Jun 19, 2015

Mada'in Saleh - Day 2

The landscape is amazing!
A quick nights sleep (breakfast was at 5am) so we could head out to experience the rosy rocks and Al Ragassat "the Dancers Mountains".  We met up with our off-road drivers from the night before and although we were first assigned to another vehicle, we asked for Fahad.  We were not disappointed.  We headed away from the hotel for our next off-road adventure.
Deflating the tires ready to hit the sand!

Our friends and a panorama of the landscape.

Our driver helping another who was stuck. Fahad is awesome!

The sand was very loose, so it easily entered our shoes at any available point. 

Most of our drivers gathered apart from our group for a smoke break and coffee.  And from the sounds of laughter floating in the air...some good conversation.

Our snack break. It was beautiful with the rugs and snax.
A picture of Fahad during our break.


Lots of pictures, I'm sorry! But it was so beautiful!  I wish a camera could truly capture what God has given our eyes the ability to see (and luckily out brains the ability to retain).  The rocks and mountains were awesome.  I was totally infatuated with the trees.  I think it is partially because their ability to thrive with little resources and against all odds, but there they are...flourishing.

On our way out we stopped at some ancient camel carvings. It was very cool to see.

After our journeys, snack break, and a quick moment alone in nature it was time for our next itinerary stop.  We drove to Harrah Owairith (after a quick stop to air up tires - even that was an adventure). It's one of the highest points in the area and it has been developed into a great lookout area.  As we drove a steep road to get to our lookout we saw camels on the top of the mesa (not sure what it is called in Arabic, but mesa is the best English word to describe it).

Our last stop before lunch was to "Elephant Rock".  I'm guessing you can see why...

We returned to our hotel, enjoyed some lunch and took a much needed rest. Then we packed our bags, checked out of the hotel, and boarded the bus. For our next stops - the ancient city of Daydan (Dedan) with their "Lion Tombs" and a visit to "Deera" - the ancient part of Al Ula.

This sign talks of the Lihyan  people.  Some may prefer to spell it "Lehi-an". I also smile as this English translation the numbers are in Arabic.  See the number translation below...
٠١٢٣٤٥٦٧٨٩ = 0123456789

Tombs carved into the side of the mountain.

Two lions to guard a tomb.
The steps (new construction) we climbed up to the lion tombs.
Inside of a tomb. You can see the carving marks.
 Last stop before the airport...Old Al Ula. This was a cool town.  Some of it has been rebuilt, but there were other parts that were yet to be rebuilt.
As our guide told us...in order to confuse any invading people, the town was built in a maze with a large fort at one end. It was a maze.  The homes were built sharing walls - like a condo complex.

View from the fort.  See the maze of houses?

Entering the "maze". The lanterns are a new add.
One of the passages that is closed off from debris.

We assumed this was a new add too.  :)

Looking in from the hallway into a front door, up the stairs.

The doors are a new build, but the door latches (old or new, not sure) are really pretty.

A roof with a view (upstairs in a home).

An old door sitting in a hallway.

Symbol carved into one of the walls.

View of the lower portion of the fort.

View from the upper portion of the fort (looking the opposite way from the other picture).

This is also part of the Lihyanite (Lehi-anite) civilization.
 And before we knew it, we were heading back to the airport.  The weekend was a whirlwind - but what memories!  I can't wait to return with our kids in tow!

We have so many more pictures and BlogSpot is a PAIN to use for pictures - so here's a link to a Flickr account to view all our pix (all 450 of them) - https://www.flickr.com/gp/134152304@N04/e58049