Saturday morning, just three days after arriving in Jordan for a summer internship, I found myself on a bus headed for the famed archaeological park/World Heritage site/world wonder/Indiana Jones filming location of Petra with my roommate Anusha. We had been planning this trip since the night I arrived so we were both buzzing with excitement as we headed out of our apartment to catch the 6:30 am JETT bus for Wadi Musa, a small town that is the base camp for Petra.
We arrived in Wadi Musa later that morning and immediately set out to find a hotel to drop off our bags, chancing upon the Valentine Hotel — 13 JD a night for a dorm-style bed with breakfast and dinner included.
Strolling into Petra that afternoon we were immediately approached by numerous Bedouins on horseback trying to sell us a ride. To avoid being hassled we stepped off the main path and climbed around on the rocks to explore and take pictures.
Eventually we came to the beginning of the Siq. It was surreal walking through so narrow a canyon with ancient rock walls displaying a history of shapes, textures and colors. You almost forget what you’ve come for, until you suddenly catch your first glimpse of the Treasury.
In my two days exploring Petra I saw four different versions of the Treasury. First, in mid-afternoon, swarming with people and animals and turned golden from the sunlight; then, on my way back in the early evening, peaceful and tinted pink. The following morning I came upon the Treasury at sunrise, cast in shadow; and the last time, a bird’s eye view as I slowly crawled towards the precipice.
From the Treasury we continued in the direction of the Monastery, passing the Street of Facades, a Roman theater and various tombs along the way. We then climbed over 800 steps to reach the Monastery. It was a full day of walking in sand and up stairs, and we felt completely exhausted as we headed back to the park entrance. Luckily, about halfway there we were offered a free pony ride by two rastafarian Bedouins.
The next morning we were on the first shuttle to Petra with plans to see the Treasury from above. As we were walking up yet another endless set of stairs we ran into a Bedouin woman who told us the spot was difficult to find and we’d need a guide. We assumed she was manipulating us to get our business and insisted we didn’t need anyone’s help.
An hour later we realized she was right. Completely lost, we finally ran into a local who explained that we were on the wrong side of the canyon and needed to trek down and cross the valley to get a view of the Treasury. As the other two were afraid of heights, I found myself leading the way down a steep hill and across terrifying ledges. At one point we spotted two hikers in the distance and yelled across the canyon to make sure we were on the right path, because surely no other person in their right mind would attempt this. They echoed back some reassuring words and we continued on.
Another hour later and we had made it to the valley in one piece. We then magically ran into a guide who was able to direct us the rest of the way. The remaining hike was relatively easy and pretty soon we were sitting on a cliff overlooking the Treasury.
We all agreed to take a different route back.
As we stepped off the trail we found a sign that would have been helpful to read earlier in the day.
Enjoy the rest of the pictures!