Tuesday, February 09, 2016

A Pleasure Full Grown V~Little Petra

Upon awaking the next morning in Dana village, I went to the window to check the weather as we were planning to continue on to Petra and Little Petra after breakfast. Today was Bride-To-Be's one chance to see Petra. The thick drizzly fog did not portend good site-seeing weather, and the room temperature told me that it was still very cold outside.

We huddled around the breakfast table,  hands cupped around our warm tea glasses, and discussed our options. In the end, we decided not to decide until we drove out of the valley. We drove slowly on the narrow road which wound up to the highway through the dense fog; at times visibility was only four or five feet.

However when we made it to the highway, the fog quickly cleared and we were encouraged to make the hour drive to Petra to see what we would find there. We planed to drop Active Son and Bride-to-Be at Petra, with the rest of us continuing to Little Petra. Only Artist Son had ever visited Little Petra, admission is free, and as we have seen Petra many times, we wanted to avoid the $80 we'd have to pay for our entrance fees to Petra. 

The mostly-clear weather held, even as we dropped down a bit into the valley toward the entrance of Petra. We dropped off Active Son and Bride-to-Be, and the rest of us continued down the road another fifteen minutes or so until we reached Little Petra. 

Stopping to visit an ancient cistern opposite the entrance of  Little Petra

A couple of us purchased scarves from the Bedouin vendors set up outside the entrance of Little Petra, and then we headed into the siq, a narrow gorge which is the entrance to the ancient city. The siq of (big)Petra is a mile long; this one, just about 100 feet long.

We enjoyed walking around, climbing up and down, letting our imaginations absorb the ancient beauty that surrounded us on all sides.

A smaller treasury

Tayta and Artist Son looking at "the other side of the street"...

..and Artist Son decides to check it out. The landscape reminds me of something from a Tolkien book.

This is about the time that we stood together and exclaimed once again how awesome our surroundings were. Tayta thought we should sing. She would. Artist Son suggested the Doxology, and so we sang.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise Him all creatures here below
Praise Him above ye heavenly hosts
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost

Until now, we were the only people in Little Petra. The only people except a young Bedouin vendor, who invited us to his "shop" to enjoy the best view in the land, and a very old Bedouin who played for us on his one-string rebab. He was completely charming.

In the next cave  we viewed the 2000 year old Hellenistic-style painting that was revealed in 2010 after being rejuvenated by British conservationists. These cave paintings are all the more remarkable because they are so rare, with only fragments of any Hellenistic painting remaining today.

About this time we saw one other tourist couple, from Portugal, and so enjoyed pointing out these exquisite paintings to them.

Then onward and upward in search of our Bedouin-vendor-friend's camp. We were invited for tea after all, and it sounded perfect on this cold blustery day.

Our Bedouin friend spoke the truth. I believe the view from his camp was the most beautiful for miles around. Dear Husband scrambles off to get a better look...

Here's a panoramic shot I took. It's a little distorted, but a little of the Bedouin shop/camp shows on the left, and Dear Husband and Artist Son are on the right. They're not really across the canyon, but more like 90 degrees southwest of the camp.

The geography of the land seemed a melding of the sandstone formations of Wadi Dana and Wadi Rum.

We sat in the sun and warmed our hands on the glasses of the steaming tea that our Bedouin friend served us, still soaking up "his" beautiful view, Tayta bought a trinket from him (made in India) for more than we should have paid, but we didn't feel taken in the least.

The shades blue-grey lichens of the area always catch my eye. The colors are perfect.

As we headed back to Petra to pick up Active Son and Bride-to-Be, we had to pull over to the side of the road to enjoy yet another exclamatory view. 

We couldn't just look from the side of the road. We had to go be there in that place. For just a little while. Together.

I tried to capture some of the grandeur with my camera, Artist Son, with his pen and sketchbook.

Despite the inclement weather, there was no shortage of tourists treking out of Petra late that afternoon. Active Son had shown Bride-to-Be the wonders of the city, hiking to the Monastery and ducking into a cave to wait out a brief hailstorm. We were all very thankful to return to our (relatively) warm apartment in Mafraq, complete with a hot showers heated mattress pads. 


Ruth Pappas said...

I didn't know there was a little Petra! How cool!

Come Away With Me said...

Thank you for sharing Little Petra with us. I did not know about that. Was in the other Petra in 1995 for a brief visit one summer and it was stunning (despite the heat and dust). But what I love most of your photos is the beautiful ancient painting . . . cannot help wondering who the artist was and what sort of life he/she lived, etc., etc.