Jordan Journey: Petra

2 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

The next two days have us exploring Petra, which UNESCO designated as a World Heritage site in 1985 and describing it as “one of the most precious cultural properties of man’s cultural heritage.”

Like Wadi Rum, Petra has been used as a setting in many well-known movies. Although there were already a handful of movies filmed in Petra before Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Petra gained more attention after the Indiana Jones movie.

Since our first day in Petra was just half a day, which was good for getting to know the general layout, the next day was for real exploration. Our goal was to climb nearly every major monument or temple despite the 100-degree F which seemed to grow hotter with every passing hour. And climb we did. For example, there were about 800 steps up to the ruins known as the High Place of Sacrifice, and even more needed to get to the Monastery, a beautiful tomb carved into the side of the stone mountain top. However, we ended up climbing even more steps to see the Royal Tombs close-up, each one situated on its own perch with even more steps needed to get there.

After exploring Petra for close to 10 hours, we raced to the new Petra Museum before it closed for the day. We had a little over half an hour to wind down in the air conditioning to learn more about the ancient culture, which thrived about 2,000 years ago. The day ended with my legs feeling like rubber bands. My feet seemed like they had a life of their own, as they just passed out on me not too long after I reached the hotel, which was walking distance from Petra.

To see 1st post:
Wadi Rum

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Jordan Journey: Wadi Rum

1 of 4 posts on my 7-day stay in Jordan

 Right after Egypt, we flew to Jordan, where we took in another week’s worth of breathtaking sights. Our stay in the beautiful city of Amman was brief, as we soon set out on a ~5-hour drive to Wadi Rum, the desert setting of Lawrence of Arabia’s autobiographical book and consequently, the film that was based on his life. Since then, other movies have been filmed in Wadi Rum (e.g., a couple of Star Wars movies, Dune, Prometheus).

As soon as we reached the park, we transferred to several 4-wheel drive vehicles that we rode through the desert to get to our camp. We spent two days in Wadi Rum and slept in Bedouin tents. Among other activities, we went on a nine-mile trek on the second day.


Next:
Petra

Exploring Egypt: Luxor

6th of a series on my 7-day stay in Egypt

City full of shrines,
Magnificent artifacts,
Temple of Karnak.

The Temple of Karnak
The Temple of Karnak is a large, well-preserved complex of monuments that honor various pharaohs. As a UNESCO World Heritage site, the Karnak Temple has an impressive collection of pylons, massive stone obelisks, and chapels.  Sad fact: More Egyptian obelisks today are found outside of Egypt, like in Paris, than in Egypt itself.

Animal Care in Egypt
The tour company we used has a charitable stake in this organization, so we stopped by the Animal Care in Egypt facility to see how the animals are given care and treatment. Many locals depend on ACE to help heal their donkeys, horses, and other animals.

From ACE’s website (https://www.ace-egypt.org.uk/): “Animal Care in Egypt (ACE) is a charity dedicated to helping stop the suffering of thousands of animals in the poorest communities of Luxor by providing free veterinary care and education.”

To see the beginning:
1st day: Old Cairo
2nd day: Giza/Cairo
3rd day: Aswan
4th day: Abu Simbel
5th day: Nile River

Exploring Egypt: Aswan

3rd of a series on my 7-day stay in Egypt

Took train to Aswan,
Southernmost part of Egypt,
Traveled thirteen hours.

From mainland to isle,
Boated to Philae Temple–
Temple of Isis.


Next sights were High Dam
And Unfinished Obelisk,
An ancient ruin.

Our Nubian host
Talked about their history,
And prepared a feast.

Next day:
Abut Simbel

To see the beginning:
1st day: Old Cairo
2nd day: Giza/Cairo

Spellbound in Switzerland

I recently returned from a wonderful vacation in Switzerland, where I was spellbound at every turn. Traveling by high-speed rail, I used three beautiful cities as my home base, often exploring other sights and stops nearby.  This is the beginning of a series of selected locales I had the pleasure of enjoying during my stay there.

First Stop: Zurich

Image: Google Maps

We hit the ground running, so many sights/sites to see. Started at the Kunsthaus, Zurich’s world-class art museum, which houses the largest collection of Swiss-born Alberto Giacometti’s work, among so many other well-renowned artists/sculptors:

Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Claude Monet, Oskar Kokoschka, Wassily Kandinsky, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, Edgar Degas, Auguste Rodin, Marc Chagall, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Pablo Picasso, Franz Marc, Francesco Napoletano, Jacopo Palma Vecchio, Peter Paul Rubens, Anthony van Dyck, Jan Roos, Ferdinand Hodler, Johan Christian Dahl, to name a few!

We ended our day at a lovely restaurant called Raclette Stube in Old Town. The restaurant is known for its cheese fondues. I had the Fondue Fribourgeoise, which is half Gruyère, half Vacherin cheese with wine and Kirsch, served with bread and potatoes, along with a side order of cold, sliced sausage from Vaud.  And, the evening just began . . .