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Petra: 800 Steps and a Love Story

Petra: 800 Steps and a Love Story

Can you imagine packing your things and living from one day to the other in a two thousand-year-old cave? This is the story about the life of Marguerite van Geldermalsen a New Zealand-born nurse who fell in Love with Mohammad Abdallah Othman a Bedouin who lived in Petra. Last time I visited Petra, it was my 3th time, I finally was able to buy the book ‘Married to a Bedouin’, the biography about a western woman (Marguerite van Geldermalsen ) who decided spending her life in Petra.  What a story… don´t you think?

I remember the first time I visited Petra (2 years ago) it was one of the most epic moments in my travel experience. Strolling thru the Siq, which is the passage that leads to Petra, was like walking thru a scene in an adventure movie – no surprise that Indiana Jones stopped by. It´s hard to explain how beautiful the Siq appears. The sunlight coming thru the rocks transforming every stone into a colorful spectacle, blooming trees growing from the smallest caves and cracks, horse-drawn carriage (with crazy speed) crossing the way, and of course those thousands of years old aqueducts people built there to save rainwater for their animals and themselves – very impressive.

A one hour walk but approximately 1.5 km later, if you are wondering what takes someone 1 hour for 1.5 kilometer, we stopped every 100 meter to capture the moment and the first kilometer we rode on a horse (should have been faster – I know). Whatever, we saw a part of the Treasury from a Siq rock crack or better say it was the end of the Siq and we reached Petra. Following, the famous shot seen hundreds of times… but I wouldn’t want to miss it.

The area around the Treasury is often used for tourists as a rental place for a camel or donkey guided by a Bedouin. It can get very busy by camels, donkeys, dogs etc. running around from time to time unattended. But, watching the whole picture – camels rest there in front of the Treasury gives the place an even more adventurous feeling. Very nice watching the scene, but after that horse ride (I really regret) we decided to walk and this is in my opinion the most convenient way to explore Petra.

During our first visit we did Petra on two days and spent the night at the Petra Guesthouse, which is a nice hotel with an adorable cave bar directly at the front of the entrance. The 2nd and 3th time we had guests over (with time issues) so we decided to do Petra on one day. It´s totally possible but it can get a bit stressful if planning to visit the Monastery as well what I recommend.

After the Treasury we entered the outer Siq or Street of Facades a large canyon lined with the facades of various tombs. Definitely worth a climb up and have a look around. That´s one of Petra’s advantages: as a tourist you have the freedom to climb almost every rock and do whatever you want – having a picnic or whatever else – I really liked it because in Europe sightseeing is almost everywhere combined with strict rules (where to walk, what not to touch etc.). So, Petra is a place not just to visit but also to enjoy the day in an extraordinary surrounding.

After, let’s say a 3-5 km walk we reached the Roman Theater and this is also, where the ‘hard’ part started, our climb up to the Monastery. An over 800 steps walk. To be honest, it’s not the easiest walk but I think it’s feasible. We passed by some Bedouins who sold handmade things like carpets, jewelry’s and other nice items – everyone was very nicely welcoming us. I bought myself a stone camel, a jewelry case and a real Jordanian scarf. A nice Bedouin man showed me how women wearing the scarf, so I continued the day with traditional clothing. ,)

It took us one hour and a Lemon-Mint-Juice break, before we reached the Monastery. See for yourself…

A little bit done from the climb but mainly because of the sun and high temperatures… I was relieved finally being here. But no, of course my husband saw these seducing boards which said ‘World`s best view’… so we decided to continue. After another 20 minutes we reached the mountain top; the view was breathtaking.  It was the perfect place to have a picnic and to relax for a while – truly the best view ever… at least for me.

Walking back to the entrance took us with a short break around 2 hours. At the end of the day I was totally done, sweaty all over, but I regret nothing, and I can just recommend everyone to visit Petra once-in-a-lifetime.

Cheers with sunbeams.


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