We had avoided zig-zig in Aqaba and begun piloting our little spam can up an hour and a half towards the fabled Rose City hidden in the dusty valleys of Jordan.
Several millennia have passed since this city was first inhabited, yet the feeling of awe that struck the lungs of Roman conquerors is the same that strikes my suntan lotion basted cheeks. The merchants that once ruled Petra and lived in its rock carved mansions have turned into Bedouins with kohl eyeliner and a quiver of clever quips, ready to take you for a ride on their sleepy donkey. One may even learn the tale of a German tourist that enjoyed her sleepy donkey ride so much, she married the Bedouin man that steered it and traded her life of strudel for dusty desert tea.
For us, the fridge magnet and traveler’s trots would be plenty.
As stated in the first post on Jordan, DO get a Jordan Pass to save big on goodies, and save some money on your ticket into Petra. Avoid the donkeys and make the walk into the valley, as it really isn’t that long of a walk. Indiana Jones didn’t pay a Bedouin to take him in by donkey, did he? The forty-minute walk through the steep martian walls creates a sense of calm that is oh so inexplicably turned to wonder once the view of the grandiose Treasury peaks through the ochre crag.
The Bedouins that still inhabit these buildings will try and charm you with their eye-liner coated shiners but rest assured you can enjoy this site on your own two feet. No need for a sleepy burro, weary travelers. You can access most beautiful areas all within a nice hour+ and a bit stroll through the valley and rocks.
For the stronger willed, a journey up the rocks towards the old graveyards is a worthy journey to undertake. Along the way, we saw vast burials sites carved into the rock face of the former rich merchants, now dotted with shops of wrinkled Bedouin women selling dusty trinkets on their thick woven blankets.
The path is steep and seemingly neverending, but the relative lack of tourists and views will make the journey worth it. My sweating extremities and lubricated gizzards could have and should have taken the donkey, but where’s the fun in that.
At the top, you can stop for a tea with a view or continue on for the view of the treasury. If you’ve got another thirty minutes of walking, then why not go for the treasury? The best view is protected by a tea shop where you have to pay to enter, but we were able to settle with the second-best view.
Jordan, while off the budget backpacker’s path, is well worth the pennies paid to see some of the most beautiful and awe-inspiring sites our little planet has to offer. The food, flavorful and filling and served by some of the most genuinely kind and welcoming locals make Jordan well worth a visit from anyone that enjoys a view with a new friend.
Jordan, you are a treasure in its purest form.