One doesn’t really go out with the intention of shopping in Medina. Rather, walking towards the Holy Mosque every prayer time, you see men and women walking with their carts going near the mosque. On every street going out from the Mosque, these carts are set up with lots of things. After prayers, when one is going back to the hotel, they can buy stuff that is mostly not more than 10 riyals.
I found these stalls and carts fun. There was almost everything there. Scarves, bags, shoes, trinkets, prayer beads, dates, dry fruits, watches, chocolates; you name it , there is a high chance that you will find it there. Most people buy stuff, which can then be either consumed by self, or can be stored to be used as a gift. And before I move ahead, most of the stuff on these carts comes from China.
Once you are settled, time to leave comes near. And this is the time when you decide to do the most important shopping of the trip and that is date shopping. Our relatives in Medina directed us towards a small date market in Taiba Arac Hotel. These shops are exquisitely decorated. There are not only dates there, but a score of products made from dates.
We visited 3 shops and then decided on the first shop as they had the freshest and the juiciest dates. When you go date shopping, you will be surprised and delighted that the shopkeepers offer quite a few samples to taste. The shop we went to, they gave us dates to taste. Not only that, we sampled a candy which was a date with an almond at the centre and the date was coated with chocolate. There were dates dipped in honey syrup, dates with almonds or cashew nuts, dates made into a paste and coated with sesame seeds. There were branded dates and unbranded dates. It was a dates heaven. We shopped for various varieties of dates, then went to another shop. This shop had Arabic sweets as well. Again the shop was so exquisitely decorated, that you would want to sample and buy everything there.
The clock below was snapped when we were looking for the Taiba Arac, to go date shopping. People put out seeds for the doves near the clock, which come in flocks and feast on these seeds.
There is a Bin Dawood in the Taiba Arac Hotel. Bin Dawood is something like Hyperstar. Imagine the amount of sales Bin Dawood enjoys that there is another branch in the MovenPick hotel, which is thr 4th hotel from Taiba Arac. and it take around 5 minutes to walk between the two hotels.
Once done with the visit to Roza-e-Nabawi (S.A.W) , the ziyaraat, and the date shopping, it was time to say farewell. 20 years ago, we said a farewell to Medina, this year again we said farewell; both times praying and wishing to back soon. The next stop was Makkah, the journey to which was bound to bring back a lot of memories.