Petra has been on Peter’s bucket list for a LONG time. Ever since we moved to London he has been mentioning it even more often since it would only be a 5 hour flight.
Last August when we heard we may be relocating I thought to myself, “well, that could be a good birthday present!” It was then I started to plan this trip in order to give it to him on his birthday. Of course, even if I’m the COO and CFO of Cooper Enterprises, the CEO found out. Nevertheless, we were set to go to Petra during our wedding anniversary weekend.
We arrived Thursday night at 9:30 pm and got picked up by a driver I had requested. The drive from Amman to Petra is 2 1/2 hours. It would have been easier to go to the airport in Aqaba but it’s closed to commercial flights at the moment, a couple of conflicts in the region so the airport is primarily used for cargo.
No matter, Zacharia was able to get us to our hotel in Petra just before midnight. During the drive I looked at the stars that were shining in the desert sky while Peter slept. He had flown back from NYC in the morning. I had picked him up, brought him home for a shower and we had turned around back to Heathrow. No matter, it was his birthday present and Peter had been waiting for this trip for a while.
Friday morning we got up around 7:30 and after a nice breakfast at the Movenpick hotel that is literally outside the entrance to Petra, we headed over there, bought our tickets, hired a guide for 2 hours and off we went.
Essentially the guide walked with us for two hours and talked to us about stone formation, politics, history and trade. All fascinating but you must be there in person to appreciate the magnitude of the site and take it all in.
As you walk onto the site you see the first set of tombs.
Carriages, horses and camels are taking people to and from places. We walked the whole time and according to my garmin, we managed to walk close to 12 miles during the day.
The iconic walk to the Treasury.
Sculptures in the sandstone everywhere.
The treasury! No access since 2004, when they found tombs just below the entrance. Indiana Jones was ahead of his time!
When we reached the Treasury, our guide invited us to sit and enjoy a nice cup of mint tea. We sat and talked about the history of Petra and watched the many tourists who only come to see the Treasury and then walk back the 1.3 km to the visitor entrance. Not Peter Cooper. He was in for the whole day. After our tea we headed down further into the old city to the center.
I got a little obsessed with camels.
The treasury door up front.
The tomb they found under the Treasury door.
Hadrian’s gate A.D. 130. The man gets around. Peter and I hiked Hadrian’s Wall (A.D. 122) between England and Scotland.
After getting in front of the Roman ruins our guide announced that his tour was up. I wanted to hike up to the Monastery and he told us how to get there and that it would take us about 40 minutes. With the midday sun shining and the temps rising we Peter and I started the ascent. The view did not disappoint.
We could see the Royal Tombs from the Monastery trail.
The view from up there!
After coming down from the Monastery we had lunch before doing some more exploring.
After lunch and lots of water, (not much alcohol intake in Jordan!), we set out for the “Trail of High Sacrifice”. Sounds scary and at times Peter and I thought we were Hobbits climbing Muldor, but we eventually made it and we saw the Soldier’s tomb (pictures from my phone on my Facebook page. I had to put the Nikon away due to climbing) and there were no sacrifices…
The sun was setting and we decided to exit the site. What a day!
Friday morning we slept in a little. Zacharia who drove us on Thursday night offered to pick us up and drive us to our next location, The Dead Sea!
Zacharia gave us a lovely drive through the mountains, the desert, the farmlands and finally we reached the Dead Sea area.
The rugged terrain of Jordan.
We were driving down to the Desert.
Let’s stop for some mint tea.
From the Desert…
To the Farmland.
Potash! Jordan is a big producer of potash.
Can you see the camels eating from the trees? Camels were found just on the side of the road on the way to Amman.
Zacharia dropped us off at our resort on the Dead Sea. Peter and I did some floating around. Trust me, you cannot put your eyes or mouth in the water, it burns!
We told Zacharia we had dinner plans in Amman. He offered to pick us up and take us to dinner and he told us to leave some room for dessert. He was bringing us to a famous dessert place in Amman to have Kanafeh, a traditional dessert made with cheese pastry soaked in sweet, sugar-based syrup. IT IS DELICIOUS! And people queue for it.
The Kanafeh in the back with the pistachios, was the best.
This morning we were up at the crack of dawn in order to get to the airport. People kept on telling us you have to get there early…little did we know the reason is the 4 security check points through the airport. I got searched, felt up, looked at, man o man, it was easy to get into Jordan, a little harder to get out, but we made it. We are back in London and we can check this off the bucket list. Petra, DONE!