There are not enough adjectives in the English language to adequately describe Petra.

Petra is stunning, majestic, beautiful, inspiring, spectacular, astounding, vast, windy, breathtaking (literally at times) and humbling.  I could go on, but you get the idea.

Day 1 – Petra with the Sun

The perfect day for walking and exploring – the sun greeted me at the entrance and stayed by my side all day.  Clouds rolled overhead and winds brushed by, both offering passing greetings and timely respite.

View from Jabal al Khubtha
View from Jabal al Khubtha
Camels, chillin'
Camels, chillin’

Day 2 – Petra with the Rain

You know those winter days when you’re inside with a roaring fire, a big bowl of pasta and bottle of red wine and you don’t care how cold, rainy or windy it is outside, because you’re inside snug and warm and it can rain and blow as hard as it wants for all you care?  Well, this was one of those days.

View from the Great Temple
View from the Great Temple

My plans to walk the Monastery trail were dashed by raging rivers and heavy warnings from locals.  Nevertheless, I had to see something.  I headed out to the Wadi Farasa area.

After exploring temples and caves without another traveller in sight I found a dry cove a little way up the Umm al Biyara walk and settled in for lunch.  Not long after, the morning drizzle quickly turned into a storm and my patch of dry rocks became smaller and smaller.  Whatsmore, the only exit was a now gushing, flooded staircase.  The dilemma – do I wait and walk down when it’s dry, in the meantime getting gradually colder (despite my long john thermals) and not knowing how long the storm will last, or do I make a (careful) run for it risking wet feet, slipping over and then having to find new shelter?   The latter won.  Shelter turned out to be a Bedouin family home where I regenerated with tea and small fire.

Lunch spot
View from my lunch spot
The only way down...
The only way down…

From the Bedouin home I retraced my route down the mountain only to find a river, where there was a dry riverbed an hour or so ago.  After some careful assessment of the rocks in the water I managed to skip my way across, with only minimal wet feet damage.

After a long Frodo style trek I finally reached the main trails again.

The Frodo trek
The Frodo trek

The walk past the Treasury, through the Siq and back to Wadi Musa was completely flooded and resistance to maintaining anything resembling dry feet was futile.

And then the hail and snow came.

Day 3 – Petra with the Bedouin

My assessment of the morning sky was ‘cautiously optimistic,’ grey clouds lurked on the horizon, though a glimmer of blue beneath them gave reason to hope.

After being warned away the previous day the Monastery beckoned even stronger and I had to make it quickly in case those dark clouds were to make an unwelcome return with their friends.

The Monastery and the views from the mountain peaks, well, like I said before, buy a book of adjectives and pick one.

The Monastery
The Monastery
The view from the end of the world
The view from the end of the world

Having bathed in those sights over close to two hours, it was time to descend.  Along the way a local Bedouin family offered tea.  As it does in the middle of the day, tea turned into lunch.  A Bedouin stew of garlic, potato, tomatoes, lentils, bread, salt and about 10 litres of oil was cooked up by Manal, the eldest daughter and then it was ‘hands in.’

Tea, Bedouin style
Tea, Bedouin style
Cooking lunch
Cooking lunch

Petra, tick.

IMG_8519
The Monastery: to get an idea of the size – you have to climb to enter the doorway down the bottom

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