Petra, Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan
When I first heard of the New Seven Wonders of the World, I was surprised to learn about Petra. I have no doubt why it should be on the list, I was doubting myself as to why I am not familiar with it. If you asked me a year ago, I would have never imagined that I will be setting foot in the Jordan, or the Middle East and yet in the last months of pursuing my doctorate degree, the “itch” to reward myself of a trip of a lifetime became clearer. You only live once, and my philosophy with traveling especially at these times is that there is no guarantee of our safety. I asked myself, why keep postponing a trip to this part of the world, when you can go now? So that’s exactly what I did…
When I started researching about going to Petra, most people would recommend doing at least two days. I didn’t believe it myself. I have been to The Great Wall, Colosseum, and Machu Picchu and it all took just a day for me to explore (With exception of the Inca Trail which was 4 days worth of hiking – more on that here). But Petra is different… it is massive! That is why you would see horses, donkeys, and camels used as taxis inside the site. I’m all about responsible tourism so think before you ride these working animals. Truthfully, most of them looked malnourished so I encourage you to make the right choice.
After a long drive coming back from Jerusalem, we arrived at our hotel around 1 then went on to explore the site at around 3:30. It was a looong way to the “Treasury”, the infamous structure you see in every Instagram post on Petra. Because we arrived just after the daytrippers left, the site was almost empty, with just young children haggling for souvenirs and donkey rides. As much as we would want to stay longer, we were already exhausted from our early morning and long drive, so we decided to detour, walk almost four miles back to the entrance, as we were going to do another 8-mile roundtrip later that evening to experience Petra by Night.
The next day, we started just after sunrise to be one of the few to enter the site with a guide. Because there was only one way going in and going out, it felt like a déjà vu from the day before. After the Treasury, it was such a surprise to see more of Petra, with little stores having “wifi” signs outside, and some Roman Columns that reminded me more of Acropolis than Rome. The sun was starting to get hotter and we zoomed up to the “Monastery”, a bigger version of the Treasury that you can only get to if you have at least a whole day of exploring.
The only thing I regret about our visit? I wished we had more time to climb up and get that Petra-from-above view.
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