Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Long Weekend - Al Ain, Al Jihili Fort & Jabel Hafeet

Well, what a weekend... Due to the Mohammad's Ascension Holiday, we had 3 days and we sure were busy!

On Friday, we went to our local hotel (The Marriott) for what is tradition in these parts for Friday Brunch. All the hotels in the UAE put on an all you can eat and drink buffet from midday to 4pm. Some cater for the younger crowd, but most cater for families and as such there is usually entertainment for the kids etc whilst the adults sit back and relax. This is on EVERY Friday at EVERY hotel... the only difference is the cuisine and the price from hotel to hotel.

So, we sat in the Italian restaurant eating mainly western cuisine and made to order pasta and drank a tad too much wine... the kids were entertained by a clown, facepainting and balloon animals and the girls met up with some of their friends from the local area. So it was very relaxing.

Saturday, after a lazy morning, we went Ice Skating again at Dubai Mall and watched the very impressive water fountain show. Choreographed water spouts and lighting all on the man made lake in front of the Burj Dubai and the Dubai Mall... it was an excellent evening... the kids skated until 9pm.

Then Sunday, the day off, we decided to go for a drive. We drove south from Dubai for 140kms to the UAE / Omani border where the town of Al Ain is and the biggest mountain in the UAE - Jebel Hafeet. It was a great drive on the highway south, in which we took our new car for a spin, and we saw plenty of camels and the town of Al Ain is very pretty.

Sort of, in an odd way, reminded me of Canberra... lots of greenery, roundabouts and the like.

When we got to Al Ain, we went to one of the many old historic Arabic forts (Al Jahili Fort) and spent a fair while in there looking at the exhibits and the old fort itself which had been restored. The Arabs are very proud of their history and it was very interesting.

From there, we drove up Jebel Hafeet and would you believe at the top is a Mercure Hotel!! This massive mountain, jutting up out of the desert had a three lane road up it and at the top a stunning modern hotel with pool, squash courts, restaurants etc etc. We had a very late lunch there before driving home again...

Here are some pics:

The road up Jebel Hafeet

The view from a lookout 3/4 the way up

Niki and the girls walking through Al Jahili Fort

Al Jahili Fort entrance

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