Leaving the Royal tombs, we headed off in the direction of the sunshine – or at least, the sunlit parts of Petra thus far, a path that was due to take us to the Monastery, another iconic part of Petrea set high up in the mountains.
For some reason, I get performance anxiety whenever I know there’s going to be a long trek/hike ahead. I guess it’s cos I know, as grateful as I am to get to see whatever it is we are on the trek for, I don’t always feel that way when I’m on it.
My camera bag is almost always too heavy (yes, some of that is just sweets I always travel with and the occasional pack of cookies but most of it is just camera nonsense).
Then there’s the fact that I’m not that keen or particularly fast on uphill walking (I more than make up for that going downhill though – I know people moan about how hard it is on their knees but my knees were made for that stuff – 😄).
Thankfully, there’s still lots more sights here to distract you before you even begin your ascent to the Monastery – like the many temples that line this path.
By this point, the sun was well and truly out and I imagine, in summer, this is the point where, at any other time of the year, the heat might be starting to get a tad unbearable.
For us though it was just brilliant! The jacket I had was no longer tied to my waste but well and truly stuff into my camera bag as the temperatures soared to higher but far from unbearable heights.
The start of the path to the Monastery isn’t actually clear or well sign-posted so, unless things have changed, be sure to ask someone for directions to the start of the stairs before you start heading down a creek or begin climbing up the opposite side of the mountain like we nearly did. 😄
I think if you’re here when it’s busier, it’ll be a lot easier to know where you’re going but there weren’t many people there at the time and even the folks ahead of us had no clue where they were going.
Luckily, the locals are quite helpful (even if some do try to get you to take a donkey ride up to the top – for a fee, of course) and they happily pointed us in the right direction.
When you do this 850 steps trek, be sure to take moments to look back as the view changes from time to time and is also quite an impressive part of the trek.
It’s also the perfect excuse to stop and catch your breath before carrying on. 😄
Even with those stops to take in the view, the whole trek took us like 30 minutes – at which point you’re pretty much instantly rewarded with the view that is the Treasury itself.
It’s so much bigger than expected and it’s immediately easy to see why it’s one of the most impressive parts of Petra!
After this hike up here, we were in no hurry to head back down anytime soon and figured we might as well take in the view from every angle possible!
Eventually, I noticed that behind us, there was a sign for one of the best views and we figured “In for a penny, in for a pound” and decided to head up even more into the mountains to check out said view.
The view itself is great from said-viewpoint (there are several like this) but it’s generally a view of the valleys which is impressive but I don’t know if it’s necessarily worth heading up there – you can get a pretty great view from lower down too.
That being said though, there are little local cafés up there and that’s what you’re really heading up there for – tea with a view. 😀
We decided to have our tea at the café right in front of the Monastery; rather unintentionally – we were already halfway back down from the viewpoint further up the mountain before deciding we wanted to stop for tea and refusing to walk back up, we decided to just go to the one down by the front of the Monastery.
Coffees, teas and snacks at the ready, we spread out on one of the comfy sofas right up at the front, put our cameras away and just soaked up the beauty of Petra! It was another one of those pinch-me moments where you wonder how talking casually about doing something a few weeks prior has led to this exact moment where you’re seeing one of the most amazing places in the world.
Putting the camera away didn’t last too long though as one of the local Bedouin men decided he wanted to climb up to the top of Monastery.
This he did, by the way, with incredible ease. It was just so fascinating and impressive watching him scale up what seemed like almost vertical mountain edges at points.
That fascination soon gave way to major anxiety and shocked gasps from the others who had started to arrive as he got to the top and then proceeded to jump several metres across the very top of the Monastery.
Eventually, he made his way back down safely, though a younger lad decided he wanted in on the action, only to get stuck halfway up the mountain, to get rescued by the first guy on his way back down.
Hydrated and well-fed (we also brought packed lunches from the hotel – as well as the snacks we bought here), we decided to head back down, on what was inevitable a much quicker trek than the original ascent was.
Back down, we meandered our way slowly on a slight different path through the temples…
..before joining back onto the ‘main road’
…past the Royal Tombs and Amphitheatre
…noticing part of Petra we hadn’t even noticed earlier in the morning (despite all my talk about stopping to look back)
…as well as going past more familiar spots,
…before arriving back at the Treasury again.
By this point, our feet were aching and we realised we’d been here for close to 10 hours already (my original plan was to be back at the hotel by noon, especially after our 6am start – nice and relaxed by the pool while deciding on which massage to have and what cocktails to work my way through at the bar).
With that, we bade farewell to Petra – grateful for how it had not only lived up to the hype but by far surpassed it and made our way back to our hotel.
And don’t worry, we still managed to squeeze in those massages and cocktails – which went down a treat with a rather magnificent view of the sunset over Petra.
We would be back to Petra again over the next few days but tomorrow’s plans would see us head a lot further away from Petra!
Will catch you up all about it in the next post. 😀