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.

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.

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.