- 1 Nyramara travel around Petra
- 1.1 Arrival in Aqaba
- 1.2 Hospitality
- 1.3 Arrival in Aqaba
- 1.4 Petra direction
- 1.5 Geography
- 1.6 The Lost City
- 1.7 Indiana Jones
- 1.8 The Siq
- 1.9 Way to the monastery
- 1.10 Do you want to marry me?
- 1.11 900 steps
- 1.12 The monastery
- 1.13 Donkey … you take care of him!
- 1.14 Petra by night
Nyramara travel around Petra
As I mentioned in the previous article, one of my dreams is to trace the journeys he made there many years ago through my father’s memories, and compare the countries after many years.
Jordan was one of them.
At the end of November I found this flight so convenient, that my friends Fulvio and Piero in one evening in front of a glass of wine, convinced themselves to come with me.
On December 8th we left for Aqaba from Ciampino.
Arrival in Aqaba
Landed in Aqaba, waiting for us there was the taxi that I had contacted before our arrival and that had made me a good price for the movements that we had to do in those days.
The city of Aqaba, historic crossroads of land and sea routes between Europe, Asia and Africa, this city, thanks to its strategic geographical position, offers many historical sites to explore,
The most precious resource of Aqaba is the Red Sea. Here you can try the best snorkeling and diving in the world. The temperate climate and mild water currents have created the perfect environment for the growth of corals and a teeming marine life.
We stopped at a shop to buy a sim that allowed us to have the data connection, but next to us there was another store with lots of colorful and fragrant spices on display, I couldn’t help but get away and get lost in those colors. A beautiful child named Mohamed, with eyes and very black hair about 11 years old, approaches me with a glass of tea and welcomes me in Arabic with a smile that in a moment conquers my love.
He introduces his older brothers to me and tells me that the shop is owned by them. At one point, Mohamed left my hand and went behind the counter of their shop, telling me to wait because he had to show me something. (Link of the video)
I believe the video needs no comment, the only thing I want to add is that their hospitality, their kindness and their smile made my arrival in the city special.
After checking in the hotel and leaving our things in the room, we started walking around the city, especially in search of a typical restaurant.
While walking, I asked almost all passers-by information about places where locals usually go to eat, specifying that we didn’t want to eat in tourist places.
Finally a gentleman showed us a restaurant not far from us.
Arrival in Aqaba
After only 10 minutes in one alley I could recognize the signs that the gentleman showed us, but I didn’t see any restaurant. A gentleman nearby immediately understood what I was looking for and told me to climb the stairs behind him.
The restaurant in front of me was unkempt and not very bright, you could see that it wasn’t a place for tourists and I was happy about that. To judge the food, my stomach would start to roar
We sat at a table outside the balcony and next to us there was a beautiful mosque.
While we admired the view, the boy comes to us and asks us what we wanted to eat, my answer was “all your typical dishes”. After about 15 minutes huge plates began to arrive with all their specialties. What I had before my eyes was A very basic cuisine with dishes that, more or less, resemble each other and always use the same ingredients, above all chicken, rice, lamb and mutton. It is a cuisine with clear Bedouin origins and even today (which is also very interesting) most dishes are prepared using traditional cooking methods that range from the use of special cookware to cooking that is no longer used elsewhere, for example in the sand.
Food is also the best way to share moments and not by chance the appetizers in Jordan (as in all Arab countries) are of particular importance, together with the fact of eating with your hands, just to symbolize the great value that the food and being at the table represents for this people.
The food, it is known, makes a journey and allows you to savor its taste, substance and essence. Those who love the strong flavors of Middle Eastern cuisine cannot fail to give in to the goodness of Jordanian dishes.
from the photos you can see everything that we tasted and tasted, I was very happy to have shared all this with my friends and to have tasted dishes to say the least delicious.
After dinner we stopped at the beach, because on the horizon there were the beautiful lights of Tel Aviv that lit up the evening all accompanied by their delicious hot mint tea.
The following morning the alarm started ringing at 4 and at 5 we got into the car headed for Petra.
I was looking forward to discovering the land of Lawrence of Arabia which has always enchanted visitors from all over the world
About ¾ hours they separated us from the destination, I wanted to rest but the curiosity to discover the landscapes.
Halfway there we stopped, but when we got out of the car we had no idea of the cold outside. Without realizing it we had risen in altitude and the wind was freezing, it was not even possible for us to be able to take good pictures, as the landscape was beautiful.
Luckily there was a large shop selling souvenirs, the owner kindly waited for us with hot tea to keep us warm. While I was drinking tea I walked around the store and I was enchanted by the thousand colored kefiehs. From the lord I was told that the kefiah (in Arabic hatta or kufiya) derives from the great Arab revolt of 1936. The Palestinians began to wear it as a symbol of patriotism to counteract the advance of Europe in Palestine, since, after the first war worldwide, the English protectorate was declared.
In addition to the kefiah, I bought a beautiful ring with the eye of the tiger, a stone that I love very much.
After the break, we left regenerated for Petra and couldn’t wait to arrive.
In Jordan there are three major physiographic regions (from east to west): the desert, the highlands east of the Jordan River and the Jordan Valley (the north-western sector of the great East African rift system).
The desert region is mostly within the borders of the Syrian desert – an extension of the Arabian desert – and occupies the eastern and southern regions of the country, including more than four fifths of its territory. The northern part of the desert consists of volcanic lava and basalt, while the southern part is made of sandstone and granite outcrops. The landscape appears to be carved by erosion, mainly due to the winds. The highlands east of the Jordan River, an escarpment overlooking the rift valley, have an average altitude of 600–900 m and culminate with the approximately 1,754 m of Mount Ramm, the highest point in Jordan, in the south of the country. Sandstone, chalk, limestone and flint outcrops extend to the southern end, where igneous rocks predominate.
Finally after about an hour we arrive in Petra and the driver takes us to the camp I had booked, the Amarin Bedouin Camp. To get there The landscape was spectacular. The camp was literally set in the rock and the tents were all in a circle, with the indoor meeting place for customers where to eat or sip hot tea in the center.
The only big problem was that the cold started to make my friends doubt that they could stay under the stars. If I had been alone I would certainly have stayed there but in the afternoon my friends, not too young, have decided to book another hotel.
As soon as we found the new accommodation, we left our things in the room and went towards our awaited adventure.
The Lost City
On foot we go towards the entrance of Petra and having already the Jordan Pass we did not line up.
Already the entrance was spectacular, the pink city carved into the rock, one of the seven wonders of the world was finally was in front of me. We met some Bedouins who give you the chance to make the long entry with the horse for a few Jordanian dinars. And so with my new kefiah in the head, I made my entrance on horseback, looking like Indiana Jones in the feminine.
After about 1 km we continued on foot, but to our surprise the boy we paid informed us that for the treasure we should have done with him the path of Indiana Jones! I was very happy with this.
Throughout the walk, what we had before our eyes was an immense landscape of beautiful rock. We also had a sweet encounter with 3 beautiful puppies. The thing seemed to me quite unusual, and the guide explained to us that they were the property of the only inhabitant of that place, a lady who lives with her children, dogs and who welcomes tourists who pass by with her delicious tea and souvenirs to remember that moment. Our guide picked up some pencils and with a nod told me to sit down, I didn’t understand, but then she told me to close her eyes and started putting makeup on me because the lady, in Arabic, had said that I was very beautiful and that with the kefiah and made up like an Arab I could have looked like one of them. (photo)
After this cultural exchange, we continued the journey this time more difficult, intricate.
To get to the treasure, thanks to this itinerary, we had to slip through the beautiful streaked rocks and cling to avoid falling into the void, but the landscape that this path gave our eyes was unparalleled. After a fairly strenuous climb, I began to see a few enchanted people, and after a few steps I understood why … we had arrived at the famous point where each person passing by took the picture on the famous red carpet placed on the pink rock, with breathtaking view of the treasure.
Describing to you what I had before my eyes was spectacular, I could not believe that I had the treasure ahead of me.
After sipping the tea and taking the pictures, the descent began, I would say a bit dangerous towards Al Khazneh, the palace carved into the sandstone wall.
Happy, we arrived in front of the treasure thus ending the path of Indiana Jones, admiring the beauty and majesty of the treasure.
A little later we started to take lots of photos and chat with the Bedouins who entertain tourists.
After blowing up the memory of our phones, our return began. And to do this we made the other beautiful route through the Canyon, the so-called al-Siq, a canyon that constitutes the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra.
Siq is a natural geological fault produced by tectonic forces and smoothed by water erosion. The walls that enclose the Siq are between 91 and 182 meters high.
Upon our return, leaving the archaeological site we stopped to eat something, and we were enchanted by a boy who started showing us how to prepare the colorful Jordanian souvenirs with sand.
After taking a shower we were so tired that we decided to have dinner in the hotel because the food was not for tourists but it was typical Jordanian cuisine.
Way to the monastery
The following morning, the lost city awaited us for our second exploration of the Monastery.
After arriving in Al-Deir through the Canyon, we continued our journey with the camels.
Petra continues its journey with Via delle Facciate, also known as the external Siq, which leads to the second monumental stage of the legendary city – the theater. Along this road there are a series of tombs in which the mixture of styles accepted in the Nabataean architecture (Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Assyrian …) is expressed with singular decorations, in a total of 44 facades.
On the left, after a first part collapsed as a result of atmospheric agents, the façades of tombs with Assyrian influence decorations are raised. On the roof of the buildings, in fact the famous stair-climbing and descending motif evokes the zigurat, which generally consists of seven steps corresponding to the seven levels to reach the highest paradise.
After passing the Assyrian-decorated tombs, on the right side of the canyon is the patrician necropolis, while on the left begins the ascent that leads to the Sacrifice (about 45 minutes), the sacrificial altar from which you can enjoy an enchanting view over the city of Petra .
The Roman Theater of Petra was built by the Nabateans over two millennia ago, in the classic stone carving that characterizes most of the monumental attractions that make Petra famous worldwide. After the Roman conquest, in 106 BC, the theater was enlarged to accommodate about 8,000 spectators. This led to the destruction of the pre-existing tombs on which the building had been built since the Nabataean era.
Do you want to marry me?
But I would like to tell you about what happened to me while we were on the camel. Obviously I wanted to capture that moment even if somewhat complicated since the pace of the camel although slow is particularly unbalanced, so kindly, I asked our Bedouin guide for help to take a picture of me, he said no to me without even looking me in the face! Didn’t I want to believe what his problem was? I thought maybe he didn’t understand me and I asked for his help, his answer was that he didn’t take pictures of women. I was stunned why? She wasn’t a Muslim woman, even though I had a veil on her head and I could seem it. He absolutely didn’t change his mind and didn’t look at me. Arriving towards the end, he sent Piero and Fulvio down, and then me too. Finally the guide with a smile looked at me and beckoned me to get on the most beautiful camel, I didn’t understand and my friends told me that maybe he had changed his mind.
With all the other camels behind me, amid some embarrassment mixed with happiness, I made my entrance as if I were the princess of Jordan. After taking a thousand pictures of me, I got out of the camel and the Bedouin hugged me, we looked like a family among our camels!
Obviously the Bedouin wanted something in return … he wanted me !!! He had explicitly asked fulvio for my hand, in exchange for 4 camels. I could not believe it!
After saying goodbye to my beloved suitor, we continued our journey towards the monastery which, however, provided for a very strenuous climb.
The climb with all those steps became more and more tiring, so to rest, we took the opportunity to browse through the fabrics and the wonderful souvenirs that Jordanian women sell, one of them also kindly offered us tea.
Along the way we met 2 Italian sisters from Rome, who were resting near us.
We stood up again with the hope that the beautiful finish line would be missing, the Monastery, fortunately tourists returning to see us fatigued have kindly informed us that there was very little left and that all that climb was really worth doing. And it was so. After not even 20 minutes we arrived in front of the monastery, so beautiful that we did not rest but we remained in front of it, losing ourselves in so much beauty.
The spectacular Monastery (known locally as Al-Deir) is similar to the Treasury in the structure, but is much larger (50 m wide by 45 m high). I read that it was built by the Nabataeans in the 3rd century BC as a tomb, perhaps for King Obodas I (who reigned from 96 to 86 BCE), the Monastery owes its name to the presence of crosses carved on the walls of its interior, indicating a possible use of the structure as a church in the Byzantine era.
In front of the Monastery you will find a kiosk that sells drinks, strategically placed in a cave, with a row of chairs outside where you can sit and contemplate the majestic Hellenistic facade of the monument. It is particularly spectacular towards the late afternoon, when the rays of the setting sun accentuate the shades of sandstone. Behind the kiosk, we advise you to take a look at the tomb 468 for its beautiful façade, the unfortunately deteriorated sculptures and the splendid landscape.
After about an hour our return started but with one less piece … let me explain better.
Donkey … you take care of him!
I had not written to you so far that Fulvio the day before had taken a bent hurting his knee, following the 800 steps of about to reach the Monastery, the knee started to swell, making the return unlikely. The only solution that came to mind was to get him back on a donkey, the only problem was that we didn’t know how to pay this because we had no more cash. Luck meant that a Jordanian woman approached us by offering us a hot and fulvio tea and took the opportunity to ask her in English how much it cost to hire a donkey; you won’t believe it but in Italian he told us that he could call a friend of his and let fulvio load. a little amazed that the lady knew the Italian we laughed also because how could we pay?
With a smile she shows us a pos, something incredible up there, and in less than no time immediately after payment, the donkey arrived in the presence of fulvio.
Piero and I instead made our way back laughing at what had just happened and also a little worried about the fact that the donkey walked very fast at the edge of the steps, fearing for his safety.
Fulvio’s knee was safe that night that he stayed in the hotel to rest, but neither my legs nor Piero’s legs would have been, you might be wondering why, well because for that same night the two of us had taken tickets for Petra by Night; very popular tour
Petra by night
Immediately after dinner and left fulvio in a warm room we started our walk through the Canyon to reach the Treasury. I had never walked so fast, it was so cold and we were so tired that we wanted to get there right away, thus surpassing all those who would have admired the enlightened treasure.
What I recommend, unlike what I did, is to enjoy the walk as the canyon was not only lit by lanterns but by wonderful stars.
Arrived in front of the treasure the atmosphere was magical, the lanterns lit up the facade and after offering everyone a good hot tea a Bedouin storyteller started to sing with the flute a beautiful traditional melody making everything really very suggestive and magical.
Petra by Night, given the price of the ticket, it is certainly a wonderful experience to do even if by day with all its beautiful colors it is much more beautiful!
The following day we were back in Aqaba, heading for the airport.
We were tired and happy, but with eyes and spirit enriched by what only a land like Jordan can offer.