea of scale and how huge this building is - I am the tiny green speck at the bottom. 

The building wasn't a monastery at all despite its nickname; they think it was a temple of some sort

And then we rested in a tiny cafe next to the monastery (it was seriously the hottest day known to man), AND THERE WERE ADORABLE KITTENS

I fully realize I just wasted two photo slots of this post about the most baller city ever on this baby kitten. But seriously, look at its face. Are you dying yet

Drew bought a Jordanian headwrap (men out here actually wear these everywhere) for the trip home. And then of course, we needed an epic jumping photo to go with the headwrap. And on the right, my mule's butt

  • It was crazy because we had so much time to visit Petra before we had to go catch our 5pm bus to Amman.....but before we knew it, time was up and we had to have our mules pick up the pace a little on the way down from the Monastery.  Bouncy.  Very bouncy.

One last view of a cart speeding through the Siiq

Fun Facts of the Day:
  • Apparently the best time to see Petra is super early morning - the sun hits some of the buildings just so, and they light up and look especially rosy.
  • We would not know the fun fact above personally, because we did not successfully get up at 6AM to execute

Petra was also one of the coolest places I've ever been.  I can totally see how people can spend multiple days exploring the place - there are so many amazing buildings to see, and the ones we did get to see were nothing short of TOTALLY INCREDIBLE.  I think I love the Nabateans.  A lot of the hiking is incredibly legit as well - we did a short 15-minute hike from the monastery up to a lookout point, and the view was so gorgeous.  

My favorite part was also that while Petra is Jordan's biggest tourist attraction, it is so large and so remotely located that it's not overrun with tourists.....yet.  There were still many parts where it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.  

Sweaty, hot, dusty, and having spent the entire day in the sun and on a mule, we got on our 4-hour bus to Amman to catch our flight back to the States.  

I am back in the States currently and it feels so weird. SO. WEIRD.  I can't even figure out how to adjust.  Luckily, it's only a brief hiatus for me, as I head to Southeast Asia next week.  I might throw out some rando blog posts in the meantime, but otherwise - I hope your inboxes enjoy the break for a week =)

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