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A day in Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

I wrote this morning about the immigration process, so I’ll go on from there.

Given the poor weather I stayed on the ship until lunchtime. I then took the shuttle bus (as usual), which once again goes to – a mall. (The ‘Abu Dhabi’ mall). This is quite close to the main downtown area, albeit not in the newest part. The journey took barely 15 minutes, so much quicker than in Dubai or Manama.

Like Dubai, Abu Dhabi covers a vast area. It’s about 9 miles from the mall to the Sheikh Zayed mosque, which was my target. I decided to try the taxis – everyone says they are the way to get around. There are buses, and of course they are much cheaper, but apparently the bus journey from the mall area to the mosque takes an hour or more, so a taxi it was. This did the journey in about 15 or 20 minutes, I think, and cost 55 Dhs. I spent a very pleasant hour or so at the mosque – it really is stunning.

After that I went to the Emirates Palace Hotel, another landmark building, again by taxi. It cost 50 Dhs, and took maybe just 15 minutes or so.

And the hotel? Well, if the mosque is all about ethereal beauty then the hotel is about opulence. Very impressive, and the management encourage visitors. I’m not sure how much I’d like that if I’d paid 380Dhs for Afternoon Tea for two, and found myself gawked at…. I was just observing, not gawking, of course.

When I’d gawked enough – sorry, observed enough – I started walking towards and then along the Corniche. This was great – I walked along the beach and then the promenade, and I had a snack in a beach-side cafè. I really enjoyed the brisk on-shore breeze and the sight and sound of the sea. And it was mainly sunny, too (as it had been all afternoon, to be fair.)

Eventually I decided I’d walked enough, found another taxi, and was soon back at the mall. A shuttle bus turned up immediately, set off just a few minutes later, and reached the ship in under 15 minutes.

So my experience with the taxis was very positive. They really do seem to be the easiest way of getting around. Recommended.

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