The official rally start time was 07.15 a.m. but for once we did not adhere to it. After arriving late and staying at the first really nice hotel for a while, we opted for a swim at 7.00 a.m. in the Gulf of Aqaba – beautifully warm and a relaxed breakfast. We left at 09.00 and stopped at the bank to change money. The road was fast, apart from the odd speed bump and we were soon at Wadi Rum. A quick visit to see the seven pillars of wisdom and take a nice photo of the Aston next to a camel in front of some spectacular mountains.
We arrived at the Movenpick hotel in Wadi Musa just after noon; parked the car and straight away headed for Petra. It is an amazing place. The ancient, deep, river gorge of sandstone was carved into buildings – mostly tombs, mostly around C1 a.d. We saw both the highlights: the Treasury, famous from Indiana Jones films and up another 850 steps, the ‘Monastery’. You could take a horse, camel, mule or donkey for some parts, but apart from one mule, we did it all on foot and arrived back at the hotel, exhausted at 6.30 p.m. It was worth it and the highlight was taking mint tea in a small tent at the very top listening to local music played on an Ut (like a Lute) and looking down to the 40m x 50m front of ‘the Monastery’ carved into the rock.
Nothing is cheap here, and the $200 that I changed this morning seems to have mostly disappeared, but it is a fabulous country and we are enjoying it greatly.