Saudi Arabia’s Maida’n Salah – The Logistics of Travel

Maida’n Salah – The Logistics of Travel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We began our adventure to Maida’n Salah as a group of strangers.  We were group representing 8 different countries to include a few from Saudi Arabia.  Few of us had known each other prior to the trip.  We had all heard about this trip through various resources and decided to sign on for a new venture into the Kingdom.  We began our journey at “o-dark-thirty” hours.  In the case of my husband and me, it meant getting up at 0245 hours and leaving the house by 0330 to be at the airport by 0400.  Our flight actually left promptly on time at 0520 hours.  Not surprisingly through the airport scene and short 70 minute flight to Medina we all remained as sleepy strangers.  On arrival in Medina we began to wake up.  Medina is a small airport and our guide from the Al Arac hotel had no difficulty find our group of 20.  He greeted us warmly and led us to the hotel coaster which would be our transport for the entire duration of our trip.  We were introduced to our Saudi driver who with a warm smile on his face, loaded our luggage atop the coaster.  At that time we were also apprised the journey from Medina to Al Ula (the nearest town to Maida’n Salah) would take about six hours.  We were to have security escorts all along the way.

 

 

Medina is home to one of the two holy mosques.  As a result, portions of the city are what is referred to as a “Haram” area meaning non-muslims are prohibited from entering that area.  Therefore one would see border signs indicating where the Haram boundaries are located.  Because our group were mixed muslims and non-muslims, the driver made sure to not cross those boundaries.

 

                                

 

 

                       

 

 

Our short route through the city also took us past King Abdullah’s palace which is where he stays when he visits Medina.  There is no doubt given its position at the top of the mountain the view must be spectacular.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shortly after leaving the airport, it did not take long for the terrain to start to change.  We not only entered open desert but beautiful desolate territory.  The ground at some parts was covered with black lava rocks of varying shapes and sizes and in other places there were unique rock formations and mountains which were bordered by sand and date trees.  In some places we would see a large protruding mountain composed of the dark lava rock which also looked as if a hand from heaven had tossed a handful of sand down one side of the mountain creating instead of a slope covered with snow but with soft rolling sands.

 

 

 

A humorous part of the long drive was the dual use of our ever-present security escort.  They not only were there for our protection and safety but to shoo any errant camels off the roads we traveled.  We managed to see quite a few and this was one of the few areas in the Kingdom where the sides of the roads were not fenced in on either side to keep the camels off the road.  In fact, a first for me, was seeing a sign in English and Arabic with a mobile number to call for camel removal if one was inadvertently hit by a car or seen along the side of the road.

 

                      

 

 

 

                         

 

After about 200 KM we made our first stop at a historical dam.  I do not recall the year the guide advised the dam was built but suffice to say it was long long ago.  Interestingly the dam was built by Jews.  It is worth the stop to get out, walk around and take photos particularly as it is unusual to see anything like this in the Kingdom.

 

                                                       

 

 

 

 

                                  

 

 

We made a second stop as everyone was much in need of a pit stop at that time.  After that it seemed like in no time at all we had arrived at our hotel where our group was given a warm welcome and served juice.

 

 

The journey took 6 hours which gave us all sufficient time to get to know one another and merge together as a cohesive and friendly group.

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