24.09.2016 - 28.09.2016 38 °C
We said farewell to the Royal Princess this morning and made our way to the Rome airport for our next flight to Dubai. After enjoying some time in the business lounge we made our way onto our plane which was an A380. We were upstairs in Business Class. We had our glass of champagne while the plane was getting ready for takeoff.
Once the flight took off we headed back to the bar.
Nicola had some cocktails.
We arrived in Dubai at 23:30 and upon leaving the airport it was still 33 degrees. It took us a while to get to the hotel as the chauffeur could not find our hotel. We finally got his phone and the GPS app and we made it to the hotel. By then it was 1am. I had booked a studio room but we were told that they had upgraded us to an apartment. We had a big kitchen, lounge and bedroom with 2 bathrooms.
This was how the bed was laid out when we arrived.
We even had a view of the Burg Khalifa which was meant to cost more. This was the view from our room when we awoke. The windows are a bit dusty but we still get a good view.
Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is one of the seven emirates that make up the country. It has one of the world’s fastest growing economies. After having a sleep in we got ready to head out for the afternoon.
We headed to the Dubai Mall which is the largest mall in the world. It is equivalent in size to 200 soccer pitches. A centre piece to the mall is the aquarium. It is one of the largest in the world, holding 10 million litres of water. It houses thousands of aquatic animals including sharks and rays.
Even one of the shops had fish in their front window.
We walked for quite a while in the mall enjoying all the architecture. Some was modern and other parts were arabic.
There are also 2 amazing waterfalls in the mall.
We then went up the Burj Khalifa which is an 828 metres high skyscraper in Dubai, and the tallest man-made building in the world. The tower was inspired by the structure of the desert flower named Hymenocallis. It was constructed by more than 30 contracting companies around the world with 100 nationalities of workers. It was a bit hazy but the views were amazing. Only a few years ago this was all desert. You can still see the desert in the background.
This view is of the fountain area.
We then headed outside to watch the Dubai Fountain which is a captivating water, music and light spectacular in downtown Dubai. It is the world’s tallest performing fountain at over 900 ft in length. It comprises of five circles of varying sizes and two arcs, and features powerful water nozzles that shoot water up to impressive heights. The fountain performs to a range of different songs. When operational, the fountain has over 22,000 gallons of water in the air at any given moment.
This morning we had an early start as we were heading to Oman for the day. We had someone pick us up and we were on our way. They took photos of our passports on their phone and sent them ahead to get the appropriate paperwork for us to cross the border into Oman. We drove a couple of hours enjoying the contrast in scenery. After heading out of Dubai there was a lot of sand.
Then we left the sand and came upon the Hajar Mountains.
We were heading for mountainous Musandam, a pocket-sized chunk of Oman northeast of Dubai on the tip of the Arabian Peninsula. We crossed the Omani border.
We then continued to the Dibba region lapped by the waters of the Gulf of Oman. We arrived in the town of Dibba, and boarded a double-decker wooden Omani dhow for our sailing trip.
Shane made himself at home on the big cushions at the front of the dhow.
Setting sail, there was gorgeous scenery as even though it was a bit hazy.
We stopped for a swim. The water was warm. Once again Shane decided to jump off the top of the dhow.
We had a relaxing few hours jumping in and out of the dhow cooling off, and admiring the scenery in between.
We had a traditional Arabic lunch which was really nice. After lunch we had another swim before it was time to start heading back to land and then our long drive back to Dubai. The day had been well worth it as it was really relaxing and the scenery was so different.
When we got back to our apartment there was another lovely piece of towel art on the bed.
Today we went to the Dubai Marina. We walked to the metro and took the train to the marina. We could not believe how clean the trains were. We walked around to the Yellow Boats and went out on their rigid inflatable boats.
We first had a cruise around the marina.
From the Dubai Marina you get a spectacular view of the skyline.
We could not believe the creative architectural buildings. They were spectacular.
We then headed out to see Palm Jumeirah. This is an artificial archipelago created using land reclamation in the shape of a palm. Construction began in 2001 and the first residents occupied it in 2006. We cruised around the island where there were luxurious villas and hotels including the Atlantis which is a 5-star hotel.
The rib boat went really fast and we both enjoyed the ride.
We also went to see the Burj Al Arab which is a luxury hotel.
While out on the water we could see downtown Dubai in the distance, but it was really hazy. You can just see the Burj Khalifa standing out.
There is still so much construction going on in Dubai and the marina area was no different. Infact they are building the Dubai eye. At present London has the biggest eye, but the Dubai eye is going to be twice as big as the London eye. It should be ready next year. They only have the support structure up at present.
We decided to have lunch at the Marriott. We went up to the 52nd floor and had a fantastic view of the palm.
We then decided to take the tram and head to the monorail and go across to the Palm Jumeirah. Even the monorail had the Palm Jumeirah logo in it.
There were rows of lovely houses on the sandy palm frons.
We couldn't get into the Atlantis Hotel as it is really exclusive, however we got off the monorail to view the Atlantis Water Park.
It had been another hot day 37 degrees but we hadn’t let it stop us.
While walking back to the hotel we had another good view of the Burj Khalifa.
Once back at the hotel we cooled down with a swim.
The staff at our hotel have been amazing. This morning they offered us a late checkout for 20:00 instead of 11:00 for free. From our experience this is very unusual. Our flight does not leave until 2am on the 29th so this has given us more time to relax and enjoy the pool before heading to the airport tonight. I could not fault the service here and Dubai has been a pleasant surprise for us. Despite the heat we have really enjoyed our stay here and can't wait to come back some time. No doubt it will look very different with all the construction going on for the 2020 expo. We will be leaving for the airport shortly so this is Nicola and Shane signing off from another adventure.