There is far too much to see at Petra, to do it all in part of one day, even a long day. As many times as I have gone, I had never climbed the mountain to the el Deir Monastery. And it is a considerable climb to say the least—–850 big steps, often uneven, and on a winding track. Not for the faint of heart, or those lacking balance. Not far up the mountain is a secret rendezvous place— called the Lion Triclinium… One has to crawl up a rock crevice, then climb over several rocks to even get close enough to take pictures….. Here you can clearly see the lion that accompanies the female Nabatean deity, Atargatis.
So what went on up in that cave? Meals in honor of the Nabatean deities…..
Further up the mountain you see things like this….. Yes that’s oleander, growing where it shouldn’t, which shows where the water rolls off the mountain. Remember the old climber’s adage— whatever you do don’t look down? Well, I had to look to take the picture…. Then when you think you’ve seen it all…. here up the mountain are three animals waiting for you to get exhausted and ride back down the mountain on them…. Did I mention it was 114 F in the shade at Petra that day…. so I had to take a water break half way up the mountain…. but finally, finally I reached the top… and there was a restaurant, lounge chairs, ice cream vendors……and an abandoned monastery….. This reminded me of my journey up Mt. Sinai… went around the last corner getting to the top…. couldn’t wait to see the sunset there… and there was the ice cream man smiling and ready to take my money!