Eid Holiday: Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba

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sunset

Last week was was Eid al-Adha (which meant that we had a week off from studying!). As a result, a group of us decided to travel to the south for a few days and tick a few things off of our Jordan bucket lists: Petra, Wadi Rum and Aqaba.

Treasury at Petra

Treasury at Petra

Not sure what these are- but they were pretty!

Not sure what these are- but they were pretty!

View from the top of the Treasury

View from the top of the Treasury

Petra Tombs

Petra Tombs

For those who don’t know, Petra is one of the seven modern wonders of the world: a whole city carved into rock and hidden from the Western world until 1812. And yes, it is also used in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

Petra was of course absolutely stunning (making it worth the 50JD foreigner entrance fee, as opposed to 1JD for Jordanians), and it took us the whole day to get around it. Colossal rock faces, amazing architecture and the best panoramic view I’ve seen in a long time from the top of the Treasury – although be warned that it involves walking up a LOT of stairs in the burning heat. Next time I’ll be sure to bring extra water and a picnic lunch, as the food we managed to order was not the best… We also paid 12JD for a ticket to enter at night (Monday, Wednesday and Friday). They light the whole site up with candles in paper lanterns and you sit by the Treasury drinking tea and listening to Bedouins playing music. Unfortunately, the candles also proved a minor fire hazard, and the evening also involved me dumping handfuls of sand onto a paper lantern which had burst into flames.

Petra by Night

Petra by Night

The next day we got up really early to get the bus to Wadi Rum (Wadi=Valley). This particular journey would have been better if the packed breakfast our hostel had provided us didn’t involve a whole cucumber, a whole tomato, a questionable hard boiled egg, and some bread. Having said that, The Petra Gate Hotel was a great place to stay – very cheap and friendly.

We arrived at Wadi Rum at about 8am and were greeted by our amazing Bedouin guide, Abdallah, who really went out of his way to make the trip perfect. Wadi Rum was definitely my favourite destination- especially because I got to ride a camel!! (Alice the camel has five humps…)

We had an amazing day riding camels around the desert valley, although it took a while to get the knack of how to sit comfortably! We visited sand dunes, had a picnic lunch, saw historic sites and got very sunburned! Later our guide took us in his jeep so we could see the sunset from one of the many beautiful viewing points in the Wadi. We also stayed the night in a Bedouin camp where they cooked us delicious traditional food and, in contrast, then decided to show us funny Youtube videos on their phones. As it was Eid and the moon was full the stars weren’t brilliant, but it did mean that the whole valley was lit up and COMPLETELY silent, which was incredible and eerie. We stayed the night at the camp in little huts with proper beds, which meant that I got a better nights sleep than I had expected!

Getting the hang of riding a camel1

Getting the hang of riding a camel!

Camel trek

Camel trek

Sand dunes

Sand dunes

Sunset

Sunset

Wadi Rum

Wadi Rum

The next day a few of us moved on to Aqaba, a city on the Red Sea. Although it wasn’t quite as photogenic as the lost city or the desert valley, I did appreciate a couple of days by pool relaxing and proper showers in the hotel! One of the days we took a boat trip and went snorkeling to see some of the coral reefs the Red Sea is famous for. This was incredible until my friend managed to puncture her leg on a patch of poisonous fire coral! It wasn’t serious though,  they just rubbed some fluorescent yellow cream on her skin which made it look like she’d dropped a bowl of Supernoodles down her leg.

snorkelling

It was an AMAZING week- I’d advise anyone planning on coming to Jordan to give it a go! Especially Wadi Rum, as the stars are supposed to be incredible, unless you go during the full moon…

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