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.

Wadi Rum Day 2

Breakfast is at 7:30 AM and we leave at 8:30 AM for our 14km walk.

Hopefully it doesn’t prove to be too warm today. The schedule today is a half day walk with optional afternoon activities.

Most of the walk is not too bad. It is sunny but a nice breeze helps us along while we occasionally hike through the deep red sand. We walk by spectacular rock formations carved by the wind for a long time. Wadi Rum used to be covered by ocean during pangea but now it is all desert.

Our tour guide accompanies us with a Jeep to hold our bags and water which proves to be an excellent idea since it is much better to walk in the desert with a lighter load. The Jeep moves forward 1k or so ahead at a time to give us a chance for a water break if we desire.

We stop and climb rocks a time or two for some great photo opportunities.

Also we stop for tea time, not being a tea drinker I am loving the herbal tea, but also we rest on a mat and the tour guide attempts to teach us a local dance. As I am getting up a tour mate sees a large white spider hanging on my pants behind my knee. I start freaking out and shake my leg. I do not see where it falls so I dont trust It is gone. I go around the corner to lower my pants to make sure no spiders have climbed up. None can be seen so I guess I am in the clear.

The rest of the hike is mostly very nice. We see animal prints and try to guess what made them, find holes in the ground, see white desert flowers, and even a goat leg randomly on rock (don’t want to know how it got there).

Everything is great until we hit the last 1.5km. It gets pretty hot, I am tired and it is uphill in loose red sand that I later rename to devil sand. I stop a few times back to camp but I eventually make it.

It is time for lunch which includes some very tasty meatballs in a curry yougurt sauce. They are amazing over rice.

I try relaxing in my tent but it is too hot. I decide it is a good time to shower and head into the dining area to relax since there is a nice cross breeze.

I read a little and chat with my tour mates. It is a nice and relaxing afternoon.

Ruta del Cares

Today is the planned hike. The hike is the Ruta del Cares. The trail is a gorge route with breathtaking views through the Picos de Europa mountain range.

The trail is 12 km long (24 if you do roundtrip). After watching the hikers yesterday I decide I’m probably only doing one way and taking the bus back to my town.

I eat breakfast at the hotel and load my backpack with water and a sandwich made from the hotel. Backpack already feels heavy when I start off at 10 am.

My hotel is about 500 m from the start. It is a little walk uphill to get to the start.

There is a light mist outside and it is a little cool (but for me it means perfect).

Before my face gets all flushed and sweaty.

And up you go

That first 2 km is pretty harsh since it is all uphill ( also bad going back down too – talk about that later).

I got dizzy which is new for me; and I took lots of stopping breaks.

Look at this view!

Thank goodness the trail gets flat.

At the halfway point so its sandwich time.

I eat 1/2 my sandwich then I am off again.

I arrived at Cain about 2 pm.

Lots of people stop there to eat but I have already eaten half my sandwich so no plans to eat, but I do notice a stream where people are chilling.

I stop and take my boots and socks off. It’s painful yet massaging to walk on rocks to get to water, but water is super cold. It hurts. The cold has got to be good for my feet right?

I sit down and rest for a bit. Have every intention of finding a bus to ride it back to my town (as I’ve seen posted in message boards).

I wander into Cain looking for a bus sign. All I see is a bunch of cafes and places to buy walking sticks (probably should have gotten some of those).

No buses to be found, only guy with a van offering a 30 euro nature ride back to my town. Something doesn’t seem right and that is expensive. Taxis are probably even more. Did I just insanely decide to walk back? I think about the route, the toughest part being the 2k downhill. And the sun is out and beating down on most of the trail.

The hike back was pretty tough. I think really fit people will have no issue. People who are semi-muscular like me can handle it but I think starting really early and eating lunch on the other side before heading back is the way to go. I didn’t rest enough before heading back because I was taking too long. I should have just taken my time though. The sun stayed out late this time of the year and there were still people on the trail at the end (but not as many). The really cool way to go is go with those trek groups who will pick you up on the other side (but you have to pay and are probably under time constraints).

More amazing views on the way back.

If I did it again I would stay more days in the area. I would still do the up and back in one day but I would take my time. I would also try other trails. It is my understanding there is so much more to see in the area. I only got a taste of the area and I liked it.

Picos de Europa

This is the part of the trip where I try to sneak a hike in to get some exercise (because walking miles and miles a day isn’t exercise :D).

I am nearby to Picos de Europa. So I book a little hotel in the small town of Poncebos.

Beautiful view coming in. I had to stop for pictures a couple of times because it was that pretty.

My little hotel sits in a valley. There is one hotel next door and maybe some more down the road but not many in the area. However as I arrive the place is bustling with day hikers. There are so many cars parked all over the area that I hope I find parking. Luckily the hotel has a free space open in their private lot.

When I check in I notice hikers drinking their celebratory beers. They seem like serious hikers. Am I out of my league here? I decide that I can do the trip one way only if it seems too much to do the roundtrip.

My little room.

There is no staying up late. Time for dinner and then bed. I ordered the trout that I guess was served with bacon on it. It was very good.

In addition I ordered the mixed salad which I thought was a side salad but ended up being a meal of its own. Topped with tuna so I guess tonight is a fish night.

Hopefully it will all prove to be good fuel for tomorrow.

Goodnight.