Day 88–Sun., Apr. 3, 2011–Aqaba (Petra), Jordan

     Al ‘Aqabah is situated opposite the Israeli port of Eilat on the east side of the head of the gulf.  Located in the far south of Jordan, Aqaba occupies a most important place as it is the country’s only seaport.  Aqaba itself is best known as a diving and beach resort, but also the port of call for cruisers wishing to visit the Lost City of Petra, also known as The Rose City.  Aqaba, whose human history dates back to 4000 BC, was popular because of its location at the juncture of trading routes between Asia, Africa and Europe.  Petra, known for its rock cut architecture and water conduits system, was established around the 6th century BC.  The site remained unknown to the Western world until 1812, and was described as “a rose-red city half as old as time”. 

     We signed up for a 10-hour ship’s tour to Petra so we had another early wake-up and long day.  The tour was $219 pp for about 10 hours.  Petra is about a two-hour drive from Aqaba.  Ray is helping me out again by writing his thoughts of the day.  “Another day, another adventure.  We saw Bedouin tents lived in by people who do without conveniences like electricity, gas or water.  The eldest of family members, grandma and grandpa walk their sheep and camels 15 kilometers to water and return with another 15 kilometer walk home, often with a bag of burning bush and spices on their back.  We reached Petra and walked through IMG_0460 a huge canyon (called the Siq) and we saw signs of a civilization that goes back more than 3,000 years.  This canyon is approximately 3 miles each way.  At the end of this canyon you observe a magnificent structure carved out of stone more than 3000 years ago.  The walk almost did me in, but it was worth the effort.  We also traveled by bus on a road called the Kings Way, a road traveled by Kings, Jesus and Moses to name a few.  Aqaba is the only city in Jordan that has no taxes and anyone can enter and live and work here with no requirements or visas.  All people get along even though they are close to Syria, Israel and Africa.  Amazing.  Traveling the world makes you appreciate what so many of us take for granted.  The next time your children or grandchildren complain about school or anything, slap them.”  The above picture shows the entrance.  Who would have thought to go through there thinking I wonder where this leads?  After walking on the sandy, cobbled and uneven path going downhill for what seemed forever, this is what we saw, the Treasury. 

  IMG_0515 Stitch Petra IMG_0528

The rock formations and carvings were amazing.  You could take a donkey cart down the path, but you would miss the beauty.  We did not travel past the Treasury because we were very tired and wanted to make sure we had time to climb back up out of the siq.  We met people filming the siq to make a virtual journey as some of the rocks are apt to collapse.  We have many, many pictures of our journey.  When we got back out we went to lunch at the hotel Movenpick for a wonderful buffet.  We looked in some local shops and waited around until it was time to leave.  More gorgeous scenery on our way home.  Yes, there was a camel on the highway median! 

IMG_0544 IMG_0579 IMG_0618 IMG_0401

     We ate in the Lido and then went to the Aqaba Cultural Music show.  The guys were very good, but one song sounded like the other.  I have a good video.


“The most important trip you may take in life is meeting people halfway.”  –Henry Boye-

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