The plane! We flew with Saudi Airlines and have ever since they started direct flights from Manchester to Jeddah. Previously, we have flown with Air France, Etihad Airways, Egypt Air and Qatar Airways but all those flights involve stopping in their respective countries. I highly recommend the direct flight.
My favourite biography of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
Nearly time to pass over our Meeqaat.
The flight was around 6 hours which wasn't too bad.
For the first time ever, we got through the infamous Jeddah airport checks really fast. I had been dreading the long wait that usually happens here but alhamdulillah, this time they had lots more desks open and we basically sailed through. But then, we lost a suitcase so you can't win them all.
We drove from Jeddah to Makkah - around 1 hour's drive. We stayed in the same hotel as last year. It's the Swissotel Makkah and is in the clock tower.
The view! We had the exact same suite as last year only this time, we were three floors higher. This was on the 35th floor.
Our lovely view of the Kabah and Masjid-al-Haram.
The Safa and Marwa walkway where the Sa'ee takes place.
Directly above the Kabah is the Kabah of the angels - the Baitul Ma'moor.
My homemade peanut butter chocolate chip cookies survived the flight.
Reading lots of Quran whilst in Makkah.
In the first few days that we were there, it was really misty and foggy in Makkah.
The best cosy corner!
This crunchy honey sesame granola was so good! i had it over strawberry yoghurt.
So, the hotel decided to put a giant pineapple in their fruit bowl.
I bet they didn't think anyone would ever actually slice it and eat it.
Except us! It was really sweet, by the way.
The first of many burgers in Makkah.
By day ...
... and by night, the Tawaf is always busy. And, why wouldn't it be? It's the one of the only acts of worship which can only be done here in Makkah.
Spot the eagle!
Birds eye view.
Oh my gosh, this milkshake was so good!
So, the hotel had the best curtains ever. They had these net curtains and then the thickest, heaviest curtains to block out all the bright light from the mosque below.
The walk to the Haram.
Love how the ladies section took over the Safa area. Anyone else think that there still isn't enough space for ladies in the mosque? All the sections we went to were always packed out whereas the men's sections were usually pretty empty!
Looking down on a part of the Safa mountain.
The hotel made sure that we always had our five a day.
Grilled lamb and fries for dinner one day. We would usually eat our dinner after Asr because the restaurant rush was slightly calmer then.
The mosque beginning to light up for the evening.
The lights would get brighter ...
... and brighter.
We cannot come to Makkah and not get our usual ice cream. It's five flavours (vanilla + chocolate + mango + watermelon + strawberry) in one and they all taste really fake but really good.
Busy mosque staircases. On our last few days, we discovered the escalators down to the mataaf area.
Obligatory glass or two of cold Zam Zam.
Oh my gosh, those mini vegetarian spring rolls dipped into hot chilli garlic sauce were so good! Must recreate at home!
If I'm not mistaken, that small building is the library which has been built on the site of the Prophet Muhammad's (peace be upon him) birthplace.
These were so sour! My favourite!
Makkah is in itself a miracle. How this giant city has grown from a barren valley is incredible. Having the beautiful hotel room view that we did, we could see that the whole city has grown and is revolved around one thing only - the Kabah. People are going towards it, leaving it or working in its mosque or the hotels, shops and area around it.
Day and night, pilgrims are coming and going from it.
For some, it's their first visit and for others, it will be their last.
May Allah accept it from them all - ameen.
We basically lived on burgers in Makkah! These beef cheeseburgers were so good!
Friday morning in Makkah!
The best recipe: one of these yoghurt pots + four of the hotel sugar sachets = heaven.
We were in Makkah for a week and it only got really busy on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Makes sense because Friday and Saturday is the Saudi weekend.
Love these old houses of Makkah.
I hope they get to stay as they are.
Our last evening in Makkah! We would be leaving in the morning to go to Madinah.