Jaunt 21 : Petra, Jordan
Ever been to Petra? If not, then allow my Granny…
“Umm… Letters! Let me see, this is from bank, bills and…” the last letter turned me into a statue, it was from my late Grandma.
My Grandma, Mrs Josephine Fernandez died 16 years due to poor health. She was a successful business women and charming personality. She was the only one with whom I was most attached to. She had all love and support from each and everyone except from her heart. After discovering this stage of her life she decided to fulfill her wish to travel around the world and discover new things. Mom and Dad use to take care of her business. I was 13, when she went off to fulfill dreams. After every trip of her, she use to send me a letter along with a postcard of that place she traveled, in that letter she would describe about her travel journey in details. Covering almost 20 destinations of the world in a year at the age of 53, she never failed to send me the letter.
I still remember that day when the news of her death broke. She was in Petra that time, when due to inappropriate weather conditions…
Now it’s my dream to live her dreams, I followed each and every letter of her in sequence and now I’ve lived every letter of her’s.
But, Wait A Minute! I didn’t introduced myself! My name is Megan Fernandez (Ms/Miss would be better), Granddaughter of Mrs. Fernandez (29-years-old) and I am also a businesswoman. My grandma has always been an inspiration to me.
This time I am at Petra, Jordan. And I can’t wait to tell you…
I stayed at Wadi Musa — A Whole Town — has grown up around Petra to serve visitors to the site. My hotel was away up on the hillside,the Rocky Mountain Hotel where I stayed, it had good value and have stunning valley views. Then for Petra we got this bus stop from where we caught the JETT buses to Amman and Aqaba.
I would say that if in future you plan to come here then please stick to your comfort level as I have seen many people concentrating on their fancy clothes than the monument and views around them. As you’ll be walking over sandy and rocky ground so walking shoes are probably the best bet, or sturdy sandals if you don’t mind picking the occasional stone out. There’s hardly any shade around the site, so a hat or scarf is a good idea too, and don’t forget to bring plenty of sunscreen. You will see people wandering around Petra in all sorts of clothes — from full-on hiking gear to vest tops and shorts, and I even saw one women in an evening dress and heels — but I felt happier covered up with a long-sleeved cotton top and trousers (though it helped that it wasn’t too hot in November, my good luck!).
Petra stretches over a massive 60 square kilometre area (the tour guide said) and you’ll end up doing a lot of walking. But if it gets too much for you then there’s a choice of camels, donkeys and horses to do the hard work for you. A horse ride from the visitor’s centre to the entrance of the Siq is included in your ticket price, though you’ll still need to pay a tip of about JD5. It’s an easy 15-minute walk downhill if so you might want to save the horse ride til the way back up as that final slog up a sandy path after a whole day’s walking is a bit of a killer. But there are donkey and camel handlers all around the site if you want a lift at any other time. The donkeys up to the Monastery and for the hour’s walk from the old city to the Siq at the end of the day are busiest so be careful, but there are plenty of them around so you should be able to negotiate on the price. I’ve heard reports of some handlers mistreating their animals so do be aware of this and check that they look healthy and cared for.
I know that you get hungry in every 2 hours and travelling in Petra with this habit will be a torture for you, so most of the hotels in Petra will do you a packed lunch if you ask the night before, and there is a line of stalls outside the entrance where you can pick up drinks and snacks like chocolate and crisps on your way in. Prices in the site tend to be a bit higher so it’s worth stocking up on water. Then there is a mixture of places to eat and drink inside Petra, ranging from Bedouin tea stalls, simple kiosks to cafés and there’s even a full restaurant near the museum called The Basin where you can have a buffet lunch and a bottle of wine (one of my favourite part! though i had a camel to carry me back!).
Other than that you should know that Petra’s surprisingly well-equipped with toilets, with proper toilet blocks at the visitor’s centre, near the Theatre and by the museum. There are also portaloos by the start of the Siq and at a couple of cafes.
Then there are these stalls selling souvenirs all over Petra (with some pushy sellers) but one worth stop is a jewellery stall by the museum run by New Zealander Marguerite van Geldermalsen. She came to Jordan as a backpacker back in the 1970s and ended up staying and marrying a Bedouin who lived in a cave in Petra. She’s written a book about her experiences called Married To A Bedouin, which you can buy there. I must say she is really an amazing person with an amazing journey.
And finally, if you’re in need of a drink (well not in this age but when you get a bit older) after a long day of walking, some of the nicest places to stop at on the way out are the Movenpick Hotel’s Arabian-style bar or the Cave Bar (they also serve soft- drinks and hand pressed juice) by the Petra Guest House — a 2000-year-old Nabataean tomb which has been turned into a bar.
And finally I rest my case my lord, the postcard’s yours and I’ve sent a map of Petra with…(see it yourself)
There’s still time left for my next trip till then enjoy Petra! Give my love to your mum and dad, and take care.
Tears fell from my eyes as I finished the letter, I kept the letter aside and took out the postcard and map from the envelope
I was just seeing them, suddenly I felt something fell from the envelope. It was neck piece along with a note :
This is especially for you all the way from Marguerite van Geldermalsen’s Jewelry shop. It’s a famous tribal necklace of Petra, hope you like it!
It was beautiful, I kept it safely on the dressing table and lifted up the postcard placed it on the softboard with the help of a thumb pin with other postcards and said
“Petra, better be ready!”
#credits: Google & On The Lucy
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