Exploring The Ancient City of Petra, Jordan :: Part One

Following our 8 hour layover in Turkey, we hopped on a plane headed for Amman, Jordan and arrived late in the evening feeling tired but super excited to be reunited with our dear friend, Tarek.

Tarek, Charles and I all met each other a little over 10 years ago during undergrad.

Charles and I started dating right around the same time that Charles starting hanging with Tarek soooo I guess you could say I’ve been playing the 3rd wheel to their bromance for a long while now. ;)

A few years ago, Tarek moved from Virginia to Jordan to work as a special education teacher.

He’s also an amazing photographer and has been traveling the world in his downtime so make sure to check out photos from his travels on his Instagram account here.

After getting settled at Tarek’s place that night, Charles and I zonked out.

We woke up to the sounds of the call to prayer the next morning.

A quick shower followed by a full spread of breakfast made by Chef T and we were ready for a whirlwind 48-hour adventure.

^^ Tarek a.k.a. Jack Brown

You know how Charles and I refer to ourselves as “Black and Yellow”? Tarek completes our trio as “Brown.”

Jack Brown = Tarek, James Black = Charles and Yellow Cake = Me… I don’t quite remember how we came up with these nicknames 10 years ago but it’s stuck ever since.

(5 minutes later)

Actually, now that I really think about it, I’m pretty sure Charles and Tarek came up with the names and I just went along because I was outnumbered. Moving along…

After packing an overnight bag, we hopped in Tarek’s car and made the 3 hour drive from Amman to the first stop on our itinerary: The ancient city of Petra, Jordan.

My knowledge of Petra is largely based on the movie “Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade”. I watched all of the three original movies multiple times as a kid thanks to my Uncle Mack’s teenage obsession with this series. Whenever I would visit my Gramma, my Uncle Mack would always have one of these movies playing on VHS and I would get sucked into them by association lol.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Petra is an archeological city located in southern Jordan. Dating back to 4th century BC, Petra served as a major trading hub for the nomadic Arabs or Bedouins who lived in the region. But after experiencing over 300 earthquakes which damaged many structures in the years to follow, the city was abandoned.  It wasn’t until 1812, when it was rediscovered by a Swiss explorer, that the city came back into the public eye and grew into the major destination that it is today.

As for the car ride to Petra?

I don’t remember much of it because I was asleep most of the way… But what I do remember is that the ride was very bumpy thanks to unmarked speed bumps that blended in with the road. We didn’t notice them until after the fact when we were already flying over the bump.

(Somebody needs to talk to Jordan’s transportation department and make them paint their speed bumps a different color lol.)

^^ My ” I made it to Petra!” pose

Upon arrival, we went through the admission gate and began walking through the winding, narrow gorge that would lead us into one of the “New 7 Wonders of the World“.

Petra is also referred to as “The Rose City” and with good reason.

Throughout our day there, the sandstone would change back and forth between a light amber gold to a vibrant red color depending on where the sun was in the sky and how the light hit the stone.

^^ A 15-20 minute walk through the gorge, it finally opened up to one the most recognized landmarks in Petra, the Al Khazneh also known as The Treasury.

After checking out The Treasury from below, Tarek asked if we wanted to see The Treasury from above at an overlook that was a little difficult to get to because most of the trail was unmarked.

Knowing we only had 48 hours to see as much as we could, Charles and I responded with “hail yea” and “lead the way” which set the tone for the rest of our day there – Tarek leading with me and Charles following close behind.

^^ As we made the trek upward, we stopped by a few ancient tombs along the way.

^^ And then the incline got super serious… To the point that my thighs and booty weren’t sure if I was going to make it to the overlook and reminded me of that one time the three of us trekked up Old Rag Mountain a few years ago.

We just kept going up and up and up and up.

But finally the land leveled out and it wasn’t long before Tarek pointed to a spot ahead of us and said the beautiful words, “The overlook is right there.”

We were welcomed by the Bedouins who manage the overlook and quickly settled onto the floor pillows to rest our weary legs.

A sprite, granola bar and hot tea later, we enjoyed the shade from the sun and the amazing view of The Treasury from above.

^^ Charles ended up getting a keffiyeh, traditional Jordanian headscarf, as a “practical” souvenir since its main use is to provide protection from sunburn, dust and sand. (and to look cute, in my opinion)

^^ Heart these two.

^^ And this view. <3

^^ One of my favorite memories from our day at Petra.

While drinking tea with the Bedouins, Charles got to talking about music with this one local and tried to put him onto Majid Jordan’s music. But as you can see from the video, the man was not impressed. ;)

So glad I thought to take out my phone and record this moment.

After an hour or so of ambiance and conversation, it was time to leave the overlook and make our way back down the gorge to explore the rest of Petra… Which is where I’m going to end today’s post for the sake of brevity.

Part two of our day in Petra (riding donkeys and camels!!) coming your way next week.

xo, Setarra

P.S. Linking up with Wanderful Wednesday.
P.P.S. More on my travels HERE