24.05.2012 - 26.05.2012 42 °C
Etihad, to their credit, tried hard to make friends with us again. The flight was good, but the sleep was horrible (like they all are on planes), but probably amplified by the actual shortness of the night (about 5 hours of darkness) - throwing our body clock out of sync. The wall of hot, dry air as soon as we left the airport on shocked us awake though... it was already in excess of 40 degrees by 8.30am!!!
Arriving at our hotel - the Fairmont Bab Al Bahr - at 9am, we were still able to check in immediately. Wow, what a fantastic hotel. Our room has a view out towards the Shiekh Zayed Mosque, the largest mosque in the UAE. The hotel is superb - a beach, pools, 2 bars, 4 restaurants, and all the 5 star trimmings you would expect.
A shower and morning tea at The Chocolate Gallery, Renae soon heads off shopping at one of the city's large malls, while Tim headed off to Ferrariworld (possibly a little over-rated) and the Yas Marina F1 circuit. The haze from the desert sand sweeping cross the UAE was intensifying, and soon many buildings - certainly those on the horizon - were lost from view.
After the near sleepless flight, and needing some relaxation, the afternoon was spent bck at the hotel we were able to catch Queensland's superb Origin victory in HD and ad-free (unfortunately, not Gus Gould free). The haze started to clear (slightly) as the wind dropped, but the 42 degree heat still saw the swimming pool call us.
As day turned to night, the pool side drinks turned into dinner at Frankie Dettori's restaurant... wow. Stunning. Probably the best meals we have ever eaten.
Our second (and last) day in Abu Dhabi followed a similar pattern... the morning spent at the Emirates Palace - an over extravagant hotel, where we indulged in lunch finished with gold flaked topped cappuccinos. Yum.
'The' sight of Abu Dhabi however is the Grand Mosque (the Shiekh Zayed Mosque), and we timed our visit perfectly to miss all the tour buses. Wow, what an amazing building. The mosque is huge - large enough to hold over 40,000 worshippers (at least 7,000 of these just inside the main prayer hall alone). The mosque is so ornately decorated too... crystal chandeliers, marble columns containing pearl in lays, gold finishes and other precious stones line many of the surfaces. It was definitely an experience we both enjoyed.
Sightseeing over, a quick session at the fitness club is followed up with a few hours recuperating in the swimming pool, and rehydrating with cocktails at the swim up bar. We looked around and took in the view over our beach towards the Grand Mosque and watched as the sun set behind a hazy horizon.
What a fantastic, relaxing way to end our last full day on holiday. So here is this blog. Our final hours in the UAE before we are homeward bound. It has been an amazing trip... Dubai, Morocco, Spain, France and Abu Dhabi... 38 days and a lifetime of memories.
We're looking forward to coming home though, and catching up with our friends. Most importantly, we're looking forward to picking up Misha and Bella, we've missed them heaps.