We conceived our Istanbul adventure to include travel, and this is a great geography to journey from. With pet care under control, we are free to go, and recently we visited Amman, and Petra in Jordan.
Claude Monet was 68 when he first traveled to Venice, Italy. He was leery of even visiting because he was afraid of repeating what painters had already captured. Once there, though, he painted multiple versions of the gorgeous views in varied light. I can appreciate his apprehension as I show these photos of Petra.
Most Americans may not have ventured to Jordan and Petra, but many have seen Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The images of the place are well-known. And photos are no substitute for the glory of seeing Petra.
We had a wonderful day at Petra, and one day was just enough for us. Winter in this region has been warm and dry, and we had bright comfortable weather at the end of February. We were about a week before the seasonal onslaught at the beginning of March. The park was quite empty. In season it gets 3000 visitors a day.
We walked the ten-mile round trip from the entrance, climbing 800 steps to the Ad-Deir (Monastery) and down again. What we enjoyed most was engaging with the Bedouins who live and work in the park. Once, many families lived the caves. Most have relocated to a modern nearby village, but some 30 families still live there, and host overnight guests, and satellite dishes are in evidence. We learned the caves have internet, and air conditioning, powered by generators. The Jordanian government supplies the site with water.
Jordan has done a good job in supporting the Bedouins and operating the site. There are many vendors, most with the similar merchandise, who ask for the sale…once. Unlike at the pyramids in Giza Egypt, they do not hector visitors. In Petra, a refusal to buy is met with a smile or humor or both, and it is easy and comfortable.
The world comes to these Bedouins’ door. They are attractive people and many are quite well traveled themselves. Some speak multiple languages, at least well enough to cater to tourists. Jim was shown President Obama on one’s cell phone.
Our friend Berin and I had a delightful 3 kilometer camel ride…I rode Daisy (a male), she rode Antonio, and Jim walked with Ahmad, who held the lead, questioning him about his life. He is 28, his father has 23 camels, they live in the village nearby, and Ahmad has had a girlfriend in Holland for the last three years, who is in medical school. The Bedouin life here looked quite peaceful…it seemed natural and adequate at the worst, and affluent at the best. Ahmad was one of the more affluent.
One of the things we love in Istanbul is the urban wildlife…street dogs, cats, and birds, We enjoyed the animals as well as the people at Petra.
A beautiful part of the day was when all were heading home. All quieted down. We were in no hurry, and a lot of the park had emptied before we left. We captured the last long, golden rays of sun, before driving back to Amman in the dark.
We had a leisurely, relaxed and stimulating day. And now, we’ve been to Petra.