I know it’s Christmas and Abu Dhabi is a warm (even hot!) place and not quite fitting, but I still wanted to post about my trip this year. My Christmas holidays were nice and peaceful, but there wasn’t any snow. So I don’t really feel bad about writing about a trip to a warm place! I’ve been told not to go there in the actual summer, because I am not used to the heat that much. So November was perfect!
One of my very good friends has been living and working in Abu Dhabi (capital of the United Arab Emirates) for a few years now. She’s invited me a few times, but I never found time to actually go there. Finally in November this year I went by bus to Munich to meet her and go to Abu Dhabi together. Munich was very cold, I remember. I had to take different kinds of clothes, because Abu Dhabi would be warm. I also tried to not pack too revealing clothes, because I’ve read that it can be frowned upon in the UAE.
Our flight was overnight and in the morning we arrived at the airport of Abu Dhabi. Tired, I got a bus ticket from a machine and we took the airport bus. I can’t remember much of this trip, I was almost sleeping! After sleeping and relaxing at my friend’s place we went for a walk to see some sights of Abu Dhabi.
This one is Emirates Palace, you can even get “gold” coffee there. I didn’t see the ATM, “that dispenses solid gold bars” (like my Lonely Planet Guide suggested), but there was a girl band playing nicely and great interior design.
The next day my friend had to work so I went to the market (Souq Central Market) alone. I didn’t buy many things (actually, I might have bought nothing), but had some soup at an Asian place (it was way too big, so I took some home). Abu Dhabi is so much different than Austria, those tall buildings, the busy streets, the amounts of people, the heat in November. I also found the street names confusing, not knowing how to speak Arab. It was quite an expericence to just walk around!
The next day, my friend and I went to Hiltonia Beach Club at the Corniche, to sit and enjoy the sun a bit. It wasn’t expensive (I think it was like 12 Euros for the day, including towels). The website says 100 Dirham for the day. The view was very nice!
After that we went to the Observation Deck at 300, to get a view of the city from above. We even had some lunch there. According to their website it’s on the 74th floor and the fee is 85 Dirham.
For me the absolute highlight was the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It was so beautiful and peaceful. We walked around and even went to the library in one of the towers. As a woman you have to wear a piece of clothing, that they give you and cover your hair with it. And everyone has to take their shoes off.
My friend chose to take me to the Mosque at dusk, so we could see it in the light and the dark, which was a great idea!
On the last day, my friend took me to a place called Sushi Art, which had one of the best sushi I’ve ever had. It’s located in a mall (so many malls in Abu Dhabi!), which also has an amazing view.
Since we are talking about food in Abu Dhabi, I have to give a special thanks to Jenny Walker, author of “Pocket Abu Dhabi“, because she suggested going to the restaurant Al Ibrahimi. It was so delicious, just the best! It’s close to Madinat Zayed Mall (kind of behind it) and offers food from for example India or Pakistan. I wish I could eat there every day! It was also inexpensive and the staff was so nice and friendly. My friend and I found another restaurant with the same name, the other one was more crowded, but still very good food (it also came pretty fast, because we were in a hurry!). I am not sure which one is the first restaurant we went to (and which the other), but here is a link to the Lonley Planet suggestion: Al Ibrahimi
I have to add that I did like the decor, though! It also looked like there was a buffet at times.
We went to most places with the bus, because of our budget. It’s pretty doable, you just have to know where to charge your bus card. Unfortunately, my trip was very short, so I didn’t get to see the whole city. I also would have liked to go to the desert! But maybe I’ll go visit my friend again some time!
Looking at my past trips, I haven’t really been to any place that exotic. I’ve been to Sri Lanka and Bali, though. But that was already some time ago. Lately I’ve only been to Austrian places or places close to Austria. I will try to explore the world a bit more, see different cultures and experience life there!