Jordan – Day 4: Drive to Petra (and a visit to Little Petra)

We woke up in the middle of the desert and slowly discovered what the landscape around us looked like.  Salman drove us back to the camp for breakfast where we washed up and a few tried fresh camel milk.   We said thank you to everyone and started our drive to Petra.

We did not have a lot on our agenda that day.   All we needed to do was drive to Siq al-Barid (Little Petra) and then make our way to our hotel.  On the drive to Petra, we stopped at a souvenir shop that touted the claim of “we have the third-best view of the world.”  It was a nice view, but the claim made us laugh.    The shop was fairly expensive, but we had a cup of coffee, enjoyed the view, and Spencer and I played a game of chess on a $2000 set (it included chairs.)  I lost.

As we drove through the town of Wadi Musa, Hayan got a serious craving (a hankering, if you will) for knafeh.   Knafeh is a Middle Eastern dessert that is baked cheese with a crust and then syrup poured on it.  It is wildly decadent.  The Lebanese have taken it one step further down the path of gluttonous absurdity and they’ve stuffed it in a piece of bread.   It’s some sort of ancestor to the disgusting stuffed crust pizza in the United States.  We convinced Hayan to wait until after lunch and we first went to Little Petra.

Siq al-Barid is a nice introduction to Nabataean architecture.   The Nabataeans carved these great cities out of the sandstone cliffs.    None are extremely deep, but they are abundantly impressive.  Little Petra will take you an hour to explore.  The heat is oppressive and it’s small compared to Petra.   There is a pretty view at the end, which most of us skipped.   We were tired, hot, and hungry.

IMG_6639

Siq al-Barid Photo Credit: Josh Ferris

We made our way back to Wadi Musa for lunch at Bukhara and dessert at the place across the street.  I recommend Bukhara.  I had a very good kofta sandwich, but their specialty is chicken.  Megan had their chicken dish and really enjoyed it.  A kid was working there, who (let’s ignore the child labor for a moment) came up to us at the end of the meal and totally asked up to review them on TripAdvisor.   His entrepreneurial forwardness made me smile.

After dessert, we all went to the hotel to shower and relax.    We stayed at the
Petra Guest House, which I thought was a great hotel that is very close to the main gate to Petra.   Half of our group decided to take a nap and enjoy the air conditioner.   Holly(s), Spencer, and I decided to go to see a little bit of Petra.

Petra Map

We made our way through the canyon (Siq), past the treasury (!!) and to the Nabataean theater. Petra, I went to Petra.   It’s really incredible.   I loved it.   Walking through the canyon is a wonderful experience.  The Nabataeans clearly had a flair for the dramatic.   It’s 1200 meters long with twists and turns.   We were there late in the day, so there were not a lot of people.  I’ll write more about Petra in the next post, but seeing something that blew my mind as a kid watching Indiana Jones really was delightful.

We all met up at the hotel bar to eat some mediocre bar food to chit chat.  The bar was in an old cave, and it had a cool look to it.   We ordered some Petra brand beers and a pizza that took quite a bit of time to make.   When we decided to order another pizza, the waiter told us that there were no more pizzas possible.

Oh well.

Next – Jordan – Day 5: Petra & a dip in the Dead Sea

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