It’s been a busy 2 days, hence the lack of post, however we are now through the Suez canal and I have some time to write.
Aqaba lies at the end of the Red Sea and has a unique location. Jordan’s only seaport, a few miles to the west is Israel and a few miles south lies Saudi Arabia and, to add to the mix, Egypt is not far away either.
We followed our old companion, the Pacific Princess in towards the pilot station, however the pilot boarded so late that I was in ‘approach mode’ for the berth itself.
We call here mainly for the ancient city of Petra, a World Heritage site and some call the 8th Wonder of the World, it lies a good 2-hours away by road. With this ever-changing world in which we live in and, as Friso had been there, I took the opportunity to go and see it for myself. I had heard and read so much about it that I had to see this wondrous ancient city. Built on the ancient trade-routes between Asia, the Arabian Peninsula and the Mediterranean it flourished until, over time it disappeared from men’s minds, until it was ‘rediscovered’ in 1812.
Built out of solid sandstone rock, the city lies within towering cliffs and can only be entered via a natural canyon, so narrow that it can easily be defended and survived many attempts to do so.
This is going to be a ‘photo’ blog today, words cannot do it justice, an unforgettable experience.
A 400-yard walk takes one from the car park, through the Visitors Centre and to the approach to Petra itself.
On the way down towards the canyon entrance, one passes tombs, cut into the sandstone. The more ornate the tomb, the richer the patron.
Then a walk down to the ‘canyon entrance. The niches cut in the rocks and what remains of an arch, lead to the fact there was once a gate there.
Eventually, after a half-mile walk, one reaches the end of the canyon and a hint of what lies beyond
As one walks in to the open space the sight takes your breath away, Al-Khazneh, the Treasury. Carved in the 1st century BC as a tomb for an important Nabataean king, some scholars believe it was later used as a temple.
The area surrounding the Treasury is full of hustle and bustle, camels for hire,
Policemen looking splendid on their Arabian horses,
Then a stroll, the aim was to get to the Monastery, however one had to climb 1,000 steps to reach it, a solution had to be found.
I am no horseman, (or is it donkey-man) and I have to admit that when we climbed higher, up the steps, I was uneasy, my donkey had a penchant for favouring the sheer drop side.
Once through the ‘flatter’ part, the climb begins; hanging in grimly we wind our way up the steps.
Eventually we reach the top and our efforts are rewarded, Al-Deir, the Monastery.
An equally uncomfortable ride down and it’s almost time to return to the buses. By now our legs are weak and aching, it’s time for more alternative transport.
After a wonderful day, ( we could have done with two, really), it’s time to depart for the Suez Canal, Michel takes her out.
We had to adapt our plans. We were due to transit the canal on the 4th, it became apparent a few days ago, that, due to delays, we weren’t going to make Ashdod if we went through then. So, a mad dash to get there on the morning of the 3rd, register with the authorities and hope they have room for us in the northbound convoy on the 3rd. I write this from the Mediterranean, plan A worked and after a 12-hour transit, most of it at night, we went through .