By Foot, By Horse, By Carriage ~ The Trek to Petra

Here we are half way around the world, and it looks and feels just like New Mexico except that the people speak a different language and camels, goats, and donkeys can be seen wandering near the roadsides. The air is hot and dry; the desert-like terrain dotted with low-lying shrubs and tan grasses is very much like the landscape on a drive from Albuquerque to Santa Fe except there are more mountain ranges on the road to Petra; and the pueblo style homes are almost carbon copies of those in New Mexico. Many wonderful memories of my thirty-one years in Albuquerque flooded my mind during our two-hour drive to Petra, Jordan.

 

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A Very Brief History

Not only is Petra a World Heritage Site but also one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. More than 2,000 years old, it was a thriving city until 363 AD when an earthquake and changing trade routes led to its downfall and eventual abandonment. By the mid seventh century Petra was largely deserted except for the local Bedouins. In 1812 a Swiss explorer (Johanes Burckhardt) set out to “rediscover” Petra. He dressed up as an Arab and convinced his Bedouin guide to take him to the lost city, and the rest is history – Petra quickly began attracting visitors as it continues to do so today.

Petra is known as the rose-red city, because of the color of the rock from which many of the city’s structures were carved. The people of the time, known as Nabataeans, buried their dead in intricate tombs that were carved out of the mountainsides. The ruins that remain (and if truth be told, they appeared much more in tact than other ruins we have seen) include Silk Tomb, the Treasury Building, the Monastery and other dwellings.

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TREASURY BUILDING

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MONASTERY AT PETRA, JORDAN

© Poco a poco (Diego Delso) CC-BY-SA-3.0 creativecommons.org

 

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SILK TOMB AT PETRA, JORDAN

© Bernard Gagnon CC-BY-SA-3.0 Unported creativecommons.org

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MULTIPLE DWELLINGS IN PETRA, JORDAN

© Joshua Doubek CC-BY-SA-3.0 Unported creativecommons.org

  We were very much anticipating our Petra adventure and definitely were not disappointed.  With our backpacks, cameras, and hiking boots we started our long trek down through the wondrous rock formations. Carolyn did the first 800 meters on horseback and then joined Mary Jane. Our route was sand and pebbles and in many places, sand pebbles and rocks that had been pounded into the earth over the years by the footfalls of thousands of people. Watching to make certain our feet were firmly planted in between steps, we were able to enjoy the many and varying rock formations, some of which appear below.

Petra6Carolyn on horseback 

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  Although the trek down was exciting and provided so much to see, we decided that the two miles upward climb would be better enjoyed in a horse-drawn carriage. Although the carriage ride depicted below looks like a calm, leisurely drive, our ride was anything but pleasant as we raced over rocks, around bends, the horse and carriage almost careening into other horses, carriages, and people so that the driver could deposit us at the top and then race again to the bottom to pick up an additional fare.

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PETRA, CARRIAGES IN THE SIQ

© Berthold Werner CC-BY-SA-3.0 Unported creativecommons.org

 

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5 Responses to “By Foot, By Horse, By Carriage ~ The Trek to Petra”

  1. Ladies !!! What a multi-travel set of carriers for your trip to Petra. What a feast of pictures and text you have shared. I am so thrilled … and, now that I have seen the array of your multiple super photo shots, I deem it sufficient for my learning about Petra — at this advanced age, such a trek would not be possible.

    The book about Petra that I mentioned featured our heroine marrying a Bedouin and learns to live in one of the rock wall homes. I wish I could remember the name. If sudden miraculous memory aids me and I do recall, perhaps I can find a copy and send it to you for your post-trip reading.

    Are you charged by the length of your messages to and from me — I could be more “crisp” and succinct — maybe.

    I am with you babes, on this wondrous trip. Your text and photos are simply swell !!!

    Gratitude, Sh

  2. Fabulous pictures which made it look even better than I remembered. Amazing the kind of building they could do hundreds of years ago. We, rode horses out and were so grateful for them.

  3. rozzellmaryann@aol.com October 20, 2014 at 11:27 am

    In deed it is similar to my homeland..NM. And the last pix look similar to Monument Valley & areas up in Utah. Beautiful pix! Mary Ann

  4. Beautiful and amazing! Thank you again………
    Cathy

  5. Loved it! What an interesting post! The pictures are gorgeous!

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