Jebel Hafeet

16 Feb

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You can’t miss the mountain that rises above the city of Al Ain . Well, you could if you were depending on the signposts but fortunately it does rather stand out. We’d read of the winding route up the mountain and thought we knew what to expect. We were forgetting this is Abu Dhabi not Europe. The road is wide and modern, good barriers over the precipitous drop with large parking areas dotted all the way up, seriously putting anything else we’ve previously experienced to shame. Mind you, on the midweek day we chose to go up, many of these areas were closed to the general public – they were being used to fly falcons.

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At the top is another large car park and a cafe. And views, of course, so it’s worth picking a clear day. We didn’t. Except the car park isn’t quite at the top. There’s a “path” beside the cafe and we could clearly see people at the summit. It was a bit on the warm side but, well, nothing ventured…

From the quotation marks you’ve probably guessed that this was not a path. When a car came past us on the way down we just thought “wouldn’t like to drive up here”. Then a second car approached, rolled down the window, and informed us that we should hurry down as the route was not for walking but he didn’t seem too alarmed and waved us up to the last last 100 metres or so to the view point.

Pausing only to take a couple of photos we took him at his word and headed straight down. The gates that we had barely noticed on the way up were now closed. And padlocked. A police car was parked outside. He took one look at us and drove off. There was nothing for it but to climb the gate – not too arduous and thankfully without the spikes of the surrounding fence. Except I was wearing my modest long skirt. As you can probably guess, modesty went out of the window.

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