Woke at 06:30 having a good night sleep apart from waking up at one point due to the heat. It's a glorious morning and our plan for today is to visit the temples at Petra which are now one of the wonders of the world. Wander down to the roof patio for a quick cigarette and to look at the views over Petra town. Back to the room for a shower then down to breakfast and meet Allana. Sit talking about my experience the night before with the night porter and then Lucinda arrives. Finish breakfast and meet Mohammed in reception and wait for the girls. 08:00 and off we go, today it is all walking apart from we are told we can do a small part on horse back and donkey but it's not recommend. Arrive at the gates to the Petra site and as we walk we find ourselves towered on both sides by large hills. Its not long into the walk that we start to see caves cared into the sandstone and we are told by Mohammad that these were burial sites or tombs. After a short while we come to an ornate carving in the sand stone which looks like some kind of temple but is actually another tomb. This tomb has 2 levels the first being some kind of hall to celebrate the life of the person who has died and the upper level is the tomb itself. We continue on and enter the As-Siq which is the main entrance to the Petra temples. This is an impressive corridor between the rocks which as said to be about 1200 metes long. The sides of the gorge tower above us the rocks twisting and turning and almost overlapping each other in places almost forming an arch. The sand stone is multi coloured and the cliffs reach high above us to a High tower of about 80 meters.
As we come to the end of the Al-Siq we notice some come of carvings in the wall in front of us. As we emerge from between the cliffs our breath is taken away by the site standing in front of us. A building carved into the rock in front of us about 43 meters high and 30 meters wide. The sight in front of us is indescribable and we are dwarfed by it's size. It is believed this was originally used as a tomb but later might of been used as a temple. This is what Petra is famous for. We walk on and see so many other tombs and buildings cut into the soft sandstone including what looks like a roman theatre but we are told that this was built by the Nabataeans in the first century AD.
Our group carry on and stop for a coffee and pack lunch then set off to the start of the Entrance to the monastery. Our guild Mohammad leaves us to explore the rest of Petra on our own and arranges to meet us later for dinner.
Omg after the steps up to the great wall of china last year I said I would never do it again but here I go. There are over 800 steps up to the monastery winding up through the mountains and at some points there are no steps just pieces of rock. It's not until you do something like this that you discover just how unfit you are!
We climb and climb until we reach what we guess is the top and by this time I'm about 2 steps away from having a full blown heart attack. But I made it!! we sit down for a drink and chat for while and then discover this isn't the top and we have more steps to go. I swear all this better to be worth it when we reach the top or I will not be a happy camper.
We eventually climb what we believe to be the last set of steps and at the top see some steps leading down to a kind of valley as we reach the bottom step it all becomes clear there cut into the rock is the monastery. The carvings are not as detailed as the temple we saw earlier but this is grand and majestic towering above us. It almost seems unbelievable that structures like these could of been built by hand over 2000 years ago.
We then realize that the view point that we had been told we had to see is still a bit of a climb away (omg my feet and legs are screaming to stop).
We set off on the last part of the climb!
I'm not completely sure if it's the fact that I'm so unfit or that the view takes your breath away, but for a few moments I'm totally speechless. Every ache, pain and bead of sweat was so worth this one moment the view is just out of this world. We wonder down to the cafe and sit and eat our lunch or at least try to. There is a cat and a load of kittens all begging for food. It's really weird as I throw a bit of cucumber on the floor and the cat eats it, do cats eat cucumber? Well they do in Petra.
We then set off on the walk back down the 800 steps and it is so much easier coming down. As we walk we talk about how good it would be to get a beer and that thought stays in our minds until we reach the exit. On leaving the temple site we go into one of the posh hotel and find out they sell beer!!!!!
Oh joy we are in heaven we sit in the roof top garden and look out over Petra chatting. Alana and I have a beer and Lucinda has a cocktail, the day couldn't be any better.
Back to the hotel and a quick shower and down to reception to meet Mohammad and dinner. Again the food is great but to be honest in this heat I find it hard to eat to much.
20:15 and we head off back to the temple site for Petra by night. The path way is lit all the way down to the temple by candles in paper bags on each side of the path. As we com to the end of the Siq the whole of the area in front of us is covered with these candle bags. We sit in two rows in front of the temple as the bedouin play some traditional music. Part way through we are served herbal tea and we sit and soak up the atmosphere. The show finishes and we wander back to the hotel after another hard but fantastic day.