The Tomcat has been to Dubai before when another friend of ours lived here so I thought we would do something different and head to Abu Dhabi for the second day of her whirlwind tour. One major advantage of driving is being able to do spontaneous things like that. The journey to Abu Dhabi is pretty straightforward and not wildly exciting though the desert is pretty impressive. On the drive we had a classic moment of ‘Dubai Driving’ when the car in front suddenly slowed down dramatically. We both thought that maybe the driver had collapsed so I pulled up next to him to make sure there was nothing wrong…we both burst out laughing, the guy was casually eating a burger while driving with his knees hence the sudden slow down!! Only in Dubai would that happen!
Typically with all the chatting that went on I missed the exit for the Grand Mosque which was the main purpose of our trip…Luckily we saw signs for the Corniche and so decided we would go there and tick off two landmarks. It was only as we drove towards the Corniche that we realised we weren’t quite sure what we were looking for. It turned out it was the sea front and it was really rather lovely, the sea in Abu Dhabi is far bluer than Dubai for some reason. We considered walking around it but it was a tad too hot in the middle of the day to brave it.
Soon we spotted signs for Presidential Palace and Emirates Palace Hotel so I decided to add those to the tour. Presidential Palace is pretty impressive, you can’t get very close but you do get a good view of the HUGE gates. Then we went to Emirates Palace (if you watched SATC 2 then this is the hotel they are supposedly staying in – actually the UAE refused to let them film here an so the movie is shot in Morocco!) Once we had explored and spotted a lovely restaurant we agreed that this seemed as good a spot as any for lunch. We were lucky to get a table in the restaurant with a view over the sea while we indulged in yet another brilliant buffet. Toms was most amused by the gold bar dispensing machine we saw on the way out and couldn’t believe such a thing existed. They are actually all over the place here!
Emirates Palace is renowned for being one of the most luxurious hotels in the world and it did not disappoint. The food was delicious with a wide variety of options. A highlight for me was the celeriac soup which was yummy. They also had my favourite cheese ‘tete de moine’ so I was very happy to have that! The cakes were all delicious too and the chocolate custard pot was to die for. It was really good value for money and I am very keen to go back!
Having had our luxury lunch we decided it really was time to go to the Grand Mosque, after the sat nav directed us to an entirely different mosque we eventually found the one we were looking for. The Grand Mosque is truly an amazing place, there is a sense of peace there that even as a non-Muslim you can really appreciate. The architecture is amazing, it’s vast for one thing and it’s all white with amazing inlaid marble and chandeliers and stained glass and embroidered carpets. Honestly I have now been three times and it never ceases to impress. You have to wear an abaya to enter which my friend found hilarious because they are sooooo long that I can’t walk without tripping! I was so glad we made the effort to go because Tomcat loved it and got some amazing photos too and we even managed to watch the sunset over it as we drove away.
The drive back to Dubai was uneventful until the arrival at Dubai Mall where we had to face the challenge of parking! Imagine my delight on finding three spaces free so I could easily park and right by waitrose too – a total win. We meandered around a bit and looked at some shops before finding our way to the fountains. We got a spot right by the front and so were close enough to be splashed by the dancing fountains who performed to an Arabic piece of music. We both really enjoyed it, I think it’s impossible not to love them to be honest.
On our way back to the car we stopped for an all important Sephora splurge, we both went a bit mad and Tomcat treated me to some lovely pressies which was excessively generous and kind of her! Having destocked Sephora we headed to Waitrose to get snacks to eat while watching rugby. She died laughing at the ‘Pork Room’ which to be fair is pretty funny! We grabbed sausage rolls and pork pies and some crisps and dips before heading off to watch the Rugger with Bond and his best friend. I think those English reading will agree it’s best to gloss over the Rugby which was the only downer to the weekend.
I felt quite bereft when my buddy left on Sunday morning and I was perhaps not quite my usual cheerful self at work. Still she messaged me today to say she is trying to persuade the other girls to do a group trip which will be amazing! Something to look forward to for sure!!