Saturday, 14 January 2017

Sunset in the park

After our Afternoon Tea we wanted to spend what was left of the afternoon outside and went to the Umm Al Emarat Park.
The weather is absolutely perfect at the moment, and it feels like such a treat to be able to be outside. We went for a stroll around the park in the sunset.

The park is very large and it consists of different parts. This is the Wisdom Garden, which was built in memory of the late Sheikh Zayed, and his efforts in environmental conservation. The wall panels all were inscribed with quotes by Sheikh Zayed, about the UAE and the country's heritage.

There was a small vegetable garden where they grow and cultivate herbs and vegetables for educational purposes.

They also have a small Zoo in the park and a couple of playgrounds, probably more suited for younger children, although I think our kids would probably enjoy coming here too. In the Animal Barn, there was a camel, some donkeys, lamas, sheep and a pony.

Also in the Childrens Garden part of the park, there was a large play area, with a small wadi.

The most unique structure in the park is the Shade House. Apparently you can climb it and overlook the park from the two upper level decks. There are tropical plants inside, where a special misting system allows them to thrive, thanks to the special design of the building.

The amphitheater. On the weekends this is used for outdoor concerts and other events. It features a canvas that is used for lighting displays and screening movies among other things. The lawn is also used for yoga classes now in the winter season.

This park is one of the oldest and largest in Abu Dhabi. It was built in 1982 and originally known as Mushrif Park. When it was extensively renovated in 2015 a new name was chosen, Umm Al Emarat means "Mother of the nation". The park has been awarded the Green Flag, an international benchmark for parks and green spaces.
A very nice green space in the middle of the city.

On top of the world

On Monday we started with one of my Zumba classes, at the Beach Rotana, and then we strolled the Abu Dhabi Mall for a little bit. It felt good to get a little spot of exercise in, as we had booked in for one of the more famous Afternoon Teas in town, at the Observation Deck at 300.

Here we are in the elevator going up to the 74th floor, 300m up in Tower 2 of the Etihad Towers complex. The Observation Deck at 300 is the highest vantage point in Abu Dhabi.

You have 360° panoramic views of Abu Dhabi from the top, and on a clear day like this, it was amazing!
First we were seated on the Al Bateen side, and apart from the Al Bateen marina and beach, we could actually see all the way out to the Aldar building here in Al Raha!

We asked to get moved to the other side though, as I wanted to experience the view over the famous Emirates Palace. Just look at this... Beautiful... The Emirates Palace, the marina, the Arabian Gulf; and to the left you can see the Presidential Palace as well.

The Breakwater, with Marina Mall and the Heritage Village.

Apart from enjoying the views, we also enjoyed their Afternoon Tea!
Yes, you have to pay AED 85 to get up to the Observation Deck, but part of the ticket price (AED 50) can be redeemed in the restaurant. You don't have to do the Afternoon Tea, you can also order drinks and snacks from their menu.

Erika displaying our slightly more honest reaction..! Ha ha!
Well, we could probably have shared just one set-up. There was so much food, and it took us all of the three hours to devour it all. Extra plus for the gluten free option available for Erika.

In the part of the restaurant where you had the view over the Corniche, there was no tables but a viewing lounge with binoculars free to use.

Oh such a lush afternoon! This research for the Tour Guiding is proving to be rather enjoyable..!

Friday, 13 January 2017

Soft Sunday

After a couple of days of hardcore sightseeing we were in dire need of some relaxing. We decided to spend the day by the pool at the Fairmont while the kids were at school. Sun and swimming, aahhh!

In the evening, while the kids were at their rugby training at the ZSC, Erika and I peaked in at the football game at the stadium between Sweden and Ivory Coast. We arrived when it was 30 minutes to go in the second half.

Just like last time, two years ago, Sweden had a small but loud cheering squad all decked out in blue and yellow. Unfortunately this time it wasn't enough, Sweden lost 1-2. Shame.

Sunset at the Dubai Water Canal

Another brand new attraction finally opened in Dubai in November last year, the Dubai Water Canal. We had been recommended by my friend Linda to take the evening ferry, from the Al Jaddaf Marine Station to the Sheikh Zayed Road station. So we left the car at the mall and took a taxi down to the starting point.

The ferry departed at 5.30 pm and sunset came really quickly. Erika thought it was a shame, but I kind of like the evening lights and the skyline all lit up.

The Dubai canal is 3,2 km long and it winds its way to the Arabian Gulf from the Creek in Old Dubai, through Business Bay.
This new path have effectively turned a significant part of Dubai into an island!

One of the more spectacular features along the canal is the mechanical waterfall cascading off the Sheikh Zayed Road bridge. The water only flows in the evening, and it's motion operated, which means that it "opens like a curtain" each time a boat passes.

We got off the RTA ferry here and took a stroll along the walkway. Like everybody else we stopped for a few selfies in front of the purple waterfall, and we discovered, that if you would be out of battery - the lampposts have USB charging stations in them, so you can charge your phone for all those snaps!

Our cruise took about 1,5 hour and it was really enjoyable to sail along the creek. Great value for money and a fantastic views of the skyline and Burj Khalifa.
The waterfall was amazing!

There are five pedestrian bridges available here, allowing visitors to cross and take in the stunning views. One of the bridges on the Canal is inspired by the Golden Gate bridge of San Fransisco. It's the blue bridge far far away in this photo, the one with the blue arc.

Here is a small clip of how the water stops, when a boat approaches: