Abu Dhabi – Days 270-273

We were on our way to Jordan for the next leg of our trip. When booking our flight from Thailand, we realized we could add a stopover in Abu Dhabi for a pittance. This would be one of the best decisions of the trip as I loved our 3-night stopover. The city is clean, the waterfront is landscaped, and they have beautiful sidewalks and walking paths. With Ramadan commencing, the city had a different vibe and the children had plenty of questions about fasting. It provided quite the contrast to our last week in Bangkok.

There were plenty of things to do in Abu Dhabi but we wanted to stay in our lanes and not do too much. Ferrari World and the Warner Brothers Amusement Park would make the cut. It also meant no visiting Dubai just an hour down the road. That will all have to wait for another time when we aren’t crunched for time or money. Despite the constraints, we still managed to fit in two spectacular sites, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

We had forgotten what queues were and were brought back to reality at the Grand Mosque. Because so little was planned, we obtained tickets at the mosque itself (you can preselect a time slot online and save some time). We then queued for 40 minutes to pass the attire check and then the security check. After that, it was a decent amount of walking from the visitor centre where we followed the masses through the marked walking path around the site. We had heard there were guided tours, but those were on the hour (which we missed). In retrospect, I have no idea how useful it would have been as there were hundreds of people walking the grounds and a tour would have been “difficult”. Instead we opted to spend our time watching tourists do “stupid things”. One crossed the obvious velvet rope (it was impossible to not see the bright red robe against the white marble that was everywhere). Another goofball moved a family out of the way to strike a pose, pretending there were alone at the mosque in quiet contemplation. But my favourite were the Westerners who would remove their hair coverings after passing the security check upsetting many pilgrims. Sorry, I digress. Somehow the kids lasted the hour and the walking and the heat. It was tough to keep them on track as the expansive open areas kept enticing them to cross the crimson rope!

The next day we went to a different and equally visually impressive site, the Louvre Abu Dhabi. Seriously check the pictures online as the images are not photoshopped, the building is that impressive! We probably could have spent the entire time taking pictures of us with the white walls, silver lattice work and turquoise waters. But there was a museum to explore and since we arrived right at the opening, we didn’t have to battle any crowds. There was a children’s section of the museum where we spent most of the time. It was an exhibit on emotions with Julie being Happy with the displays and Isabella Angry at the displays. We walked the adult-oriented collections but were distracted by the Turtle sanctuary on the grounds. Yep, our family’s favourite part of the Louvre Abu Dhabi was the rehabilitation centre for injured sea turtles. They have a “pool” where the turtles live in about 2 ft of water. Naturalists were cleaning and feeding the animals and there was a lifeguard supervising the whole thing. But seriously, the water didn’t go above the naturalist’s waist! And how many museums have a lifeguard?

Up next is Jordan where the kids will meet up with some friends their own age and explore the desert in earnest.

Where we stayed:

By the numbers:

  • Postcards mailed from Abu Dhabi: 6 – at major sites they have prepaid postcards tourists can fill out and send – not sure if anyone actually got theirs yet
  • Number of taxis we rode: 9 – probably more than anywhere on our trip
  • Playgrounds we played at: 3 – I was happy to see kid-friendly infrastructure again
  • McDonalds eaten at: 1 – I had to get the McArabia for old time’s sake
  • Score out of 10 for the McArabia: 4 – I remember it tasting better 15 years ago

Ciao for now,


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