Hello and welcome to Riyadh where it is another week of sun! Temperatures are cooling, they are down to below 38 degrees most days now and it is really pleasant to sit outside in the evenings. The mornings are lovely as well – we are no longer hit by a wave of intense heat every time we step outside. There have been no rains yet so we are also enjoying being mosquito free – if only it was like this all the time!
Anyway, I thought for this blog I would share a recent trip I went on to a heritage village called Al Ghat, 200k north of Riyadh.
There were nine of us – four westerners and five Saudi ladies and we went on an organised tour in a little tour bus and a lovely lady called Salwa was our guide.
Al Ghat is in a region north of Riyadh where they have grown the bateel dates for centuries. It was built up around a wadi (a green area around a river or pool which is not permanent) in a large valley. The people there lived in mud brick houses until the 1980s when a new town was built with the income from Saudi’s oil money. The old ruined village is still there although a lot of it has fallen down. Some of it is being rebuilt into a luxury hotel because the area has stunning views and the air is so much cleaner than Riyadh. They have also preserved the former Governor’s house which was built around two courtyards and had huge vats where the dates were stored after the harvest . The exhibitions inside tell the story of Al Ghat and show how people used to live.
After walking around the village we headed off in the bus to see the dam which was built to help with irrigation once the rain comes and the wadi fills up. Our tour guide also told us Al Ghat in Arabic is a derivation of the word for waterfall. We drove past long rows of date trees on the way and afterwards we called into a date farm for afternoon tea of qahwa (Arabic cardamom coffee) and dates.
Then we all popped back on to the bus and headed to a cultural centre which was built funded by the local date farmers, followed by a traditional Arabic picnic in the gardens:
It was a great day out and I am looking forward to more trips over the cooler winter months :0).
Finally, the Rugby World Cup is on and we’ve been along to the Irish Embassy to watch some of the games. Also really hoping this Saturday when they play New Zealand won’t be the team’s last match of the tournament!!
And that’s all for this blog. I hope you have enjoyed it. Stay tuned for the next one which will be all about the institution that is compound coffee mornings and hopefully good news on the rugby!
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