5 days, 650 km and 390 pictures is one way to sum up last week. This was the kids first long road trip, I on the other hand have fond memories of road trips as a kid. Packing your bags, waking up at dawn, watching the familiar streets and buildings slowly give way to new and exciting landscapes, starting the day in one country and finishing it in another, choosing hotels, exploring the rooms, choosing beds, busy markets and interesting architecture. Road trips in my opinion are a wonderful way for families to bond, make memories that last a lifetime and for sure the best way to explore a country.
Our road trip started from Amman, down south to Madaba, Dead sea and Petra. I will be sharing pictures of our trip in my upcoming posts starting with Petra.If you are here for the recipe please scroll down and you’ll find it at the end of the post.
UNESCO has described it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage”. It was chosen by the Smithsonian Magazine as one of the “28 Places to See Before You Die, it is one of the new seven wonders of the world. Yet, all that does not prepare you to what you will see and experience in Petra, you have to see it to believe it.
Petra is located 260 Km south of the Jordanian capital Amman. Once you leave Amman, the road for the most part is nothing but sand and mountains as far as the eye can see.
Mountains that go from yellow to brown to black. Goats, camels, sheep causing the kids to go wild jumping from the side window to the back window. Trucks, buses, cars and then long expanses with just nothing and no one
After a 3 hour drive, we got to Petra, checked into our hotel which happened to be situated directly at the visitor’s entrance to Petra and took off to explore the rose red city half as old as time.
After buying the tickets and getting through the gate, you are given a choice to make the trip on horse back, in a small carriage or to walk it on foot. If this is your first visit to Petra I strongly recommend you do it on foot, there is so much to see on the road leading up to the siq and the walk down the siq is an experience you don’t want to miss.
When you first leave the gate, these stone cubes are the first thing you encounter, they are shrines for the protective God’s that the Nabateans worshiped and they are found around the city and its water supply.
Right before you get to the Siq, there is a dam on the right hand side, this dam was built by the Nabataean to divert rain water and flash flood water away from the Siq and away from their city. The Nabataean knowledge of water hydraulics and how to manage water is nothing short of astounding. Every drop of water that fill within a 25 km diameter around the city was guided to the city through a system of canals and wells, that enabled them to maintain a continuous water supply to their capital city that is located in the middle of the dessert
Starting at the entrance of the Siq and spanning its entire length the remains of the water channel that entered the city , on the opposite side there is a system of tubes that carried the main water supply to the city, can you believe it? water pipes 2000 years ago? and that is not the best part, those water pipes were joined together using a water resistant cement that the Nabateans invented! Recent excavations and work in the area discovered that the pipes did not run horizontally, they were angled in a way to ensure that even when full with water-the pressure with in the pipes would not build up to the point of causing the pipes to crack or explode! a technology we figured out only during the 20th century
The Siq is the main entrance to the ancient city of Petra. This narrow gorge (in some points no more than 3 meters wide) winds its way approximately 1.2 Km and ends at Petra’s most elaborate ruin, Al Khazneh (The Treasury).The walls that enclose the Siq stand between 91–182 meters (300–600 feet) in height
The Siq started as a crack in the mountain due to an earthquake and was then deepened and widened by the flash floods that happen in the winter. The walk down the siq is a magical experience, the colors and forms of the sandstone that make up the walls is breath taking to say the least
At various points in the Siq you see these trees growing from cracks in the stone, sometimes near the bottom and others midway up the wall. This tree was the biggest I saw, to think that this tall and magnificent tree grows from a crack in stone!
Through out the siq there are kids from the bedoin tribe that used to live in Petra, they sell postcards and handcrafts are mostly friendly and love posing for pictures
At various points the walls of the Siq have different carving in the stone
and stair leading to what is thought to be high points for the guards to stand watch over the caravans entering the city
The siq ends with a sneak peak at Petra’s most famous ruin, Al Khazneh.
At first you only get a glimpse of the magical structure awaiting you and then slowly and with every step you see a little more until the khazneh makes a dramatic and magnificant appearance in all its glory, even 2000 years later.
This is the end of part 1 but only the beginning of this magnificent rose red city half as old as time, now the question to you my dear reader is, are you interested in seeing more of Petra? and if the answer is yes would you rather have this in a separate post with no recipe or with a recipe like today?
If there is one fruit that reminds me the most of the beautiful colors of the sand stone of petra it is peaches and after spending five days hiking and exploring in the June heat there is no better use for peaches that to make this energizing drink. I had pinned the recipe for a vegan peach shake I saw at munchin with munchkins and decided to play with it a little, the recipe below is for the drink I made, I replaced the maple syrup with puree dates, added almonds,omitted the coconut oil and peach preserves, and didn’t use the ice, I used a frozen banana and I froze the peach segments so I didn’t need the ice and the result was a thick and creamy consistency with a combination of flavors that is out of this world. You can find the original recipe here and the one I used is the one below, enjoy
Vegan Peach cobbler drink
adapted from Munchin with munchkin
2 ripe peaches, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup light coconut milk
1 ripe frozen banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon almonds (optional, you can use the almond meal left from making almond milk)
2 tablespoons graham cracker crumbs (check label to ensure it is vegan)
1 tablespoon old fashioned oats
3 dates (for sweetness)
Combine all ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth
Garnish with a peach slice and a spring of mint.