When we returned from the US, Dave met with HR and found out he would have to leave the country and come back through customs to take care of some visa issues. (He had come in on a tourist visa since we didn’t have time to get him a new residency permit when we returned from Scotland and then left again for Pgh!).
So we decided to do a quick trip over to Abu Dhabi, capital of the UAE. We planned it over the Eid holiday, and flew out on a Friday morning. It was a short and sweet 35 minute flight, and we were there in no time! Once we landed in the airport, we withdrew some dirhams (UAE currency), and hopped in a taxi to our hotel, the Le Royal Meriden. It was pretty swanky 🙂 Here’s a view from the outside of our hotel. The top circle looking part is a 360 degree revolving restaurant!
After checking in, we relaxed in our room for a bit, and then decided to take a walk to the Irish Pub in our hotel to check it out. It was an interesting place, but there were decent beers on tap, so we had a few drinks. We wanted to order food a little later, only to find out they had a buffet until 4, so we would have to wait until after 4 to order dinner. So after having some drinks, we headed back to our room. Although it was a short flight, we were exhausted, so we spent the majority of the evening in our hotel room, watching tv and just relaxing!
The next day we woke up and headed to the lobby to have some breakfast. It was a really amazing food spread, and I had everything from croissants to mini donuts to (fake) bacon, quiches, cereal and a smoothie. It was really delicious and I could have stayed there all day 😛
But we were off to the Grand Mosque, which we found out later is the 3rd largest mosque in the world, only after Mecca and Medina in Saudi. Here’s a view from the outside (no clue why its so hazy!):
As we entered, I was ushered over to an area with abayas and sheilas that needed to be worn in order to enter the mosque. The abaya was too long for me (I’m short!), and it was HOT! I had worn long sleeves anticipating the dress code, and thank goodness I had a tank on underneath, so I did not have long sleeves and the abaya. That thing does not breathe so well! Here’s a picture of me all decked out in my abaya – complete with sunglasses, just like the local Qataris. If I had a designer purse, I would fit right in!
I had never been inside a mosque before, and this one was beautiful! There were gorgeous German made chandeliers, with Swaworski crystals, gorgeous glass walls, marble columns with mother of pearl flowers, and a lot of other neat things! I took a lot of pictures (too many, probably), but if you want to see them all, check out my full Shutterfly album here.
After spending almost 2 hours at the mosque, we headed back to our hotel to try to find a bite to eat! We decided that we were unhappy with the Irish pub in our building, so we decided to take a walk to the Sheraton to check out their English pub. It was a short walk from our hotel to the Sheraton, and we were rewarded with pints and good food when we got there 🙂
After that, we headed back to the hotel to relax for a little bit before our fancy dinner that evening. On the way back, we saw this:
We thought the name was really amusing, and as we walked past, we smelled shisha! So we knew we’d be walking back there later 🙂
Dinner was at the restaurant on the top 25th floor, which you can see in an earlier picture. It is a round restaurant, and it revolves 360 degrees! Sometimes it was a little nauseating, but I was able to forget about it after awhile! We had some really great food, and shared a bottle of wine. It was a great way to celebrate my husband finally becoming a Doctor 🙂
To end the night, we headed to the shisha cafe, which was really awesome! I had some watermelon shisha and it was the best I’ve ever had! It was also a very interesting crowd in general, and we haven’t found anything like it in Doha yet. They were also amazingly quick replacing coals – at least every 10-15 minutes!
After that, it was off to bed so we could get up for our early flight in the morning. Abu Dhabi is a really fun place, and we hope to go back some day to explore a little more of it! 🙂 If you ever have a chance to visit the Middle East/UAE, definitely check out Abu Dhabi!