I got to channel my inner Indiana Jones at Petra for two days. I’m so glad I took two days – the site is HUGE, and especially in the summer, you really can’t do a full day there!
To get to the Treasury (which is what you picture when you think “Petra”), it’s a bit more than a mile walk (I think). The first part is just down a normal dirt path that’s nothing special, but then you enter the Siq. The Siq is the canyon that leads to Petra, and it’s an amazing entrance to the site. Nothing builds up the suspense quite like that twisting canyon – every step you take, you know that the Treasury might be just around the bend. But it’s so much longer than I thought it’d be!
So I was in suspense for quite a while until the canyon opened to the Treasury. It was worth coming halfway around the world to see. The Treasury is giant and as amazing as it looks in the pictures. I was happy to find that there weren’t just tons of tourists around, so I was able to get some decent photos.
Of course, the ever-present salesmen and touts tried to sell me all sorts of pictures themselves! It’s getting so tiring to keep telling them to go away. I’ve definitely gotten to the point where I’ve universally dropped the “thank you” on “No, thank you.”
Going down past the Treasury, I was continually surprised by how big the site was and how spread out it was. The amphitheater was quite close to the Treasury, but it was still a good walk!
I walked down the main path and it was so cool seeing so many different things carved into the sides of the walls and built along the path. I went down to the path to the Monastery and was thinking it couldn’t be so bad. (While constantly dodging the folks who wanted to sell me a mule ride to the top.)
It ended up being probably 1.5km worth of steps! And I made the mistake of going about 11am. So it was insanely hot! I had to stop multiple times on my way up to find somewhere in the shade to sit and recoup. I will blame part of that on my cold, but most of it was just the heat.
When I finally made it to the top, I was so happy I’d made the climb. The Monastery isn’t as ornate as the Treasury, but it is actually bigger. It was so cool, and felt so hidden up there. I’d expected on the stairs to be able to see it and then climb towards it, but it’s actually behind you when you get to the top. So it’s a sudden reveal!
On my way up, I met some really nice French people – Alexandre and Clemence. We ended up hitting it off quite well, and walked back from the Monastery together. We meandered through the site, and then went on to have lunch.
After that, I spent the afternoon resting and napping. I needed it after the heat of the morning!
The next day, I went a bit earlier to Petra, and knew I wasn’t going to go quite as deep into the site. There’s a path that you can follow to see the Treasury from up above, so I wanted to go find that. It’s quite a path! It’s another with a ton of stairs, and not much signage or shade. But I kept at it, still resting more than a few times.
Because the heat in Jordan is so dry, when you’re in the shade, it really feels quite a bit cooler than when you’re in the sun. I laughed at myself because there were a few times that I’d been resting in the shade and found myself having a small nap.
Slowly but surely, I made it up to the top. It was absolutely worth the climb! It was such a neat vantage point, and so fun to see.
Besides the main buildings everyone knows about, there are all sorts of tombs along the path, and other, smaller buildings. There’s a temple (excavation work is currently being done), and a street with columns. It’s a huge site, and there’s always something to look at and discover.
Ultimately, I’m very glad I took two days to see Petra because I can’t imagine doing both of those climbs in one day, especially in the summer!