During the 2-plus hour drive from Wadi Rum to Petra, the weather got extreme: fog so dense the driver couldn’t even see the edge of the road way and then finally: snow. We drove past snow for a long time before descending down into the valley of Wadi Musa, the location of Petra.
Despite the overcast skies, continuing fog, and occasional drizzle we weren’t going to let the day go to waste when we were at one of the highlights of the trip: Petra. We walked through that seemingly endless canyon, known in Indiana Jones as the Crescent Moon, which is a fictional name, by the way. We admired natural scenery, stone facades, aqueducts, and the old Roman road before finally arriving at the treasure: The Treasury. Hidden by the high walls of the narrow Siq (canyon), just a sliver of The Treasure shows through to create a feeling of awe, wonderment, and mystery, before the canyon opens up to reveal the whole stunningly-carved facade of The Treasury. After admiring this couple thousand year-old work of art for some time, we continued on to see the old Roman Theater, the Winged Lion Temple (archaeological digs conducted by Brown University), and the Street of Facades as well as facades of other Nabatean tombs. Andrew and I looked around the museum and saw some lovely mosaics as the clouds settled in indicating to us it was time to get out of there.
We made a quick walk out of the extensive property that is Petra and went to the Cave Bar. This place was also carved into the red sandstone in ancient times but has since been converted to a bar and provided me with my first alcoholic drink in two weeks. Egypt and Jordan, both being Islamic countries, frown on alcohol consumption and therefore it is rarely found in stores, hotels, or restaurants. Being a big tourist destination, though, Petra had a couple of bars and Andrew and I particularly enjoyed the novelty of this one.
The next day we continued on what seemed like our marathon through Petra as we climbed up to the High Place of Sacrifice and down the back side of the mountain passing numerous other non-notable sites. Again following the yellow brick road, I mean the Roman road, we walked along the Colonnaded Street, passed under the the Temenos Gate, and climbed sandstone rocks to get to The Monastery. The facade of The Monastery is very similar to that of The Treasury except without the clever concealment provided by the canyon. Neither are accurate names; in fact, both were originally tombs but later explorers named them according to what they believed. The Treasury got its name because the explorers thought there was treasure hidden behind the facade, but of course there wasn’t since it was carved into solid rock and the The Monastery got its name because of Christian carvings and inscriptions on the walls, which would have occurred much later.
That night Andrew and I had one of our biggest indulgences of this part of the trip: ice cream at the Movenpick Hotel. It was scrumptious.