Monday 1 April 2019 Aqaba, Jordan – Petra Comfort Tour
We did not have to go through customs in Jordan so our meeting time was at a respectable 8:!5 am and we were in our bus by 8:45.
As we disembarked we saw that our neighbouring ship was the Queen Mary! I wondered what it would be like to cruise on her!
What a stunning trip this was. Our Jordanian guide was amazing. She had a wonderful sense of humour and had us chuckling on several occasions. She spoke excellent English and the tour was entirely in English. It was a two-hour drive to Petra but we stopped half way for a break at a visitors’ centre. The souvenirs and things on sale were very expensive. And it was freezing! I kept my cardigan and fleece on for the entire trip.
Petra was voted the seventh New Wonder of The World in 2007. It became one of the most visited archaeological sites after the 1989 movie Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. This is where Indiana Jones finds the Holy Grail and the world was introduced to the beautiful, ancient city of Petra. At that time nobody at all lived in the area but once it became a tourist attraction a huge town grew up around it. Everybody living there makes their living out of tourism.
Petra was the capital of the Nabatean Empire. They had control of the Spice Road which gave them great prosperity. The Spice Road was the main caravan trading route that brought spices, incense, and textiles from Arabia, Africa, and India to the West.
How clever the Nabateans were to carve their tombs, theatre, shops and houses out of the rose coloured rock. It was so well hidden that nobody would guess there was anything there. This is where the merchants left their families in safety when they travelled to trade with other countries. Mainly it was a city where the dead were buried in tombs and where they went to the theatre. Shops were carved into the mountain so that goods could be sold to the theatre goers. The homes were only used as a safe haven when the men were not around to protect their families from invaders.
Al-Khazneh also known as The Treasury is a temple carved into sandstone rock. The Nabatean king, Aretas IV is believed to buried here. It is also believed that treasures are buried here.
It was a long and winding path of a 1.2km to reach The Treasury. The ground from the entrance to the canyon was very uneven and had loose stones which require care to negotiate. But once in the canyon it was better. However, horse chariots raced through the crowds and you had to be alert to the drivers’ whistles and shouts of out of the way!
On the way home the bus over heated and we had to stop in a safe place to see what could be done. The Earl helped the driver to hold the bonnet up and check the radiator. Yes – indeed it was boiling hot and bone dry. After filling it with several bottles of water we were back on the road. Heidi, our English Speaking Tour consultant was with us and phoned the ship to report that we might be late. Sailing time was 7 PM and we needed to be all aboard by 6:30. But we made it back just after 6!