Monday, October 23, 2017

Touring Middle East 3: Petra by Day

The thought of having to walk twice the distance during the day as we did in the previous night didn’t sit too comfortably with me, but I guess I just had to forget the pain and sweat and made the hike up to the magnificent sights in Petra again. We began our journey at 8am in order to avoid the heat on mid-day as much as possible.

Post from RICOH THETA. - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA

Walking during the day did give us a whole new experience with a clearer view as we walked the same long and winding path across the rock canyon and siq from the entrance down to The Treasury. It is unimaginable that people in the 3rd Century BCE was able to build such sophisticated structure off the rock completed with roads and water system, and even more unimaginable that many of those structures were kept intact and untouched until it was discovered in the early 1800s.

We reached The Treasury – so called as the early explorers thought the place contained priceless treasure – a little bit quicker than our previous trip the night before. It was jaw-dropping gorgeous with the building right in front of our eyes as we exited the narrow siq into a vast space (where the night show was held the previous night). Understandably the place was packed with visitors, hawkers selling all kinds of souvenirs and offering their camel/donkey/horse for photos or transportation. We made a quick stopover to take tons of pictures, and we moved in further to explore.

There were much more to see beyond The Treasury – I wish I had more time to see more, but we had our target set at The Monastery, which was an even grander structure than The Treasury. Well, the only catch is the site is a further 850 steps up the much narrower and steeper path (the alternative was to ride a donkey which will help you about 2/3 of the way). We made our climb up after lunch at the restaurant at the foot of the hill, and with a lot of stop-and-go’s, we managed to reach there to the top after an hour or so. And gosh it surely was worth the effort.

The Monastery was indeed wider and taller, and more important of all, much less people so I could really sit down and enjoy the view, at the café in front of it selling juices, snacks and more important of all, offering free-wifi to its customers. I guess what one must do is to snap a shot and post on Facebook immediately, just to show that they have actually been.

And that’s not the end. A bit further up there were a café/resting stop named “Top of the World”, where one could enjoy the aerial view of The Monastery and the nearby mountain ranges. I hesitated to go at first but decided to give it a shot after a brief rest. While I probably wouldn’t regret too much if I hadn’t made that hike of the last bit, the view was indeed magnificent as you got a much clearer view of The Monastery and how it was carved into the rock.

And to make things a bit easier on the way back – I resorted to a camel ride for part of my return journey. That definitely helped, plus it's fun. One doesn't get the chance to ride on a camel that often, and I thought this is the best place to get a crack at it. So, I got another thing off my back on my bucket list, figuratively speaking.

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