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