Monday, 9 November 2009

Petra by Night, and better by Day.

Today we were travelling from Ajloun to Petra. The astute reader of this blog will see from the unfolding itinerary that we zigzagged across Jordan in an almost random fashion. The reason for this was the need to pick up and drop off a certain visitor from Dubai.
As the ‘Fly Dubai’ flight did not get in until 14.00 we had the morning free, and visited the amazing city of Jerash again. The traffic to the airport was busy, but the Main Roads around Amman flow very well, and we did not see any accidents despite the rather chaotic driving styles witnessed.
The Desert highway from the Airport to Petra was flat and boring, but it was quick, and we arrived in the town of Wadi Musa just before 17.00.
As it was Thursday we decided to go on the “Petra by Night” tour. This begins at the Petra Visitor's Centre at around 8:30 p.m.(1630 GMT) on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday. According to the Tourist Office ‘To visit Petra during daylight is an awe-inspiring experience, to experience it at night by the light of 1,800 candles is truly an out-of-this-world experience! The tour takes visitors through the Siq to the Khazneh along a candle-lit path leading to the centre of the historic city. Enjoy the haunting music of the Bedouin at the Treasury.’
After a really good meal at this restaurant, We set off to the Visitors Centre where we were joined by well over 200 people for the tour, many of whom seemed to have been bussed into Petra for this experience.
First you walk down the path to the Siq, some one had gone to a lot of trouble lighting all the candles along the route. The idea is that you enjoy the atmosphere, the Rough Guide states ‘you enter the pitch dark valley in silence, all talking and mobile phones are banned’. This is not true, the noise created by the hordes of chattering tourist, all using flash photography make the experience just another load of over hyped tourist rubbish. As we got to the end of the Sig, the magical Treasury was lit with candles, and did look magical. We sat down, on the sandy floor, as there were to many people to sit on the rugs provided and had tea out of the smallest plastic cup I have ever seen. We found we could not sit and listen to the music, as the smell of Camel or Horse Urine on the ground on which we were sitting was over powering. All in all I recommend you save the 12JD. I was really disappointed at how poor the experience was versus how amazing it could be (even if it cost more) . I did not find it moving, romantic or anything else, just a rip off!
Daylight, and today was a full day at Petra, Jordans most famous tourist attraction. It is listed as a UNESCO World Hertage site and has starred in many films. Suitably dressed in comfy clothes, with walking shoes on, sun cream applied and plenty of water we sat off once more to the Visitors centre.
It is a long walk from the ticket gate to Petra’s city centre, over 3KM. There is a long flat gravel path, before you get to the Siq, then the exiting part begins. The walk through the Siq in DAYLIGHT was fantastic. It is as dramatic as you imagine. Photos can not capture its impact, the colours of the rocks and there is so much to see as you walk through this long gorge. Just when you think the gorge can go on any longer, there it is................... The Treasury.
Despite the hordes of people it is breathtaking, stunning and totally awe-inspiring.
We had an extraordinary day in the city of Petra, and I am not going to boar you will the details.
Petra certainly deserves its place on the list of ‘things to do before you die’........just miss the ‘Petra by Night’ tour xx.