It’s our second day here and we’re off on a conducted half-day tour of Abu-Dhabi.We don’t know much about the place, so it’ll be good to see the ’bigger picture’ given that our first impressions of the people, customs, climate and food have impressed us both in equal measure.
So, it was an early breakfast - ‘early’ by holiday standards, 8pm - before meeting our Tour Guide in Reception. In spite of booking the tour just for us, our Guide picked up a couple more Brits from a neighbouring hotel - Petula and Don. We got to know them really well and spent the rest of the Tour with them exploring Abu Dhabi.
Although our Guide didn’t stick rigidly to the itinerary, we saw a lot of what we wouldn’t have seen if we’d chosen to do things by ourselves. In the four-hour tour, we saw the Grand Mosque, (mind blowing), a local ‘museum’ (that wasn’t really a museum, just a shop full of very expensive items for the home), the Heritage Centre (mind-numbingly boring) and via the freeway (that seemed to go on forever) the island of Yas featuring the F1 track (very classy!) - and if that wasn’t special enough, only out here would they have the money and the motivation to build a shiny new(ish) five lane freeway just to get you to a once-a-year motor racing event!
The highlight for me was without doubt, the Grand Mosque, not for any religious reasons, but simply the size and scale of the building. Massive doesn’t even begin to describe it! It was only when we entered the underground car-park and needed an escalator to get to the Mosque itself, we realised how large it was!
The Grand Mosque - WOW! What a construction!
Scenes from The Heritage Centre (zzzzz!)
After the sights at the Grand Mosque, everything else just looked ‘ordinary’!
Then it was back on the mini-bus, where, after the short journey back, we said our goodbyes to Petula and Don and then travelled on to our hotel. The rest of the afternoon meant lazing on the beach before summoning up the energy to try and decide where we should eat tonight (it’s a tough life!).
After very little head scratching, we chose the ‘local Indian’ with a stunning view across the water of, you guessed it, the Grand Mosque.
The food was excellent and the service, the same, although it turn quite cold as the evening wore-on and we headed for a dessert. In the end, we decided to skip the sweet stuff and head back to the hotel and a nightcap.
We tied out one of the Bars near Reception in the hotel and ordered ‘our usual’ - Hot Chocolate (for Ann) and a Bailey’s Coffee for me. We ‘kindled’ for about another hour before calling it a day.
We’re planning a lazy day tomorrow - no plans at all!