AMAZING WINDING ROAD TO MONASTERY IN PETRA
I was not sure I could climb the steps to the Monastery.
We just came down from High Sacrifice Place. I was out of energy, there’s nothing left. I felt more tired when I remember how many steps I had to travel to reach the Monastery. Before leaving for Jordan I read many articles on the internet. One article said that the stairs around 800 to 1000 uphill. That’s why I exercised regularly when I stayed a month in Yogyakarta. Even testing my condition by walking from Kaliurang street to Malioboro street. All that was nothing compared to the trip to Petra.
The first steps begin near the Basin Restaurant and the Nabatean Museum. The best time to climb to the Monastery is in the afternoon when most roads become shady and the sun shines in the Monastery façade.
The monastery is the most amazing monument in Petra. Another name for Monastery in Arabic is Ad-Dayr or Ad-Deir. Derived from a cross carved into the inner wall, shows it was formerly a church in Byzantine times.
Located high in the northwestern hills of downtown Petra. The second most visited monument in Petra after the Treasury. It is also one of the hardest to reach. The Nabateans indeed extraordinary, capable of presenting beautiful and large facades by carving out of chunks of mountains. It is almost fifty square meters high.
Rayner faithfully and patiently waited every time I asked him to stop near cafés, stairs and shady places. Similar to our experience at the High Place Sacrifice, at first, I told him that we would rest every 5 minutes. But then we walked a few meters up and rested for about 5 minutes.
At that time there were not many visitors, so I could pass this narrow, steep road with a little effort. Unlike during the tourist season, each time people have to pull over giving way for donkeys to go up and down. People who walk slowly also give way to people who walk faster. Even though I was tired, I persisted in not hiring a donkey. Several times I got an offer but I was still determined to complete all these trips on foot.
Some Bedouin women open their stalls. Only a few times we invited to stop by their stalls. They did not pay much attention to travelers. If vendors did not sleep in the shop, they listened to music or talked on the phone. I did not have to worry as experienced by other travelers during peak seasons.
One time we stopped at a closed shop. I sat with a sigh of relief. Simple luxury like this should be enjoyed as well as possible. We have never passed a café with several chairs in front of it. Thanks to the cool a café under the roof and rest I felt my strength was recovering a little.
Then a group of travelers descended and they also chose to rest in this closed shop. Every time I met travelers went down they always said, “A little more. Not far. ” or ” Just one more turn.” Glad to know that our trip was almost there. Even though the next corner was more than 10 minutes at least someone encouraged me to continue the journey.
We stopped at the only café that opened near the Monastery. Cleaner than other cafes we passed. Rayner offered me to rest and drank squeeze oranges. Of course, I accepted the offer gladly. This time it’s my turn to pay. Rayner had already paid at the first stop. After Rayner bargained with the café owner he approached me.
“How about 5 JD for one glass?”
Soon the owner came up to us with two plastic cups filled with orange juice. One gulp I immediately felt the coolness flowing into my dry throat. The oranges were fresh, sweet and sour at the same time.
“There are no additions whatsoever. Only oranges,” said the owner, proudly telling us.
“I bought it from a friend in Wadi Musa. He married a western woman and owned an orange orchard. “
“Delicious,” I murmured.
Slowly I enjoyed this orange juice while chatting with the owner of the café. We and the café owner discussed business at Monastery. The reduction in visitors during the fasting period resulted in a drastic decline in sales. At that time only the two of us sat in the café. While sitting and resting we saw several travelers passing by.
Suddenly my Japanese friend, who lived in the same hostel, came from the Monastery.
“Hi,” I waved at him.
“Hello. You are still here,” he said and sat before me.
“I came from High Sacrifice Place and then continued here. I looked for you at the entrance but you were gone. Where will you go next? “
“Oh … I’m so tired. I’ll go back to the hostel” while rubbing his back.
After chatting for a moment he left. Shortly afterward we decided to walk again.
Approximately ten minutes later we reached Monastery. After we passed the flat road which seemed sandwiched between two large rocks, we arrived at a downhill road. Stretched in front of us open plains like a field and in front of it or to the right of the road that we passed was Monastery.
Finally, we arrived at Monastery.
As far as the eye can see only rocky terrain, hills and arid lands. I felt too tired and wanted to rest. Even though I just sat down, it felt like an hour ago. I walked slowly to the café in front of the Monastery. At this time I ignored the magnificent historical artifacts. What I needed was a shade and a place to rest.
Similar to “Treasury,” the name “Monastery” is a rather inaccurate nickname, which probably based on its remote location and several crosses written on the interior of the Monastery. It might be used as a church (or even a hermitage), maybe also a temple. Another possibility is that this temple dedicated to the Nabatean king Obodas I who ruled in the 1st century BC.
The monastery is similar in design to the Treasury but much larger and far less decorated. Such a flat plaza in front might be to accommodate a crowd at religious ceremonies.
Rayner didn’t go straight to the café. He walked around and took some photos. I sat on one of the long benches in the café. This café turns out a cave transform into a café and souvenir shop. Comfortable arrangement with a large pillow, long bench, and low table. There was also the decoration on the table and the bedouin carpet. Inside the cave, it’s cool but dark. I just sat and rested not far from the mouth of the cave. Many travelers who sit, eat or rest like me. Luckily the café owner doesn’t complain if the travelers don’t buy anything.
Rayner returned shortly after being satisfied to look around the Monastery. He said there were many caves and tombs of Nabatean near the Monastery. There are also caves and rocks behind the café. He also went to the “best views” above the Monastery.
Rayner suggested that we waited until the sun was not too hot so we could take better photos of the Monastery. I did not mind at all even better being able to take the time to admire the Monastery. Certainly plenty of rest and energy recovery from exhausting journeys.
Satisfied and had enough time enjoying the monastery and its surroundings we walked back to the main road. The road looks shorter than the earlier trip.
Because I got enthusiasm from travelers who met on the street I did the same to other tourists. Every time I met tourists who were breathing hard and their faces were burning red from exhaustion, I encouraged them, “Just a little longer. Not far away.” It felt good when their eyes sparkle and smile.
This post is also available in: Indonesian