Sunday, March 9, 2008

Shobak Castle

Day 4 of Spring Break began in Dana and now we are at Shobak Castle (for the 2nd time this year) and we will end the day in Petra (also a second visit for us). Shobak is probably our favorite place in all of Jordan. It is only 30 minutes from Petra and I don't think many people see it, but it is really a fun place to go. You will see why in a minute.

As you look to the right side of the castle, on the inside of the tower is where you enter the endless pit of stairs and you would come out way down at the bottom of the hill out of view in this photo. (You can come back and look after you see the photos below!!)
Our favorite part is the endless pit. We have our flashlight ready and are entering the stairs. Sorry for so many pictures and for making them so large, but it is really worth seeing.
Daddy and Leylah are going to stay up top (for safety reasons - of course!!) Daniel is following me down. As you can see the stairs are very defined at the top.
We are now going to plundge down into the earth!!
These 2 shots are looking back up at Roberto--only we have gone so far that we can't actually see him anymore, but we can hear him. The stairs are still nicely defined.

Now as we venture are way down into the ground the stairs become less and less defined. You can see the difference in the next 2 shots.
We have gone some 300 steps now and as you can see the stairs have ended and the ground is basically a slanted dirt ramp. There is a corner up ahead (can you see the bend in the shot below) and I don't know what is around that corner. I am still wondering today how much farther that trail goes. Because Daniel was thinking that maybe we should turn back. I didn't want to push him up the gravel if we didn't make it much farther so I decided this was good for today.
So we turned around at this point and headed back out! Notice the stairs in the next 3 shots as we climb out of the endless pit.
When we were about half way out Daniel turns to me and says "Maybe we should go back and look around that corner Mom." At this point we could play this game all day and I still have 1000 steps to climb in Petra later today, so I tell him he did good for today and we will come back. So be watching for Shobak #3!!!!!!
We are almost there because the stairs are getting much more defined.
After we left the castle we drove around to the right side and looked at the exit. It is one of the 2 holes below. I am not sure which one.
This is how far into the ground we would have to go to get to the end. Remember it is pitch black without a flashlight. Those of you with boys--just try to say this wouldn't be fun!! I dare you!!! I think my own Mother would have sent her boys alone before joining them. Is that right Mon???

Now here are shots around the castle, but they will seem like nothing after the endless pit.
Safety is first priority in Jordan. Well exhibited in the photo below of the 2 sticks holding up the rocks above so that the wall doesn't come tumbling down.
And if there is a hole, don't worry, they will put a plank or 2 over it so you won't fall in. this is another little pit that we didn't explore down into. It was hard to see how one would get in without just falling or jumping--no stairs for this one.
More shots around the Castle.

The school on the left and the town street on the right.

We even found an old, old wheel!
This is the Church and it had a secret path going under it where they hid their treasures. You could go under one length of the room, turn down the width of the room, and then turn the length once more and then hit the finally hall which dead ended and that is where the treasure would have been. Not nearly as long as the endless pit, but definitely fun. The stairs were very slippery as you can see.

By the end, Leylah was asleep like always.
She was really passed out this time. She didn't even wake when we took the pack off.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Dana Reserve

We ended Day 3 at the Dana Reserve. There were lots of trucks everywhere. It ended up that an American Group was filming a movie about a woman from Iran and this little village had a similar resemblance to hers. So go figure, the quaint little town in the middle of nowhere was actually very packed. The guest house (more kid friendly) was full and we stayed in the tower hotel (very back-packer friendly). It was an experience to say the least. Here is our room!

We began day 4 by hiking near the Dana village. This is a picture of the town in the background. It is very isolated and beautiful. They teach the local people about preserving nature.

This is a veiw from our room, and Mr. BedHead.

Some pictures on the edge of the town.

We started our hike along the side of the mountain. A more kid friendly hike, because it does not go down into the cannon--we would never have made it back up.

We ran into a bunch of local boys dipping their head in a creek. Probably bath time! They followed us for a little while, until I told Roberto they wanted a picture taken. After that they saw the picture and then ran off laughing.