Jebel Hafeet- A Weekend Getaway

So yet another trip that was not planned in advance but took shape on a whim. The last one was when we had headed off for the Himalayas some two years back. This time around too a mountain only beckoned us.

Jebel Hafeet or Mountain Hafeet which literally means Empty Mountain.

Jebel Hafeet

This rocky mountain which stands high and mighty at 1250m borders the city of Al Ain in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. A small part of the mountain also borders Oman.

We didn’t really know much about this mountain except for the fact that it boasted of one of the greatest driving roads on the planet! So needless to say, when I stumbled upon an attractive Groupon deal online, about a week ago, that offered a stay in one of the hotels there, I lapped it up. I shared the idea with R, Namnam & my father-in-law and together we braced ourselves for the road trip. With the limited time that we had, to prepare for the drive,  I had done some fair bit of reading up on the routes that would lead us up to the mountain top. And as the day inched closer I learned that R had done some research on the routes as well, which boosted me into realizing that he was just as anxious and excited at the same time as I was. Even though most of what was said and written online was promising and extremely encouraging, we still couldn’t be sure what to expect from the mountain. We had never really driven along such a long stretch at a stretch!

We took off on Thursday late afternoon with a bit of trepidation and a lot of enthusiasm. The only worry I had was about losing our way. If you have driven on roads in this region, you would know what I mean. The roads here are beautiful, wide, a pleasure to drive on no doubt..but try getting lost in the magic of driving only to realize that you’ve missed an exit! But fortunately our GPS was in a good mood. So we entered the city of Al Ain without missing any turns or exits in a little less than 2 hours as we had hoped ..

Soon enough the mountain emerged in sight to embrace us into its winding fold up ahead..

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As we began our ascent to the top, we were completely taken in by not just the stunning views unfolding in front of us, but also by the amazingly well tarred strip taking us up.

Let me share a video which my father-in-law took, just to give an idea about the delightful ride we experienced. I must thank Namnam here who edited this video by inserting some music and saved you all from the original background score of my non stop nonsense chattering !

 

 

Interestingly along the entire track, there were designated spots every few meters where one could park their vehicles and take a break. One of the bends even had a play area with a slide and a swing to engage the young adventure tots! So after a few miles ahead, we decided to take a break too. We parked our car in one of the parking spots and paused to take in the views…

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This was the long winding strip that we drove on to reach all the way up

 

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City of Al Ain and probaby a bit of Oman too( don’t ask me to point out where though 😉 ) from atop

Once the views had sunk in, we set out on the last stretch of our drive to the summit.

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At about 915m height stood Hotel Mercure Grand which was to be our point of stay till the next day. This hotel further gave out a smooth and friendly vibe as we geared up to take care of the check in formalities. We were in our room in a jiffy, and soon after Namnam and R ran out for a dip in the pool to refresh themselves while my FIL and I stayed back to take in the beautiful views and give our cameras some worthy opportunities to freeze them.

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View from our room

 

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View from another part of the room

 

Even though we could have ventured out and explored a bit of the city,  we chose to stay put in the comfortable confines of the hotel because firstly the weather wasn’t too favourable. It was still scorching hot during the day. And secondly we were already in a very laid back state of mind, with the focus solely on lazing around and relaxing. And relax we did to the hilt. The height of relaxation was when all of us sat glued to the tv watching a movie like Tashan and laughed at the dumbest of scenes!

There were no phone calls from office, no constant pull to run to your phones to check mails, no worry whatsoever over what to prepare for lunch.

It’s funny that sometimes even 24 hours in a day don’t seem enough to organize your life and think straight, and sometimes all you need is that one day where you can keep your mind from fluttering restlessly and just relax.

We got back home after a wonderfully refreshing stay only to find out that our AC wasn’t cooling, the water filter had broken. But I couldn’t care any less. I was zen. Anything could be tackled now.

Weekend is almost on its way out. Yet another week with its grinding routine is about to begin.

Bring it on I say, let me see what you’ve got, dear Sunday!

Weekend update

The weekend gone by was long,but eventful.Long,because R was off on Friday & Saturday,both. Since he was touring the whole of last week,the long weekend was a sure shot chance to cash in on some much needed family-time.Not to mention,a chance for Namnam to attain a state of ‘nirvana’ from the increased bickering from momma,thanks to being holed up inside the house,with her for good 6 days and not having Papa around to run to for a shoulder to lean on and an ear to conspire against! Precisely one of the reasons why I have started my driving lessons so that I can be mobile and take her out as and when she feels charged up!

We started our weekend masti on thursday evening by going to Cafe Ceramique. Now,as many of you must be aware,Cafe Ceramique is this cool,stylish haven wherein kids and grownups,alike,can hangout,have a cup of coffee or a glass of juice,munch a few tid-bits,and splash out their creativity with paints on ceramics of different shapes and sizes.
Now Namnam has been quite fascinated with painting and sketching lately.Proof of which is the manner in which she refuses to outgrow scribbling on the walls of our house.She has not spared even magazines,my notepads,her own books,despite our constant scowls and scoldings.
So,in order to give a varied outlet for her new fascination,we took her to the cafe where she got to paint to her heart’s content in one of the ceramics while munching on fish fingers and R & I had our Greek Salad & Turkish coffee.

Next day,being Friday,we woke up quite late.Once the day started settling in,we decided to go to Hyatt Plaza.I had to buy some drawing sheets and erasers for Namnam from DAISO.
Now,on a given day,its a major tussle stepping out of the house with Namnam.Oh no,its not that she hates going out.She loves any outing. Its the whole process of going out that gets in the way.She decides which dress to wear,what hairband to put,what footwear to use.Nothing that I chose pleases her.And when she picks up something that I’ve put for washing and insists on wearing nothing else but that,our house is literally transformed into a ‘WAR ZONE’!
But,on Friday,the mere mention of ‘drawing sheet’ was enough to turn her into a model-daughter.Not once did she defy me while getting ready.Wow those sure were two magic words!
And throughout the drive she was jumping and shrieking with joy saying,”nammal DAI-na-SO pova(We’re going to DAI-na-SO),Yay!!”I know,I know,that sounds like Dinosaur.By the way,did I mention she has a huge crush on Barney?Yes yes,she has.She even mumbles his name in her sleep!

Honestly,I didnt even go about correcting her.I so wanted to hear her say DAINASO a few more times!I know,this phase is short-lived too.In no time she will be rattling off with all her grammar and diction well in place.But,as a mother,these are some of the moments that I want to hold on to and not let go.

Then,from Daiso,we headed off to Jungle Zone,a play zone for kids,where Namnam had a whale of a time taking car rides,train rides,plane rides.She zoomed down the slides,through the tunnels,rolled in the ball pond.And by the time we got back home in the evening we were dead tired.Yet I had a wide grin on my face as I realized the next day was a holiday too.

I woke up early the next morning as I had to go for my driving classes,but the father-daughter duo had a blissful sleep till late in the day.The day,more or less,was about lazing and lounging around.We,briefly,went out to Jarir Bookstore to buy some books for me and Namnam.
In the course of the day,Namnam fell off the bed while twisting and twirling with one of R’s shirts and bruised her left ear.Thankfully it was not grave,so we didnt have to take her to the doc.A few ice packs were enough to ease the pain.And she was up and ready to have her supper.Then she went off to sleep and R&I snuggled up with a bowl of maggi and ‘Friends’ for some U&I time 😉 .

As it turned out,it was a weekend well spent.So,how was yours,people?