When it came time for us to leave Jerusalem, our money was running low and we needed to get to Egypt as soon as possible. This would not be as easy as we imagined for it was a Saturday, the day of the Jewish Sabath. This creates a few problems for two people hoping to get from point A to B on the holy Jewish day. The normal government buses were not running and we were forced to detour to Tel Aviv in order to get the first bus down to the border town of Eilat. We luckily arrived at the shared taxi’s to Tel Aviv at the right moment just as two young Norweigns were negotiating a fare so we joined them. It took almost the entire day of waiting around and transport hopping to get to Eilat but around 10 at night we were able to cross the border.
As we navigated the darkness by the warm glow of candles down the never-ending siq towards the treasury, I couldn’t think of a more fitting ending to our time spent at one of the greatest sites our world has to offer, Petra.
Rewind a few days earlier…
We arrived in Wadi Musa on a small minibus a few hours after leaving Amman passing by road signs pointing in the direction of Saudi Arabia and Iraq helping to remind us we were certainly a long way from home. We were surprised to arrive at what we thought would be a small village but instead, was a good sized bustling town. We were met at the station by the charismatic owner of Sabaa Hotel, Ibraham, who promptly drove us up the hill to his guesthouse which would be our base over the next few days. Ibraham and his English wife Gail were full of advice and suggestions for how we should go about tackling the massive site of Petra. We decided to wait until the following morning to make the journey down the hill.
It might be one of the most overused cliches in the travel universe but the idea of a kingdom deep in the Himalaya’s inspired by James Hilton’s classic Lost Horizon has thousands of backpackers and jet setters alike grabbing their warm coats and hiking boots in search of this mystical kingdom.
Asia as a destination offers a kaleidoscope of religions and belief systems for the traveler to experience. There is certainly no shortage of spiritual places usually alive and buzzing with the faithful who arrive in droves to worship. Often some of our best experiences were simply wondering around these unique and inspiring places getting a glimpse into a belief system completely alien from our own sometimes joined by a knowledgeable local who would explain their faith.
The sheer amount of temples, mosques,pagoda’s and shrines throughout the continent is mind blowing but this post highlights the top 10 that we wont soon forget.
On Saturday we departed Lhasa for the rest of our Tibet tour. Leaving early in the morning we drove for about 6 hours with stops along the way to take pictures. The most amazing stop was when we stopped to see Yamdrok lake. The lake and rivers in this area look like turquoise paint was poured into them, or as I said it looks like really thick blue Kool-Aid.
It was up before the sun this morning as we had a bus to catch at 7:15 am for Xiahe, 6 hours from Xining. We knew from our fellow passengers that we were heading to an unusual place right from the start as many were Tibetan nomads dressed in sheep skin clothing and prayer beads.
Our 6 hour journey was full of interesting scenery, starting out as red rock cliffs then to grassy meadows with a backdrop of snow covered mountains in the distance. After plenty of passes climbed and descended, we finally entered the valley of our destination and from the bus stop checked into our accommodations, Tibetan Overseas Hotel. A larger hotel with not the warmest staff but since it had clean beds and Lianna’s favorite, a private toilet, it seemed good enough for a few nights.