Monday, January 12, 2015

Medina, The City of the Prophet

The first destinations of my Omra trip and package is to firstly arrive at Jeddah by plane with a transit in Abu Dhabi before going later to Medina by bus. In Jeddah, the group went through a breezy immigration, the tour continue on to Medina using buses from the airport to our hotel at Medina. It took 4 hours for the trip from the two points in Saudi Arabia. Served on the ride is a set of Indonesian food from Rumah Makan Jawa Timur, but seeing the food I've eaten beforehand and throughout the flight I decided to skip this one. The bus continue on as I fell asleep to catch some of the sleep I missed on the way.

Arriving in Medina, we got into our hotel room in The Anwar al-Madinah Mövenpick Hotel located nearby to Masjid al-Nabawi. My family of seven got divided into two rooms and I got the triple room as my brothers got into a quadruple. My bed were super comfortable and  we got the view directing to the city.

The hit is the spacious bathroomand the fact that the hotel two towers is interconnected by a mall. Yet some misses are that one of the bed in the room is a bit too springy, and the kitchen although is spacious has some of their utensil not working and that the fridge was unfortunately damp.

The hotel also broadcasts one Indonesian television channel, MetroTV.

The time I had in Medina were mainly spent going back and forth from the hotel to Masjid al-Nabawi and visiting some shops in between. I personally did not spend any time eating outside because most of the meal  were served by the hotel in one of the many restaurant the hotel had such as the Al Salam and Al Rehab restaurant. The breakfast menu we had were pretty consistent over the three days of our stay in Medina, but the lunch and dinner menu varies day by day. A definite serving during the services are the selection of pastries, plates of charcuterie, salads, tea and coffee among others, while the main dishes varies by the day.

My brothers on the other hand bought some dishes outside of the hotel to try out some of the local delicacies. Unfortunately many restaurants in the city were open after noon and a tad distant from our place and of the shops surrounding the Masjid were mainly selling souvenirs as well as vendors selling clothes, Qur'an, dates, and accessories. 

Considering the route, I would actually suggest to start buying in Madinah since the price can get quite hefty upon the further travel. Shopping in Medina, especially within the Masjid al-Nabawi area is SO MUCH MORE convenient than in the area of Masjidil Haram in Mecca and its price way more affordable than the ones in Jordan and Israel. I was sort of thinking that it would be best to spare the shopping time in Mecca at the first place and skip all the shopping in Medina; and then sort of regretting that decision.

At least I got some shots from the condition of the street with its many vendors, as well as few glimpse of the Masjid al-Nabawi courtyard. Sadly I didn't take any pictures anywhere nearer to the Masjid considering the sanctity of the place and being a bit anxious in unfamiliar place made me a bit insecure. But look at the colors! Look at the streets! I was really impressed of how neat Medina is, and the wintery soft breeze at more touches of comfort of my stay there. Wearing hijab which I weren't used to beforehand became an ease and added more comfort to both my body and my confidence as well.

Here as well are some food that we purchased from vendors. Another that is not pictured but was my favorite is bought from the dessert stall within the mall of the Mövenpick named Le Gourmet that serves their signature maple syrup ice cream that are so delightful! It is sweet, nutty, fragrant and most of all it is pretty affordable. with a price of 5 SAR per scoop. Mentioning it just now makes me want to have another scoop :')

Shawarma bought in from a store near the Masjid.

A sugary coconut cake bought in a restaurant that mainly sells Arabic mandi rice dishes or Hadramout. I'm not sure about the actual name of the dish since per usual, my brother bought this in my absence.

The tour in Medina as I said before mainly spent in the Masjid al-Nabawi area. I entered upon the inside of the mosque and through to the Raudha (that is said to be an area which is part of the heavenly garden) as well as the tomb of Prophet Muhammad saw., pbuh. as well as his companions and great warrior of Islam. It was such a spiritual journey that I cannot describe, but am very grateful for. Also in the mosque, served many jugs of zam-zam water alongside with plastic cups to help clenching thirst as well and/or as to yearn more blessings from the holy water.

 The times we visited Medina other places of interest, we were accompanied by these delicacies eaten under the bright sun.

Aside from the al-Nabawi mosque, the group also visited a garden of dates as well as the Mount Uhud or Jabal Uhud which commemorates the lost Battle of Uhud by the muslims defence against the attack of abrasive Quraisy skeptics. The view of the hill was amazing and at the same time learning upon recalling the war event are insightful to say the least. 

It reminds us consequences of disputes and conflicts. From such remembrance may we embrace that peace now and forevermore continue to be preserved amongst muslims alongside with all other human beings around the world and not to repeat the history of which has taught the consequences of wars and tensions. Amin ya rabbal 'alamin. 

Our stay in Medina ends as we traveled to Mecca to proceed Omra. On the way, we conduct miqat at Bir Ali before crossing Medina. This marks the next proceding to another journey to another spiritual discovery, and for this I thank You for.