Another picture from Petra because Petra is AMAZING!!! I LOVED it there.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
The Lost City of Petra. First thing people think of? Indiana Jones! Ha ha. It's true. I thought about it for a second while I was there... but mostly I just just lost in how huge and amazing this place was. You always see pictures of the Treasury in Petra... so I thought that was pretty much all it was... but there is so much more to it than that. Petra is HUGE!!! We didn't even get to see it all in the time that we were there.We did however get some unique experiences.
When you first enter, it's a mile or so before you actually get to the main site in Petra (which is the treasury). They try to get you to get in a horse and buggy... but we wanted to walk. It was a beautiful walk, so I didn't mind. It reminded me SO much of Utah, walking through slot canyons.
Then after that walk, you turn a corner and... BAM! There is the treasury. It's amazing and you KNOW why it is one of the 7 wonders of the world. I could just sit and stare at the Treasury all day (especially with those cute camels in front) but there is so much more to see!
So we continued walking through Petra. We had seen pictures from the treasury from above, so we wanted to hike to get that view, so we were on a mission to find it. While we were walking... we were getting pestered to pay for donkey rides to get around Petra faster to see more. It makes sense, but we were tired of being bugged, so we said no no no no to everyone that offered a donkey. We kept walking. And seeing some beautiful sites while we walked.
We found the pathway that lead to the view of the Treasury that we wanted. So we started the hike up. It was good to get some exercise in since I had taken a couple weeks off of the gym. Being sick did make it harder to hike though. Can't beat the view though.
When we finally made it all the way up and found our way to the view that we were looking for, we were not expecting anything to be up there. However, there was a tent. It was awesome. It was a tent with cushions inside so that you could sit back and relax while you enjoyed the view. You could even buy some tea from a Bedouin that was there in the tent. He also played music for us. For while, it was just Deb and I in the tent and it felt like it was just for us. It was amazing. We hung out there for a while.
Then we decided to head back down before it got dark... plus we wanted to find a great place to watch the sunset. When we hiked all the way back down, we ran into these 2 guys on donkey's. Of course they were wanting us to pay to go on a donkey ride somewhere. We said no. However, we asked them where a good place to watch the sunset would be. They said they would take us on their donkey's. We said we weren't going to pay, they said they didn't want us to pay, they just wanted to take us. So we both got on a donkey and they led us to a spot to watch the sunset. It was beautiful. While we sat and enjoyed the view, they started talking to us and after a little while... after we knew they were friendly and not creepy and not trying to get anything out of us, they invited us to have tea with them in one of their caves.
Backstory. I had seen an idiot abroad and he said in a cave when he visited Petra. I really wanted to do that but was not sure you really could. Well... turns out you can because this guy offers it, but even though I wasn't going to be able to sleep in a cave, I could still have my cave experience... so Deb and I said yes. If I were a lone, I probably wouldn't have done it, but I guess power in numbers makes me feel safer. I really didn't get a bad feeling from them either. So off we went to his cave. What a cool cave. The other guy made tea for all of us and we sat in the cave for about an hour and chatted while we drank tea. Then it was dark out and it was time to go. Since it was dark they shared the donkey with us on the way out... which wasn't the most comfortable, but it is what it is. By the time we got to the gate, they had a taxi waiting for us to take us back to our hostel.
After dinner at our hostel, we went back to Petra to see Petra by night. It was freezing... and I didn't bring anything warmer than my jacket. The guy telling everyone where to go saw how cold I was... he asked me if he got me a coat to borrow if I would promise not to get it dirty. I told him I swore on my life and I would love him forever. He laughed and then snuck over to a shop that was still open that had a Bedouin coat hanging on a hanger outside the shop... he looked around to make sure nobody was looking and then stole the coat from the shop and gave it to me. I laughed and felt bad and was thankful all at the same time. I promised him I would bring it back and he said he just wanted me to enjoy the experience. You know what? I did a lot more because of him. Those Bedouin coats are very warm. Deb made fun of me because I put it on over my jacket where I had the hood over my head and over my backpack on my back and it made me look like a turtle. She would laugh and call me Turtle Tracy. I said... I don't care... I am warm. She took a picture to show me how ridiculous I looked. And she was totally right... but again, I didn't care. I was warm and a guy totally stole this coat for me to stay warm. That is legit.
Then we made our way to the treasury for the ceremony. The entire walk there was lit by tea light bags. It was magical. When we got to the treasury there were cushions for us to sit on and we sat in silence and they served us tea while we sit and listened to beautiful music while Petra was lit by tea light bags. It was lovely. So glad we went.
Needless to see, Petra was a pretty awesome experience. No regrets. It's a must see. It's one of my favorite wonders so far... it's up there with Machu Picchu.
Monday, November 28, 2016
Jordan had such a drastically different feel than Israel. I loved Israel, but Jordan felt more like what I expected the Middle East to feel like. We weren't in Jordan quite as long as we were in Israel, but we still got a pretty good taste of it. We went to Dana, where we stayed in my favorite hostel and met this awesome girl from India (now living in Singapore) so now I have a place to stay if I am ever in Singapore.
Unfortunately it was too windy and cold for me to want to explore Dana, especially since my cold was getting really bad at this point. So I just stayed put and hung out with people at the hostel. Good thing I really liked that hostel.
Other than Dana, we went to Petra, the Wadi Rum desert and then Aqaba (where Jordan's part of the Red Sea is) before we headed to Amman to the airport to fly home. Obviously there will be a separate post for the Wadi Rum desert and Petra... this post is to just give you a little taste of Jordan.
In Aqaba we walked around the city a lot and when we got tired of walking, we went to the beach to sit in the shade and relax. While sitting there, many people approached me (us... mostly me) and gave us food to try, bought me a local fruit drink from someone going around selling it, a guy wanted me to go with him to a different beach, some guy draws cool designs on people for money, when I told him I didn't want to pay for that he just said give me your arm and drew on it anyway. Don't worry... he wrote I love you Tracy with his initials in a heart... not a weird thing to walk around with at all. People didn't care about getting money from me, they just wanted an excuse to come talk to me. It was mostly friendly and not creepy... so I didn't mind too much and I was friendly and would chat with everyone. I did feel bad that Deb didn't get much of the attention, but she was a good sport about it. She is so easy going... that is why she is such a great travel companion.
After we left the beach, I wanted to get some ice cream before we headed to the bus station. After buy ice cream, the guys invited us to eat with them. Let me tell you, that food was good! After they asked for pictures with me, so we took them. It's fine... Kinda makes me feel like a celebrity. Ha ha.
Jordan was so interesting. I really enjoyed it there and I wish we could have had more time there. I say that about everywhere I think... but I really could spend a lifetime traveling the world. There is just so much to see and so many interesting people to meet. If I ever had the opportunity to go back to Jordan, I would.
Sunday, November 27, 2016
So hard to put Jerusalem in one post since we spent almost a week there. I guess I will just throw a bunch of pictures at you. It's a pretty beautiful city with a lot of history and culture. Deb and I loved spending time there exploring and spending time with the people that we met.
We took a free city tour of the old city of Jerusalem (my favorite part of the city)
We also took a mount of olives tour, which in included some cool churches on the mount of olives. One of my favorites was this church that around the grounds and inside the church, they had the Lords prayer written in EVERY language. It took me a while to find the English transition.
Also saw the Garden of Gethsemane.
We also went to the Western Wall aka the Wailing Wall. We went at the absolute best time too... Friday night. Why is Friday night the best time to go? Because it is the start of Sabbath and so that is when the most people are there singing and chanting and dancing and praying and leaving notes in the wall. So... we went and we wrote a note and we prayed and left our notes in the wall. Even thought he prayer wall is not my particular belief, I really enjoy learned and participating in other people's faiths and how they worship. So I am really glad that we went and participated.
We found this hidden gem in the old city. You could climb to the top of this building... pay a small fee to go on the roof and you got this awesome view of the city. I LOVED it.
AS it turns out, Jerusalem has quite a night life. I wasn't expecting that for some reason. When the markets shut down, they close their doors and on the doors is this cool graffiti art. I loved it. I loved the entire atmosphere. The markets closed and the bars opened in the same place and the music and lights came on and I loved being there and dancing.
Loved Jerusalem! What an amazing experience.