It is the morning of the 4th day from our walking trip around Bahrain. Today is Friday not same as the other days this morning, I am so excited for today route. We are heading to Manama the capital! Then we’ll continue walking along the northern west coastline that connects several villages.
[Note: This is day IV of a 5-days story of our walking trip around Bahrain. To read Day 1 click here.]
From Muharraq to Manama
From Muharraq island we went through the old bridge connecting Muharraq to Manama. Again we found ourselves walking on the fast highway and hoping that our country will become more walking friendly in the future. We reached Manama, passed the closed house of Quran museum a place that hosts old copies of Quran. Finally we are here in Ras Rumman a small town within Manama. What I really find impressive about this little town that it’s still preserving its local culture and architecture in mid of the high skyscrapers, modern hotels and buildings surrounding it.
After Ras Rumman we went to a Al-Fadhel neighbourhood, which is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Manama. It’s famous for its mosque that has a very colourful minaret. There are also a number of old houses with traditional architecture all of them are abandoned and locked. Unfortunately there are not much efforts to restore those old houses in Manama. Al-Fadhel neighbourhood is a very special place to Hussain, as it is his father’s hometown.
My sister had called me earlier and we agreed to meet her and a group of friends at “Mandali” one of a traditional restaurants in the heart of Manama Souq. So we went through the narrow allies in Manama. The old area of Manama Souq and around currently hosts thousands of expats from different nationalities mostly from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Filipino, so it became a cross cultural place, you can even smell the indian dishes while you are moving between the houses. Our breakfast meal included grilled chicken liver, grilled kabab, Nashef “Which is a chicken and tomato sauce”. So yes we like to go heavy with breakfast in Bahrain! actually me and Hussain don’t normally have this at home but this is what you can get from Mandali early morning breakfast. however, the meal was a perfect power charger to complete the walk for today.
We finished our breakfast meal and decided to have a small tour around Manama Souq. First we passed by a traditional coffee shop. In the outdoor area of the coffee shop, you can see the tall wooden chairs put next to each other with tables in front. We couldn’t resist so we had a seat ordered red tea and Chai Karak. It so obvious that the most the attendants are of old age a typical place to spend a good time. It is very old coffee shop, they are even serving “Qado” similar to Sheesha it is used to smoke tobacco but the very special thing about it that the bottom pot is made of pottery locally here in Bahrain. We finished our tea and continue our tour around the Souq, we passed by a traditional tailor shop, the famous and most photogenic tailor in the Souq Haji Fatahllah.
After crossing spices and traditional sweet shops. We have been attracted by a very hard noise, here we are in front of the last local blacksmith shop in Bahrain. Haji Habib with a gentle smile working on forming a tin box. Hanged in the shop’s wall a very nice portrait of his father who taught him the know how of this handicraft. There many other things, coffee jugs, pots and bowls, but my favorite is the big tin boxes. The Souq has a lot but we have to leave now to reach Diraz village where we are going to camp today.
Emmawash traditional restaurant
The second invitation of today was from Emawash traditional restaurant so it was our next stop. The restaurant is in Budaiya highway, specifically in Shakhoorah village. We met Abullah the owner and his wife Sarah, more friends and people joined us later. Ali our dear friend took us to his house to have a shower! take a rest and drive us back to Bahrain fort to continue from there through Nakheel highway.
Al Nakheel highway
If you just walked behind Bahrain fort you will reach the fort village and from there through the farms road you can continue to the other villages along the coastline. Someone called and asked to meet us in the intersection between Meqsha’a and Karana so we waited. Mahmood Al-Baqlawa came and said I won’t take long, this is for you! a very nice gift from a person we just met. A trophy made out of bronze taking a shape of an old Dilmun seal. Such a perfect gift for the Dilmuni couple!
With very positive feelings we continued the walk passed through the villages of; Karranah, Jid Alhaj, Jannusan and Barbar. What we you see when pass through those villages is mixture of old, modern and traditions that people kept until today. Luckily there still some farms in this fertile part of the island. Fish and vegetables, local snack sellers set on the sides of the roads. Adding to this scenery horses and white donkeys riders!
Finally we reached Diraz village. We enjoyed the night with number of friends and relatives at Abu Subeh beach, before heading to my manager house. Carla generously invited us to set up our tent in her house’s small garden. oh It is such a pleasure to have our tent in a calm and beautiful place as this. We will have a calm night for sure! One last thing finishing the surprises of today, at 02:00 am the garden showers started automatically so we had to wake up mid of the night and change our tent location! what a day it was.