Most people come to Jordan to see Petra and plan their vacation around it. It is definitely up there with most impressive ruins around the world. It is so famous that when Reine from Jordan Tourism asked me what I was most excited about in Jordan she was surprised I answered food and not Petra.
Do not underestimate my love of food.
But I knew Petra was a big deal. I had seen the photos of the Treasury, named so because people mistakenly thought this large space had once been a bank. Apparently they were wrong but it remains the iconic photo of Jordan.
My guide Mahmoud and I traisped through the beautiful canyon to the Treasury and it lived up to the hype but after the obligatory photos he explained this was just the beginning of Petra. In fact only one-fifth of the ruins had been discovered but the site is massive and most of it is underground.
As he explained the history we were approached by some Bedouin children trying to sell souvenirs. All were very polite and certainly not as aggressive as those I have encountered at other sites like Angkor Wat.
It tugs at your heart.
Mahmoud explained that tourists should not buy from these children. There are many programs to get these children into school, and if people did not buy from them they would have a better opportunity in the long run.
With so many options at Petra Mahmoud asked me what I wanted to do, I had already explained that I am a self-professed lazy traveler.
He was hesitant to push me to do any hiking but knew there were a couple of climbs of 800 steps or more. He liked the Monastery the best but warned me it could take an hour to climb. Not wanting to pressure me he did say I could take a donkey up hill.
I am lazy but I am also stubborn.
There is no way I would not take a donkey up or any other animal. I could put my laziness aside for an hour.
And I did.
It was a surprisingly easy climb with shallow steps and sights to keep me occupied so time passed quickly. I was shocked when we reached the top that there was this massive site.
It was worth it and now I have redefined my adversion to hiking from all hiking to hiking for more than two hours.