Welcome back all. I’m sorry if you’re all reading these one after the other, as I know that the text of my narrative can sometimes drag on. Just remember that for every 5 paragraphs you read, there’s probably another 15 paragraphs of memories and thoughts that I’m sparing you. I kid you not when I say that it takes me at least an hour for each of these posts. And that’s only if I sit and write them straight through… This tale revolves around another magnificent adventure that we had in Saudi Arabia. Namely, the visit to the Kingdom’s first, and so far only, Unesco World Heritage site, Mada’in Saleh. Many of you may have heard of a little place called Petra in Jordan, right? Well, Mada’in Saleh, is the 2nd city of the Nebateans, this one carved in to the rock hills very close to Al Ula. The stone in this area is actually harder than in Jordan, and as a result, some of these tombs are even better preserved. However, for reasons beyond the scope of this post, many Muslims have a beef with this site, and so they have tried to deface and damage it, and in many cases have succeeded. Read on for more great information about this place, and what we did there. As usual, make sure you check out all the pictures on flickr before you read on!
Well my friends, here it is. A worthy blog post about travels within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Not only would Jody and I be undertaking internal flights, but we were actually bound for Medina, which is one of the two holiest places for all Muslims. In fact, the city centre is completely forbidden to entry by any non-Muslims. Luckily, the airport is located outside the city, and our transport would be taking us all the way to our hotel without ever entering the city. Of course, the actual purpose of our traveling to this area was not to visit a holy Muslim site, as that is a very bad idea. We were bound for two very special places, one known as Al-Ula, and one known as Mada’in Saleh. These are areas of archeological and historical significance. Mada’in Saleh in fact has just recently been declared a UNESCO world heritage site, the first one of its kind in all of Saudi Arabia. We would be visiting these two sites together on the same day, but I would argue that each of them on its own is worth a blog post, so that’s how I’ll write them up and present them to you. For your pleasure, I have of course put up a whole boat-load of pictures to check out on flickr. So why don’t you do that, then read my story?
When you last left ActiveSteve, I had filled you all in on the excitement of Christmas in the Kingdom, which had us wending our way through the camel souq, and then dining as we watched the horse races at the Riyadh racetrack. As you might imagine, after several days of action, it was time for a little bit of downtime on the homefront. Luckily, Boxing Day is just the sort of thing for that. So, although I do have a little bit of storytelling I can share with you, for the most part it was a chill day, with time spent with family. In spite of all this, we were set for a supper gathering with more of Andrea’s friends, in particular, we were dining with some Swiss diplomats, and as you might imagine, Fondue was on the menu 🙂 yum yum. Read on for a little bit more about our day, and don’t forget to check out the album of pictures up on Flickr.