Yes, you read that right, we took our Toddler to Petra. The absolute ultimate in archaeological sightseeing. And we took our Toddler. To Petra.
We believe in the mantra that kids are portable, that you can take them anywhere with you, that travel doesn’t have to stop just because you have little people in tow. A mantra that is echoed by some of my favourite bloggers like Mummy Travels and My Travel Monkey. Yet when we took the Toddler to Petra I wasn’t immersed in the blogging world. I didn’t have a clue that there were other crazy people like me and the husband out there. That just packed up and carried on with travelling. With the kids in tow.
So the Toddler. Plus my mother. Petra. Were we crazy??
The story starts when my mum came out to visit and talk turned to places we’d like to visit. Having just had friends come back from Jordan raving about it we mentioned we’d love it. Turns out my mum quite fancied it too but since Dad died hadn’t really had anyone to go with. Cue a family outing for my birthday in the January (as the husband says yet another one spent on holiday) when the Toddler would be 15 months old.
We flew into Amman and checked into the hotel before conducting our own walking tour round the city. It wasn’t the most pram-friendly place we’d been too but definitely not as bad as Belgium and our little Bugaboo Bee did well. Exploring the streets and the markets, finding the best falafel I have ever tasted before or after. Drinking sweet mint tea to warm up. Discovering the history as well as the city.
Indulging in a cheeky vino in the hotel bar before crashing early that night to make the drive to Petra the next day. My husband drove us down, on what was a fairly straight road that was easily navigated (thankfully for the rubbish navigator) in about 3 and a half hours, 4 with a stop. You can get drivers to drive you down and it’s relatively inexpensive but hauling the Toddler plus associated paraphernalia meant we wanted the whole car to ourselves.
Arriving around midday we checked into our hotel, The Petra Moon, a 5 minute walk from the entrance of the ancient city of Petra. Checking in and grabbing lunch before headed down for our first glance at ancient Petra. Petra is an UNESCO World Heritage site and has been since 1985. Famous as the rose city for the colour of the rock that the architecture is lovingly carved out of. Also famous for being the scene of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.
Being an ancient city it definitely wasn’t pram friendly, and involved a lot of walking. An estimate of 10-15km per day with a wobbly toddler meant that the Ergo came into play. We practiced and mastered the back carry, sharing the load between us throughout the day.
Getting up early, which wasn’t difficult having a 15 month old with us who was raring to go, to be the first to head into the ancient city of wonder. Strapping up and taking the first shift, walking down the Siq (a mere 3km) excitement building as we stepped through a tunnel carved in the rocks until you see a glint of sunlight and a hint of pink walking through to the majesty of the Treasury carved in the rock face.
Ambling through, pausing to take in the Treasury, to marvel at the wonder, walking over sandy rock filled paths, horses and carts standing by, donkeys ready to help you climb up the rock face. The roman ampitheatre you are able to explore and imagine what may just have taken place thousands of years ago.
Exploring. Wandering round in the fresh air. Marvelling at what was done. What has survived.
And that was just the first day. Back to the hotel with a cheeky stop at The Cave Bar, a bar in a 2000 year old cave, for a rejuvenating drink before a quick shower, lots more falafel and an early night with the Toddler.
Another early start, walking down the Siq for the second time, still a breathtaking sight to watch the Treasury loom in front of you, yet today a different task. A different ancient wonder. We were hiking up to the top of the hill to see the Monastery. Though hill isn’t really the right word. Situated 220m above the city and a cool estimated 800 steps to reach this site we questioned the sense of walking up. Mum was struggling. I drew the short straw in wearing the Toddler.
It was worth it.
Then we left the Toddler with Mum and climbed a little high.
Definitely worth it.
More exploring. Watching. Feeling like a very small cog in a very old place. Breathtaking. Beautiful. The Toddler roamed free as we hit each site, going back in the Ergo to move from place to place. Napping on the go. He was a superstar.
So would I recommend taking a toddler to Petra?
Top Tips for Taking a Toddler to Petra
1. Invest in a decent, age appropriate, carrier. Even for the most confident and capable of walkers there is a lot of walking each day. Too much for little legs to deal with.
2. Pack light but pack snacks! Carrying a Toddler is hard work. Dealing with them being hungry as well? No fun. There are food options available in Petra but they are few and far between.
3. Don’t attempt to go in summer when temperatures are soaring.
4. Carry your Toddler between sites, but make sure you let them down at each point while you admire they can explore.
5. Start early, it’s quieter and your child will probably have you up early anyway.
6. Don’t be afraid just go for it!