Riding a short, ill-tempered horse, sun barely peeking over the horizon, the chill of early-morning-desert air pricking my skin, I thought I was prepared for my first sight of the Treasury, the iconic image of Petra. I was wrong. Despite having seen it hundreds of times in movies, especially Indiana Jones, I expected just another blasé experience, another snapshot to put in my world-traveller photo album. What I got was a shiver down my spine that had nothing to do with the cold and that I remember to this day. Petra is definitely on my list of the top ten places I’ve been in my life and if you ever get the opportunity, I urge you to go.
The tomb known as the Treasury, because it was thought to contain hidden treasures, is only one of the amazing sights to be seen. Half way up the 800 stone steps to the Ad-Deir Monastery you’ll wonder if the climb is worth it. Take lots of water, pace yourself and before you reach the last step take a deep breath because you won’t be able to draw another one when you see this magnificent monument carved into the mountain. When I was there, more than a few years ago, I was able to climb right up onto the dome at the top. I imagine they will have stopped that now, conservation and all that. There was also a little tea “shop”, more of a tea tent actually, where you could get a drink before tackling the descent.
From what I’ve read on Trip Advisor, the standard of accommodation near Petra has also greatly improved. I remember a hostel type hotel which, after a day trekking through the dessert heat was not the level of luxury my body, even as young as it was then, had hoped for. Then again, maybe a little bit of roughing it added to the experience.
Have you read any contemporary romances set in full or part in Petra? If so, I’d love to know about them. If not, perhaps I should write one…