Len Shipley ABPPA
'Sir! Sir! You ride? A horse for Madame?'
Siren voices from importunate owners sought to entice us into hiring their mounts to carry us the 1half miles down the Siq. We had arrived at the commercial border of historic Petra.
To be strictly accurate we had arrived the previous evening and had lodged at the tiny, intimate, Flowers Hotel. 'We' were a party of 20 (including our leader, Tim) on holiday in Jordan. We had been following part of the route taken by Lawrence of Arabia during his fight against the Turks. This also included a couple of days stay in the desert at Wadi Rum. However, Petra was, reputedly, the highlight of the trip.
The omens had been good. Our day's journey had ended at dusk and as we climbed down from our bus the rock around the hotel seemed infused with the crimson, orange and gold which filled the sky over the hills surrounding Petra. It was almost a cliche of a scene that could have graced the pages of a hundred travel brochures. But then, a spot like this was bound to be full of cliches: "Rose red city; Queen of the desert; Lawrence's Petra". I had so long wanted to visit this place that I could not help but wonder if I was going to be disappointed in my expectations.
It was now early the following day and we had gathered inside the site entrance where we met our guide, Kamal, who was to be with us for the morning only and, declining all offers of a mount, we set off on our walk through the Siq.
At first the track was stony and unremarkable but soon, we were passing the first Nabataean rock-cut tombs and the, initially low, rock outcrops on either side began to converge and increase in height.
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