March 5, 2016
05.03.2016 - 05.03.2016 23 °C
We set out after breakfast to hike to Dolphin Nose, a rock formation with fantastic views of the valleys. First, we took a taxi up to La Saleth Church, which was the highest point on the route. So it was mostly downhill from there. The hike is about 8 or 8.5 km round trip and I wanted to make it a bit easier by taking a taxi to the high point, so I didn't have to climb up and then go down. So we hiked about 6.5 km round trip. A lot of the hike is through old forest with some big old trees, down a very narrow road, with of course, lots of switchback corners.
We arrived in the village of Vattakanal where the steep part of the path goes down to the Dolphin Nose. By the time we got down there, my legs were shaking from the effort of stepping down the path. Dolphin Nose doesn't look like a dolphin nose to me - just a big rectangular rock which sticks out over the valley. There is another rock close by, called Echo Rock, which many of the visitors stood on and tried the echo out.
It was very cloudy in the valleys when we arrived, and we sat and read and watched other visitors (and rested!) for awhile hoping for the clouds to lift. When it seemed it was lifting a bit, we went over to the Dolphin Nose and there had to wait in line in order to take a picture on the rock. There are professional photographers who work there, using the rock as the stage for their photo shoots. Finally, we got the chance to take a couple of quick shots of Don on the rock. When he put his arms out, there were cheers from the people hiking (or trekking, as they call it here) down the path.
Then it was time to slog back up the path. Slow and sure is the only way I can do it, but I made it. When we made the village again, we stopped for lunch. We ate at Altaf's Cafe, an Italian-Israeli restaurant. This cafe was full of young travelers. We were definitely the oldest people in the place. Don had his first Yemeni meal there and found it an interesting experience. I got to eat falafel and enjoyed it very much, although french fries in the pita seemed a bit strange to me.
We then walked up the rest of the way and when we got to the church again, we knew it was all downhill from there to the hotel. It really was a very nice hike and I'm glad I managed it. We came down by the lake and when we got back to the hotel, we got some natural ice cream and enjoyed it sitting down in our room resting.
Later we went out to pick up Don's new shorts from the tailor. He did a wonderful job and I'm sure these shorts will last a long time. Then we went back to the Astoria Veg Restaurant to eat supper. It was not too busy when we arrived but it rapidly turned into a mad house. There was no inclination to relax and linger over your meal, with people standing around the restaurant waiting for a table. And the noise level was intense as well.
So back to the hotel for the night and to pack up to leave in the morning.