This weekend was probably the best in a long long time. Sam planned a fantastic stay at the Mercure Hotel at Jebal Hafeet in Al Ain. The drive was fun and we decided to take the Lisaili Route to Al Ain ~Dubai road. I was visiting Al Ain after nearly 3 years ! Where once it was one of our favorite adventure drives, gradually after the boys came along, it was a trip we took only when we had visitors/guests, who would be fascinated by the Hafeet. Jebal in arabic stands for Mountain, and Hafeet is the name of the mountain.
Al Ain is the birth place of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Nahyan and also his second son, the present day crown prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Al ain has been projected as the green city of the middle east and for good reason, they have really made remarkable efforts to ensure that every road is lined with trees and grass !
Revisiting after nearly 3 years made me realize there were quite a few changes and positive ones at that, that took place here.
The boys were thrilled by the hotel room ! They completly loved the view and the facilities. We had packed a good box for each one of them, which they were in quite a hurry to relish. Ofcourse there were plenty of bonus gifts waiting for my boys. Although the temperatures at the peak of Jebal Hafeet was a good 10C, the winds were so strong, we could barely manage to keep our sweaters on.
We ate at Pizza hut, checked into the hotel and visited the table top of the mountain in the night. Next morning after a sumptous breakfast which was part of the Bed and Breakfast scheme, the boys went swimming. They must ave been there for hours full of energy and enthusiasm. Later we practised some mini golf ! The hotel has something were strange and beautiful. The walls on the either side of the alcoves were trails of money plant !! Beautifully lined together. I hope I have done justice to the actual view in these pictures.
After checkout in the afternoon, Sam took us over to the Green Mubadzara, which is the natural springs at the foot hill of the mountain. There were several new activities that have popped up over the years one of which was the mini train ride which the kids just flipped over .. no … not literally. They couldnt have just two rides, it was’nt enough !! We all relaxed our feet in one of the many streams which had hot water gushing thru. It was so joyful.
Later before dusk, Sam drove us to the Al Ain zoo, where we were shocked to see some unexpected guests in the bird house … PENGUINS !! Yes, imagine that !! They were in a special enclosure to maintain their subzero temperatures. They are completly fantastic birds. I hav’nt been able to upload this fantastic film just to show you’ll how beautifully they respond to human movements. !
Next stop, the Bird show. What fun. Amazing show put up by an super amazing team, But ofcourse the birds of prey themselves stole the show. Watching a vulture hoping right infront of us, or an eagle race to catch a flying prey or an owl fly so soundlessly right above our heads was all a first timer for me and the boys. We were absolutely filled with awe. It was also the first time we saw white lions ! The Zoo, like most zoo’s are, is huge. By the end of it, we were all just aching for some dinner.
Town Center looked so different from what I saw of it, last time. Pleasently different. We ate at “Golden Fork” which ofcourse was an unanimous choice and headed back home to Dubai. It was a picture perfect weekend in every sense of the word.
The photographs are just a few of the moments captured.