Monday, 11 April 2011

Aqaba – Jordan

Wednesday April 6th

Arrived at Aqaba at 8:30am. Aqaba is a coastal town in the far south of Jordan and is strategically important as it is the country’s only seaport. In 1965 King Hussein traded 6000 square kilometers of  desert land in Jordan for just 12 kilometres of prime coastline with Saudi Arabia giving Jordan room to expand the Aqaba port and gain access to the coral reefs.

We left Aqaba to travel to Petra a two hour drive going up and up all the time into the barren hills viewing stunning rock formations all the way.

On arrival at Petra (pronounced Peetra after St. Peter) we had the choice of walking down to the canyon or using the horse drawn taxis or horseback. No way after two hours in a coach...we wanted to walk and Vance didn’t fancy the horses!!

Arriving at the bottom we strolled through the mile long ‘Siq’ - the narrow gorge whose steeply rising sides all but obliterate the sun providing a dramatic walk before we turned the corner and caught our first glimpse of ‘The Treasury’ with its towering columns and intricate carvings.

It was amazing to see this rose-hued building carved out of solid sandstone. We then proceeded down into the Petra basin where there are hundreds of buildings, tombs, temples and even an amphitheatre that had all been carved from the sandstone rocks and then we climbed up to a Byzantine church and viewed the fantastic mosaics.

Several hours later we returned back up to the top of Petra for a well deserved cold beer and lunch at the local Movenpick Hotel before the long drive back down the mountains to home.... everyone is absolutely shattered but awestruck by this UNESCO site.

Clocks back one hour tonight.

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