Posted on February 13, 2022
Arrived at this place and couldn’t see anything. The mist and the dust erased the horizon. None of us could see what was down the cliff. The magical landscape surrounding us and erasing time and distance. Lost of sense of reality, any misstep and would disappear in the white cloud below. Suddenly, a ray of light started to show the huge plain below. Traces of water flows, dried by years without rain. Few bushes remained alive. The land of scarcity, the search for survival.
Posted on February 5, 2022
The sunrise is again very beautiful with the sun coming out behind the mountains in a quickly changing cloudy sky. It is windy and cold, but I manage to get some pictures of the sun rising from the top of crater in the surroundings of our camp.
It is a long journey to Dubai that we will do in two stages. We leave our camp in the “real middle of nowhere” early morning. The night has been cold, but a bearable cold. We head directly to our first stop in Riyadh, where we will stay for the night so that Marta can take her plane back to Madrid early morning.
Tired and worn out by the long days and short nights, we want to come back. However, at the same time, we would love to have more vacation days to keep on visiting more of this exotic country. We have left many things out of the original itinerary, but we will come back in some other occasion for more adventures. The next trip I would love to do will be to the Saudi side of Rub Al Khali. Let’s see if I can find companions up for that experience. Anyone interested and prepared, come along!
We drive Southeast to Medina and then we take the long and straight road East from Medina to Riyadh. We pass by Tamya mountain, a big table mountain, which is almost the only interesting point in the flat landscape. Around Qassim and Buraydah there are nice sand dunes, which would be worth riding with my desert driving crew, the Sandmasters.
We cross scattered desert storms as we drive along the Nafud desert. One noticeable thing on the road is that there are bridges for camel crossing from one side of the road to the other. Otherwise, there would be herds of camels crossing this highway.
We reach Riyadh after 11 hours of trip and 1,114 km. We have booked a hotel just fifteen minutes away from the airport to make it easier for Marta to get to the airport in the middle of the night. It is a proper hotel, not luxurious, but good enough and not expensive at all. Modern, a soft bed, a good bathroom, all we need to rest between the two long driving journeys.
A good and plentiful dinner in Benihana makes our day. Pablo was very excited for this. We deserved a treat.
The trip to Dubai is 1,000 km more. We leave before 8, completely restored after a good sleep and shower.
There is a huge sandstorm while we cross the Ad Dahna desert. As I wrote in one of the previous stages, these strong winds transport the sand from the Nafud desert to Rub Al Khali. We drive through the sand clouds for more than 400 kilometers, which makes it a really difficult drive.
It has been an amazing trip. Not just for the places we have visited and the local people we have met, but for the nice crew Marina has put together to come along. Thank you Marina for organizing this trip and for letting me and my kids to be part of it. I am very grateful for having found Ali to come along us, and again thank you Ali for all that you showed us. Finally, thank you very much to the rest of the travelers for your good mood, the pictures and the endurance you have all demonstrated. It was a pleasure to share this experience with all of you.
This trip is not for everyone. You need a lot of endurance and adventure spirit, as well as an ability to cope with uncertainty and resilience to uncomfortable situations. However, if you are ready to put yourself through the unknown with a flexible attitude, I highly encourage you to come and explore Saudi Arabia and all that this land has in store for the rest of the world.
Al Ais to Riyadh. Total distance: 1,114 km; Total time: 11 hours; Moving time: 9 hours 35 minutes; Average moving speed: 116 km/h.
Riyadh to Dubai: Total distance: 999 km; Total time: 10 hours 12 minutes; Moving time: 8 hours 5 minutes; Average moving speed: 111 km/h