Montréal Castle

Our tour guide gave us a choice. We could choose to see the Kerak castle or the Montreal castle. As a group we chose the Montréal castle.

The Montréal or Shobak Castle in Jordan is less impressive in appearance but is famous for its tunnel system out to the road (which we were not able to use).

Montréal is a Crusader castle on a rocky mountain. The ruins, called Shoubak (Arabic: الشوبك‎), are located in modern town of Shoubak in Jordan.

The structure is not massive but it is interesting to visit. They are busy reconstructing it from the ruins.

Cool wind farm off in the distance
Tunnel down to the road

Petra: High place of sacrifice

The morning started with a hike to the monastery. The morning hike had a good amount of shade and it was still cool enough in the morning so I didn’t overheat too much.

As a group we decided we were also going to see the High Place of Sacrifice, one of the highest points in Petra. I am hot and tired but I decide to do it anyway.

At the top of Jebel Madbah there is an altar with drains for the blood of sacrificial animals. Most people get there using the 45 minute trail from the theatre but we arrived through the back route seeing the Royal Tombs first. This trail is probably best done in the morning but we did it in the afternoon due to the Monastery hike in the morning.

We head first to the Petra temple and explore the area. Some of us desired a rest so we sit around a strange altar area for a while. Someone may have left their hard boiled egg from breakfast to the gods. It is during this time we start losing group members, they can’t find us and they travel ahead to the trail.

egg
Getting some rest. Photo credit unknown.
wandering around the temple

From behind the temple we find the back trail to the High Place of Sacrifice. We start our ascent uphill and see lots of tombs along the way.

The steps up here were very steep. Not so bad going up but very difficult going down. You can see the group congregating at top and slowly going down.
The view below
Almost there. Lady at the top yelling at us to follow her for the way up. We end up scrambling up some rocks.
Finally at the top.
Altar is the upper left
Tea shop at the top
View of below

Once back down below we head back out toward the main entrance. I am beat and taking it very slow even though it is mostly downhill. I think I definitely got my fill of hiking for the day.
Of course we stop for views of the Treasury one last time.

Due to our long day we did see quite a bit of Petra but there is still more to see. Two days gives you a good highlight but if you can spend more then do so. Petra is a good place to visit.

Petra Monastery Hike

Ad Deir

Today we wake up early for our Jeep ride to Ad Deir, or the Petra monastery. The monastery hike is actually the highlight of my Petra visit. The hike is along a scenic back trail with rock formations out in the distance. There are two main ways to get to the monastery: one is the most used route from the main Petra site and there is the one we took from the back roads.

Those of us who chose to do this hike are divided into two jeeps. We then start our ride to the back road of Petra.

Showing our passes before they take us to the trail start.
Does this look like a smooth ride to you?
Me starting my hike. Photo credit to one of my travel companions.
Some of our lovely views
The route is not too challenging but there is a bit of up the stairs and some down the stairs along the way.
Travel companion Phil having some panorama fun. Photo credit Phil.
Not great trail for those with a fear of heights.
Very cool stone patterns
Finally we have arrived.

When we arrive at the monastery we are well rewarded. There are barely any visitors and the lighting is satisfactory for pictures. We explored and snapped some photos for a while. Soon we sat back and enjoyed some refreshments at the tea shop.

Once we made our way toward Petra proper after our monastery visit I knew we made the right choice; crowds start to thicken, souvenir stands appear and aggressive vendors are upon us. We fortunately missed all that on our journey there. Our journey consisted of a peaceful, quiet and impressive hike with a beautiful monastery at the end.

Route back to Petra

After our descent we decided to go do the hike to the high place of sacrifice which I reluctantly did. That was a journey of its own so more on that later.

Petra

Today is the day we visit the crown jewel of Jordan. We arrive at the archeological site of Petra. Most people can identify Petra with the treasury building (picture above) by Indiana Jones films but it is so much more.

Petra is a very important major regional trading hub built by the Nabataeans. Nabataean are an old nomadic group that benefited by building a well located trading town. Eventually sea trade routes opened and the use of the land routes declined thus leading to the decline of towns like these. Fortunately for us, these semi deserted towns have left a present day treat for explorers like us.

You can buy one day or multiple day passes. I highly recommend the multiple day pass. We spent two days here and could have spent more.

After coming in the main entrance we start walking down the road and come across some stone buildings on the way.

Soon we end up at the Siq, a long slot canyon formed by many years of water flow.

Our guide gives us some commentary then tells us to look up at some unremarkable thing up the wall then suddenly points in the other direction. He surprises us with the view of the Al Khazneh (The Treasury), the crown jewel. As we walk through the canyon we are rewarded with that view that you have seen many pictures of.

And here you have the treasury. You might notice the edges growing up the side that look like many little steps, it is thought that this is what was used to help carve the upper pieces somehow.

After admiring the treasury for a while we walked on and enjoyed some more that Petra has to offer.

The theatre
The Great Temple of Petra
The Great Temple of Petra
Royal Tombs

After we are done wandering around for the day we take the long walk back down to the siq to walk back to our hotel. It is an early start tomorrow to do the monastery hike and we want to be well rested.

Our Dinner is cooked underground

Our second night of Wadi Rum the younger tour also joined us at our campsite (their tour only does one night at Wadi Rum).

That night we were introduced to the traditional Jordanian Bedouin style cooking called Zarb.

The food is cooked under ground, covered by dirt.

Our food is under this mound
Under the mound a metal tin covers the food to protect
Veggies and potatoes on the top
Meat on the bottom

The meat isn’t as flavorful as I would like but it is good enough to satisfy and to make me feel a part of the Bedouin life for at least one night.

Traditional Bedouin Jordanian style of cooking video.