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

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

Above Cloud 9 on Mt. Rigi, Switzerland

Home base: Lucerne


Traveled by boat from Lake Lucerne to Weggis,
By aerial cable cars to Rigi Kaltbad,
Rode the cogwheel railway to Rigi Staffel,
Hiked up to the summit of Rigi Kulm —
The highest peak of Mount Rigi (1,797 m, or 5,748 ft above sea level) —
Hiked to a dairy farm,
Snacked on cheese made from the farm’s cows,
Trekked on various trails,
Took the cogwheel railway back down to Vitznau,
Cruised on Lake Lucerne back to home base.

Winterthur Wonder in Switzerland

Home base: Zurich

Image: Google Maps

About a half hour away via train from Zurich, Winterthur is known for its numerous world-class museums and large pedestrian-zoned Old Town. As we went through Old Town, we went inside some churches and visited selected museums. Another wondrous day of art appreciation, as we drank in impressive and rare collections of paintings, sculpted works, and photos from the likes of The Kunst Museum Winterthur; the Oskar Reinhart Collection, displayed in his residence ‘Am Römerholz’; and Fotomusem Winterthur.

Oskar Reinhart (1885-1965) came from a long line of traders from Winterthur. His father, Theodor Reinhart, had built the family business, which was one of the first trading houses in Switzerland, or in Europe, for that matter. Both father and son had an interest in art, with Oskar eventually becoming a full-time art collector after leaving the family business at the age of 39.



After spending a good part of the day at Winterthur, we headed back to Zurich to enjoy a cruise on the Limmat River followed by a hearty meal of schnitzel and rosti at a beer hall.

Dachau Concentration Camp: Model of Inhumanity

[5th of a series of posts about my late October travels to southern Germany]

“You are not responsible for what happened. But you certainly are responsible for preventing it from happening again.”
—Max Mannheim, Jewish concentration camp survivor (b. February 6, 1920 – d. September 23, 2016)

Dachau Concentration Camp was the first of its kind to be built for its purpose and was used as a model for other Nazi-era camps. As the oldest such facility, operational from 1933-1945, Dachau was originally opened for political prisoners, but later evolved into primarily holding Jewish people, who were subjected to gross overcrowding, medical experimentation, and torture. It also continued to imprison political prisoners, non-Jewish Nazi protesters, and groups that the Nazi Party considered as “inferior peoples,” e.g., Jehovah’s Witnesses, gypsies, physically or mentally disabled people, homosexuals.

Similar to the Documentation Centre in Nuremberg, this infamous site has been slowly transformed over time with historical buildings that document what happened here and exhibitions. Some exhibits show what life was like at the camp during its active years, the timeline of the Nazi regime and the people behind it, and stories of some of the prisoners and survivors. In memoriam to all the different groups that were detained at the camp, religious memorials representing such populace have been erected on the grounds and are open for all to ponder the atrocious crimes to humanity that happened here.

dachau-concentration-camp-sign

dachau-concentration-camp1
dachau-religious-memorials