Day 97. Aquaba, Jordan. 75-90 depending where you were.
We docked around 6:30 and the first tour went off at 6:45! Ours wasn't til 7:45, so we did get breakfast
. Dori, George and Bobby Sue went to Petra, while Don opted to go to Wadi Rum with Rose and Paul. Everyone had an amazing day! To Petra, it was a 2 hour ride through this unusual dessert/mountain scenery. We had a comfort stop at a gift shop with a fantastic view of the whole valley where Petra is. Along the way we saw Bedoin camps, with sheep herders, camels, and just spectacular scenery-again closest comparison is Canyonlands and Zion, except this goes on for an entire county. Our guide, Salah, was degreed in archeology and tourism ( apparently a specialism well worthwhile in countries whose primary industry is tourism!). Anyway, perfect combination for our tour to Petra. Also he was born and raised in Petra. We have really been lucky with the guides! So, the experience is so difficult to explain. We walked down, first to the visitors center, then we walked down a sand/ stony path for about 1 mile, with open views and also ancient ruins of kind of cliff dweller houses. All the while, Salah is describing what we are seeing for us
. After that we entered the "sig" which is a narrow canyon , with walls from 100-300' and a width of 16-30' and speckled with both religious carvings and cave homes. This went on for another mile, down this partially recently paved, partially anciently paved with stones 200 yrs ago canyon. Now we have descended about 1200' in altitude. Suddenly Salah had us all stop, go to one side of the canyon, turn around backwards and cross to the other side. Then he had us close our eyes, turn around and open them ...to see the most amazing view probably anyone will ever see..the first peek at ""The Treasury", the most magnificent monument in Petra. Guess who just plain cried? We then entered the area around the Treasury, and Salah gave us a really good history of the area. We then ventured out on our own, toward the " Theatre", past several other magnificent structures, before starting back, now 2 1/2 miles uphill/uphill. This area is well deserving of its 7 wonders of the world status. It is just mind boggling to think who and how the peoples of the 1st century BC could do this, both technologically, culturally, and physically! We got back up out of the "sig" and still had a mile of uphill walking on sand/gravel to go, so we took advantage of the "free" horses for that trek up that last mike. Ha! It was an adventure, with BS not so fond of horses, G never been on one before, and D with an ornery one names Layla! We made it! Then on to a local very nice hotel for lunch, before the ride back. We got "home" at 6:00pm, so had salads and pizza at D&G's before retiring, exhausted!