Catholic Youth Parramatta

Lisa Live from the Holy Land: Petra


Lisa Garland from the Catholic Diocese of Parramatta is reporting for us live from the Holy Land, as she undertakes the 'Exodus Journey' Pilgrimage.

Led by Rouse Hill's Our Lady of the Angels Parish Priest Fr Warren Edwards, the 20-day biblical pilgrimage from Cairo to Jerusalem is making its way through the desert wilderness of the prophets, culminating in the Holy Land of Jesus.

2 September - Trek to Petra

Today we packed our bags, took one last look at the Red Sea from our hotel balcony and headed for the city of Petra in Jordan!

Now, before I explain the gruelling double border crossing into Jordan I must advise of one rule which Fr Warren gave at our first daily mass on pilgrimage:

"There is to be No Complaining”.

Boy, was that rule broken today! To get from Egypt into Jordan, we had to cross the border from Egypt into Israel, then from Israel into Jordan. As most people would be aware Egypt and Israel don’t get along, so crossing the border from Egypt to Israel was very strict and for lack of a better word, ridiculous. Passports were checked by people only 20 metres apart, nine out of 10 suitcases were searched; I even had my passport taken off me for a security and drug check! Is it because I was the only one with a New Zealand passport or do I really look like a drug user?

Goodness knows how long it was till we finally passed through ‘no man’s land’ from Israel into Jordan! And my goodness, the land of Israel and Jordan were beautiful!

We made a few stops on the way to Petra, first was that of the City of Islamic Ayla in Aqaba, one of the sites used by King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, followed by the Aqaba Fort. We arrived this afternoon in the ancient trading city of Petra, also known as the ‘Red Rose City’ and one of the new Seven Wonders of the World and is in the biblical land of Moab.

3 September - Petra, Roman Theatre & Byzatine Church

Lisa live from  the Petra Treasury.
As if forgetting to put my clock forward one hour yesterday and missing breakfast wasn’t bad enough, my phone died in the middle of the night this time so my alarm didn’t go off, dropping the ball on this waking up on time thing.

I didn’t really read the itinerary for today properly and I just thought our activity was going to take about half the day then we’d have something on in the afternoon.

Our destination for today was the Ancient Ruins of Petra! It is one of the New Seven Wonders of the World - and doesn't it deserve to be!

The place is mind blowing and amazing. Myself and a few others rode a horse to the entrance of the ruins then walked with the group having a guided tour.

The walls of the ruins were so high above us (creating merciful shade!) and I just felt like I was in a completely different time.

Lisa-ana Jones and the Last Crusade

Bishops Cathedral and Tombs of the Kings at Petra
Bishops Cathedral and Tombs of the Kings at Petra.

The first main monument on the hike was Al Kasne also known as the Treasury where part of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was filmed!

I’d seen pictures and so on of the Treasury heaps of times before and was amazed that something so extraordinary was carved out of stone by man, but seeing it up close and personal was wicked!

It was huge and the fine details and carvings were beautiful.

Continuing our trek, we passed the Roman Theatre, columns and houses and tombs built into walls.

After lunch came a “guided tour” by Fr Warren up to the mountains where we ended up at the Byzatine church which housed remains of beautiful mosaics.

Following this was a breathless walk to the Cathedral of the Bishop and burial chambers of the Kings which were carved out of the cliff face.

Finishing up at 4pm, we retired to our Petra accommodation, a beautiful little village type layout similar to those in Lebanon for a well deserved sleep!

Tags: Lisa Garland   Live from the Holy Land   Petra

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