Jebel Hafeet

Where to begin πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

Al Ain (The Spring in Arabic)- you now know where it isπŸ˜ƒ- so what’s to do there?

Plenty as it turns out.

A lovely fruit and yogurt breakfast started the day which saw us driving up to Jebel Hafeet.

Al Ain is flat, desert scrubland with these sudden dramatic protruding ‘mountains’. Except mountains is not the correct word – extrusions is perhaps a better description. I am trying to discover their origins but for that, patience please πŸ˜‚.

Jebel Hafeet is a short drive south of the city centre along a remarkable double lane highway.

The second highest point in the emirate it is a protrusion that dominates the ‘flatlands’ Complex rocks, with many caves (no we didn’t enter any) and marine fossils apparently easily visible.

A UNESCO Heritage Site, 500 tombs have been uncovered here, dating back 3200-2700BC.

This is the most remarkable road, and reminding me in the scale of the road I had just walked on towards Buckingham Palace : impressive, winding ever upward (1 249m; 4098′) – to, as it turned out, a Palace.

Well no longer a palace for reasons best understood by Sheiks, Sultans, Kings and Queens, a new palace has been built with even better views (?) and perhaps a bigger bathroom or two-it is not for us to know.

The ‘old’ palace is now a hotel, looking out boldly across the city. We looked out more dimly than boldly as there was a definite heat haze blurring our vista.

The coffee was weak and very hot (could have done with it strong and cool😜); the sun forced us to move into the shade and we watched as people lazed around the pool, drank beers (alcohol not served outside hotels), men and women with flesh and tattoos exposed; a definite no no for the emirate people, of whom we saw none up here and for a short stay could have been at any hotel in the western world.

We continued a short way beyond (You could only continue a short wayπŸ˜‚) when the road stopped, or rather we were stopped by the entrance to the new palace, from what I could see a masterpiece of modern sleek architecture, curved glass, blending spectacularly into the mountain.

Should I be back, I would like to walk this drive. To savour the views, the colours and textures of the rocks, at a more leisurely pace (albeit with, no doubt bursting lungs and aching legs). There is a cycle race annually here; the hills used for training for hikes and treks, (although I saw no sign while in Al Ain of any physical activity at all – sort of noticeable by its absence)

Jebel Hafeet

The start up
Craggy
Aloof
Rugged
Imposing
Distant
Remarkable
Surprising
The ‘old’ Palace
Colour
Which means water
Luxury
Views
And us πŸ˜ƒ
Elegance everywhere ..
Even in the fencing

 

We guessing – security gates connected to palace
Looking across to new palace – see the scree slope 😳
Stunning views. I’m sure

Al Ain

No not L. A. Al Ain.
Okay, I too, had to find an atlas and look it up. So for those without such a useful book (which as I remember was out of date almost as soon as it was published πŸ˜‚)

Al Ain is the second city of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi being the first, the largest and the capital of both the emirate and the country.

For those interested, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) consists of 7 Emirates, amongst them Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Umm etc. Okay so you knew that, I won’t list them all then πŸ˜‚.

Did you know the UAE is a member of the GCC (Arab Gulf

Co-operation centre) which includes Bahrain, Saudi, Kuwait etc. The etc again cause you know this and don’t want to be bored 😜.

Population of Abu Dhabi is (1.6million only), the largest of the emirates (by far, 87 340sq km) with 9% of worlds proven oil reserves and 4% of the worlds proven natural gas reserves. It is seriously wealthy (see my blogs, Abu Dhabi )

Oil was discovered in 1958 and the transformation of this area has been phenomenal (from rags to riches – a good read)

So if that isn’t a good enough reason to visit this part of the world, how about Etihad stops here on its way to Everywhere?

Better still, my dearest friends live here and I have not seen them for 16 years?

Well that’s why Al Ain ❀️

That’s where
Abu Dhabi houses and main road 1961
Tracks approaching Abu Dhabi 1954
The other reason
Friends

Hotel Milles de Collines

9k

Well made it to Kigali – and while for a few moments when I arrived I had visions of ‘a Powrie fiasco ‘ again, all’s well that ends well. People are very kinda nd after I had stood looking around for a while for my ‘connections’ a gentleman approached and offered to call and sort it all out while I had a coffee on the house – and he did!!!

More about Rwanda later, but the Now

Eating dinner alone (miss my mates 😩 Karen and Neville ) surrounded by tables of people speaking almost every language : Swedish to my right, French behind me ( French widely spoken here) German to my left, Italian in front and I could go on and on and the woman are all good looking and well dressed πŸ˜₯- lucky I got out of my bush gear

It is a very large if somewhat old hotel (tv unhappy cause of the rain) bath water tepid which I’m told is hot and people as always considerate

This patio is so as one would expect from readings about Africa in a bygone time : a band playing and singing ( in the rain as they are uncovered)
tables spread out all round a large pool ( although again we confined under cover so tables very close) –
alcohol flowing – even I’m drinking

And the lighting adds to the visual beauty of the view

Hotel of a thousand hills in the city of a thousand hills – the view is spectacular

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