So, some photographs of history.
The Roman city of Jerash is just north of Amman. It's one of the largest and best-preserved Roman cities of the Near East, though it isn't very big compared to Ephesus. It has a gorgeous agora (or whatever the Roman word for it is), a great circle with a colonnade around it and curved paving, still perfect.
Kerak Castle. The delightful Reynald de Chatillon chucked his prisoners off the battlements. Saladin was not impressed, and would later behead him personally,
Petra is not really rose-red so much as rose-peach. It is definitely half as old as time, though, at least in a metaphorical sense.
The most famous of the monuments, the so-called Treasury, seen here from ground level:
And much later, from above:
The ruined tombs, some unfinished, weathered by sun, rain, and wind - expect where sheltered and still perfectly sharp - make the place look like a film-maker's vision of a post-apocalyptic landscape. There was quite a lot of comment along the lines of "will London look like this in 5000 years?" Petra is a post-apocalyptic landscape, so the comparison is fitting.
There is some glorious walking, hiking, and scrambling in Petra. The route I took on my second morning there involved a fair amount of the latter, and is not advised between October and May due to the potential danger of flash floods.
There was an owl in the wall! It was on the other side of the path roosting in a niche, less than two metres away at about head height. The internet tells me it was probably a Hume's Owl. It was very cute, and sat blinking owlishly whilst its photograph was taken. Other wildlife spotted included lizards, lots of little birds, and snorkelling in the Red Sea, lionfish and an octopus.
Petra is full of rocks, carved ones, coloured ones, even inhabited ones. Others evoked Spike in BtVS, "It's a big rock. Can't wait to tell my friends about it. They don't have a rock this big."
Some of the guidebooks are a little overkill on the matter of dress. In a group, it doesn't really matter. On your own, or with other women but not men, you could be wearing a winter coat, hat, and gloves, and men on the street would still treat you like a tart. Here is me in the desert dressed as a lady explorer.
The desert is big and hot and full of rocks (and surprisingly full of thorn bushes, too). These ones are Lawrence's seven pillars of wisdom.
It was a great holiday. It's hot, dusty, tedious to be so very marked as female, and with the odd exception the food was nothing to write home about. But Petra and the desert are so very stunning, and so big, that they really are a unique experience. In Agatha Christie's Appointment with Death it take seven days there and back from Jerusalem to have two days in Petra, and there's still a fair bit of travelling now even thought the roads are pretty good, but it's worth every inconvenience - well just as long as no-one in your party is murdered with an homage to Dorothy Sayers.
(X-posted to Dreamwidth)