WEDNESDAY, December 7th, 2005 Petra, Jordan
Continuing down into the canyon we heard the constant cry of the passing Bedouins in our ears as they pleaded with us to ride in the chariots drawn by the horses and/or their donkeys. That to me would have been a painful experience as the floor of the canyon was uneven stone in many areas. We saw tombs carved into the sides almost as soon as we entered the canyon but they were only a taste of what was to come.
As the canyon deepened and became very narrow we knew that we were nearing the Tomb known as “The Treasury”. We caught our breath as we began to see glimpse of the mammoth structure and suddenly we stopped and gaped at the towering brightness of El Kazneh: a 140 foot high edifice carved in the mountain. Not the largest but definitely the best preserved Tomb because of its sheltered location. Yes, we’d arrived at The Treasury that looked just like the one in the movie about Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. Stopping here to explore the ruins and other smaller tombs nearby, Kevin and I actually climbed into an open “grave?” in a small tomb to get a photo of The Treasury from a different vantage point. Crazy but fun!
At The Treasury we lost the “chariots” and then had the opportunity to continue by riding on donkey or a camel! But we all decided to continue walking as we descended another 2500 feet to the ruins of the theater and then the final descent of about a mile into the site of the city ruins. An outdoor restaurant provided lunch and then we were on our own to explore and eventually find our way back to the bus by 4:00 pm.
We arrived back at the bus right on schedule at 4:00 pm by walking quickly and directly through the canyon without stopping to do more sightseeing. It was a gradual uphill climb all the way. According to Samur with our extra trip we’d hiked more than seven miles…and our bodies felt every inch of it! Paul and Sue decided to ride the horses for the last part of the climb but otherwise we’d all walked the whole trip! Jim treated us to “cold cokes” at the end of the trail…I didn’t realize just how thirsty I was! Don’t remember a diet coke tasting quite so good for a long time. Back on the bus, tired but sated, we arrived at the hotel just in time to enjoy the sunset from the hotel patio. Time to shower before our 7 pm dinner and then off to bed as we’ve got another early morning tomorrow!