Gold is Just the First Colour
Trip Start Jun 26, 2010
15Trip End Aug 16, 2010
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to Petra - the scenery became dramatic. With huge grey mountains forming
a moonscape around the village. As the bus twisted round the mountains I
could glimpse at the home of the Nabateans. As we entered, I knew this
place would be beautiful...
The first night we drove to little Petra, which was beautiful and a
great taster for what would come tomorrow. We drank tea between
mountains with some bedouin, and left after we began being attacked by
huge hornets who were after the sugar
sunset behind a distant and invisible mountain.
Then came Petra. If there's any sorry folk out there who don't know
about Petra it's time for another google image search! I was couch
surfing with a strange guy, but fortunately, he couldn't host me in his
house so he paid for a hotel! There was a French girl staying to. So
after an early night, we woke up at six o'clock to grab breakfast and
then arrive at the site for half six. Us early birds really saw the
benefit. The walk towards the Treasury, the main attraction at Petra,
was incredible. The temperature was beautiful, there was a fresh early
morning stillness to the air. We saw very few people as we walked below
the shadows of the siq (a siq is a narrow passage way, between
walked through imagining how I would try to describe it on this blog,
but words really failed, and pictures fail too... All along the siq, cut
into the wall, is what seems to be a guttering, and I suppose this is
exactly what it was, leading into one of the huge reservoirs. Just as
you think the long corridor will never end, you see between the golden
mountains your first glimpse of the Treasury. An Iconic site and an
The Treasury is obviously incredibly impressive, especially considered
alongside how old it is - about 2000 years. The Nabateans were never as
far reaching as the empires that brush up against them, their neighbors
in history - Greeks, Romans, Persians, Islamic
with sites to rival others, along the caravan trading route. Providing
protection, rest, water and banking facilities, the Nabateans utilised
the desert, and the mountains, and build something more beautiful that
any modern architecture that I have seen.
The hike to the Monastery takes at least another hour (to the Treasury
it's about half an hour) but it's definitely worth it. As we arrived at
the Monastery, which rivals the Treasury in my opinion as Petra's most
beautiful site we didn't have to share the moment with anyone. Some
tourists come to Petra for only a few hours, see the Treasury and leave.
Some tourists don't know what they are missing! Another ten minutes
walk from the Monastery is a view point, that looks over sun burnt
mountains, hundreds of them. Honestly, wait for the pictures, my words
Petra, back in the day, I mean back millions of years ago, used to be
reach the depths of the oceans, they see a weird and wonderful world.
Jutting out of the sea bed are these fast stone structures, and between
them is like a canyon. Take this scene, drain it, soak it not in water
but in sun for millions of years and I'm sure you would get this
landscape. Though mostly golden, it's littered with green, yellow,
purple, blue, red, orange and many more colours that streak their way
through the rocks - a glimpse to the colourful past.
We really explored the site, leaving after sunset and tea with some
Bedouin guys, we returned to the main gate at nine, truly exhausted!
Next day, to Petra again, we wanted to climb the mountain next to the
Treasury to have a roof top view
there were steps cut into the rocks, other times we clambered up a sea
of boulders, other times just rock climbing. The views from the top are
naturally breathtaking. As we sat with our feet dangling precariously
off the edge, and happily snapping away with our cameras, I turned my
head and saw a French guy falling through the air. Time went slower. I
started shouting, my heart started racing. He fell centermeters away
from the edge of death, and the impact rolled his body even closer to
the edge. It was the reaction of his friend that saved his life that hot
morning. His friend was lying where he fell and he used his legs,
instinctively, as a barrier between the guy and death. As he lay on the
floor, it took seconds before anyone said anything. We all saw that we
had almost witnessed something horrible
air off their bikes when being hit by cars here (all were fine, just
shocked), but this seemed somehow worse. I suppose because of the
proximity. I too had been walking so close to the edge and scrambling
around carelessly. Because the drop was so steep and the place so
iconic, so emotive, I felt my heart didn't calm down for another half
hour afterward, I can't imagine how he felt. We decided to take the
steps down the mountains. We were leaving to hitchhike out of Wadi Musa.
Later that day I would find myself in Wadi Rum scaling another, even
more dangerous mountain for sunset... But that blog is to come!