Sunday, November 4, 2012

Jordan Part 1 - Petra

Warning: picture packed post!
It's been highly recommended that we make a trip to Jordan before leaving the region.  So last spring we started planning a trip with some of our dear friends.  We figured the Jordan trip with friends would be triple the fun for us and our kids if we made the trek together.  And sure ' was amazing and a huge success!  We had an absolute blast and promise to travel again together one day.  Our kids were solid! They got along so well and put up with a ton of walking.  And the adults...well it was full of great times and much easier knowing our kids were having so much fun together.

Last week we had a week off school and work for the local/Muslim holiday Eid. We left on Thursday morning and flew just a few hours to Amman.  Flights less than 5 hours are heavenly! 
Few special passengers on our flight.  The State of Qatar bird...the falcon! 
 He was watching Madagascar 3 with his falcon.  I'm still giggling. I hate to mention what was all over the floor in the isle...still pretty cool to be so close. 

Our crew waiting for our sweet ride, wait for it...
Yes! The 18 passenger van/bus.  It was awesome!! 
We booked our trip through a travel agent which offered 2 minivans or the big bus!  We went for the big bus and loved it!  

Kids loved it too!
Saleh (Jordanian) was our guide all week.  He was incredible! Almost too much info!
Linds and I enjoying the traditional Arabic sweet Baklava.  Our tour guide gave us the most delicious (and expensive, so he said) box full when we got on the bus! Adults and kids devoured it!
Its loaded with honey, butter, nuts, sugar, vanilla, etc.  Even Pioneer Woman makes Baklava!

Beautiful Jordan Sunset!  Looks a lot different than than a Doha sunset...clouds make all the difference!
We stopped near Petra at Moses Spring where God told Moses to strike the rock which turned into water for the Israelites and their livestock.
Lindsay checking out the spring
Then we were off to check into our Petra hotel which was very close to the gate in the heart of town.  We dumped our suitcases and headed for dinner but not before seeing these beauts that were left in our room for arrival. Gotta love it!  Kids were over the top! Newell was too ;)
We had a traditional Arabic dinner and some very tired kiddos!
The next morning we were up early to see Petra but then realized it was daylight savings day for the country of Jordan.  So we slept in an extra hour, went to breakfast and met out tour guide in the lobby only to find out that "they" (the country of Jordan) just decided to not have the daylight savings time after all.  Really? Well we're definitely still in the middle east.  Nothing is official and decisions are sometimes made without notice and very last minute.  No problem we're on vacation!!
Just inside of the first carvings.
Petra is a rock-cut city of the Nabataean Kingdom. It was thriving from 3rd century BC until 2nd century AD until is was then taken over by the Romans.  Obviously Moses and Israelites passed through Petra (Edom).  Still can't believe we walked in places that we've read about all our lives.   Moses's brother Aaron is buried at the top of Mount Hor in Petra. A church, (now mosque) now marks his burial. 

Petra, specifically the "Treasury" is especially known for the location of filming Indiana Jones, The Last Crusade.You'll know it when you see it! Also...more important to the fellas at my house was the filming of Transformers in Wadi Rum (southern Jordan) and parts of Petra.
We walked and walked just looking straight up in awe of such a an amazing place.
 Massive and breathtaking!
On our way to the Treasury our guide told us all about life in Petra.  How the city functioned and logistics for simple needs like water and how the aqua-ducts worked.  He also pointed out this little carved area where people would stand to preform a traditional wedding ceremony.  
Saleh with the beloved Austins!
 We'd like to think these two might tie the knot one day!  I wouldn't dare ask them to hold hands but I sure wanted to.  Look at the identical pose.
Georgia usually twirls her hair when she's tired.  She decided Daddy's was just as good. 

 Little Bear
So the longer you're walking around the bigger you start to feel.  I guess you get used to the size of the rocks, which are perfect for little boys to climb on and for parents to loose perspective!! I've never seen someone really turn into Spiderman before but Brad Harris sure did when Cres took a tiny tumble..  All was just fine...scary for one second.  This is just before the fall. 
A glimpse of the Treasury...
The Treasury!
Our guide had us walk with our heads down until we were right in front...I must say it was pretty dramatic.  Carved out of rock for crying out loud!
 Group shot!
 Snack break!

 Moving on...on donkeys!
See the camel? 
 And here we go...900 steps.  All kids and a couple of adults were on donkeys.  That included me with Georgia since Daddy deserved a break.  This picture doesn't describe the incline and steps.  My donkey slipped TWICE on the dust covered rocks.  Heart seriously stopped.   I was squeezing life out of Georgia while the Barrett and his Jordanian friend trotted far up ahead and out of sight.  
Do you see the lady in the white hat looking back at the donkey with Barrett?  She's turning around on her way down and thinks we're NUTS!  But how else are little legs supposed to get up 900 steps?
We had come so far...we weren't turning back and we weren't going to miss out! 
Once we arrived to the top, seeing the Monastery was all worth it.  Still unbelievable that human hands carved such a thing out of rock mountains. 
 That's Barrett's crazy Jordanian donkey friend on the very very top...he too was a bit like Spiderman!
 The dudes!
 After we passed the Monastery we moved further up...more steps, to over look most of the mountain range. Again...breathtaking moment.  We're so small...God's handy work so big!
 Doesn't drop off like you think it does...
 On our way back down...

 Cute camels!
 She finally gave up.
 The rock turns red later in the day when its in the shade.
 Finishing up
Getting close to the gate where we caught a complimentary horse ride that came with our tickets. 
 And dinner...some of the absolute best pizza ever!  We went the whole day without a real meal. Our kids were little energizer bunnies!
They all ate like horses!!
Who knew...great pizza at the Oriental!  Land of almost! Back to the hotel where we let our kids continue to run crazy! We played some games, laughed about our day and fell into our beds!
Gotta love G's little bed.
 Buddies! Cres and Barrett
 We were told twice (before 9 pm) by a mean old lady that our kids needed to be quiet.
We decided to do this instead of parenting! It was a long day!
 What a day! So worth it! There is absolutely no way pictures can describe Petra. So we suggest you go yourself!

1 comment:

Mary Anne said...

Petra is (and has been) VERY high on my to do list. Looks like you guys had a super great time! What an experience to give your kids!