The Road Back to Petra, Tourism, and Goodwill


a guest post by Milton Fullman.

Writer/photographer Milton Fullman recently traveled to Egypt and Jordan as part of a Goodwill DelegationThese are his observations from the Jordan portion of his trip. 


Tuesday began with a three-hour bus ride from Amman to Petra, where we enjoyed a day of touring, interacting with locals. On the ride, I observed beautiful countryside and well maintained roadways. Traffic was light, perhaps, I thought, because so many people have stayed away. My, what they are missing by not being here.

The day was sunny and clear. I’m sure that the tourism folks were pleased to have such a setting for showcasing their country. From the bus, we began walking into Petra, passing through gates that took us to vendors who offered horseback and carriage rides into the historic site. (Motorized vehicles are not permitted.)

One vendor, who figured I was American, approached me to ask for my help in telling Americans about his country.  “Look,” he said, “three camels… no waiting.” Much to the vendors’ chagrin, all of our group decided, after our lengthy bus ride, we would prefer walking toward the rose-red city. Besides, the day was sunny and we had had our fair share of being indoors.

So, we headed to Petra, which has been called the Lost City. Although Petra once was a significant city, following the 14th century AD it seemed to vanish. That changed in 1812 when Swiss traveler Johann Ludwig Burckhardt found his way into the guarded site. His ploy: pretending he was an Arab from India who wanted to offer a sacrifice at the tomb of the Prophet Aaron. Thanks to his scheme, Petra was no longer lost to the western world.

Like an orchestra whose music rises to a crescendo, the walk climaxed with a view of the Al-Khazneh (The Treasury). I knew the towing red mountains and mausoleums would be vast. Nothing, however, had prepared me for the colossal size of Jordan’s most visited tourist attraction. Sprawling 30 m wide and stretching 43 m high, the huge façade dwarfed us. Wow!  

As in Egypt, the tourism infrastructure is neatly in place in Jordan. Guides are readily available and friendly. Crowds are sparse. If Egypt and Jordan are on your bucket list – and well they should be – now is the time to visit.

 

For complete Jordan trip-planning information, visit www.visitjordan.com/.

Follow Milton’s travels at www.lynnandmilton.com.

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Ellen Barone has been creating words and images for travel and tourism since 1998. She co-founded and publishes the group travel blog YourLifeIsATrip.com and is currently at work on her first book "I Could Live Here".