Sunday, November 10, 2013

Dubai, UAE

Hi there! Last week I had a week off, and as I told you in my previous post, my mom and I went to Dubai for a few days! We drove to the Netherlands Saturday and Sunday evening our plane departed from Schiphol. We had booked our flight pretty last minute and were quite lucky to still get tickets. Surprisingly, for some odd reason, we were Premium Comfort Class, we had not booked this and have no idea how this happened but it sure was nice, haha! (Also our hotel was more luxurious than we had expected, for instance we had a mirror in the bathroom which was heated so it wouldn't condense... We had a massive room with a separate kitchen and living room. But hey I ain't complaining!). We landed Monday morning and left Friday morning. Despite having only three full days, I think we saw quite a lot of Dubai.

Monday morning we arrived at our hotel at around 8am. We were really tired, under the influence of jet lag, and therefore took a short nap. At noon we went out to discover the city. Our hotel was located in the modern part of Dubai, Internet City, and we took the metro to the rather poorer part. We walked around for hours there, enjoying the sun and getting "attacked" by dozens of salesmen wanting to sell their "real" Louis Vuitton, Prada or Gucci handbags, if not watches or shoes. The poorer areas, Deira and Bur Dubai, really differ from the richer areas like Jumeirah and Dubai Marina. The rich areas are filled with skyscrapers and everything is neat and tidy. In the poorer areas however, people try to make a living by selling cheap products to the several tourists who pass by. There weren't a lot of tourists at all in those areas, but in places like Jumeirah there was no one but tourists.

View from our hotel

Tuesday morning we went up the Burj Khalifa, the highest building in the world. The view from up there, about 800 meters high up, is truly incredible! Going up to the second level on the Eiffel Tower I already felt like I was quite high up, but now that just seems like nothing! Afterwards we went to The Dubai Mall, the largest mall in the world, in which they have the second biggest aquarium in the world. (it even has a snow hall?) (In Dubai they tried to make everything the largest, biggest, highest, and most expensive..!). After our brief visit to the mall, we went back to Bur Dubai. Again we walked around a lot, and also visited some souqs. And again, every 2 meters someone asked us whether we wanted to buy one of his pure cashmere/wool/silk shawls. A few times they put a Keffiyeh on our heads, persuaded us to take photos with it and then dragged us into their little store. Most of those shops in the souqs were filled with shawls from India and also owned by Indians, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, etc. It's pretty interesting how there are so many different nationalities in Dubai, it seemed like the biggest part of the population were Indians, and in general you saw a lot more foreigners than locals.
When the sun was about the set, we went for a short boat tour on the Creek, which was really beautiful! The Sunset was just amazing!
At night there are water fountain shows in front of the Burj Khalifa. After the boat tour we quickly went back to the Burj Khalifa to see the show (but it turned out there are shows every 30 minutes). The fountains were massive and it was really pretty to see!

It was hard to get a photo of the entire tower, this is the best I could do... haha

The Creek

Wednesday we went to The Dubai Museum, which is situated in the restored Al Fahidi Fort. In here you can see a traditional house, lots of small scenes with Bedouins and they also explain how the modernization of Dubai over the last 80 years. Later we visited the Heritage and Diving Villages. We went inside the Sheikh Saeed Al-Maktoum House, where you could see lots of different things. Old coins, photographs, documents, and typical Arab rooms. In the afternoon we went to Deira, walked through more souqs, gold souqs, textile souqs, etc, and yet again, dozens of men came up to us asking, no, persuading, us to buy their items. Again we went during sunset on the same boat trip, I suppose you get the hint of how pretty it was! :)

Heritage House

The only camel we saw!

Textile souq

New buddy

These are small chocolates believe it or not

Gold souq

Thursday we decided to explore the modern parts of Dubai. We decided to walk from our hotel to the monorail station, a metro which goes to Palm City, where Atlantis is situated as well. That walk though, I would definitely not recommend. First of all we were walking quite a bit in the burning sun, and second of all, there are roadworks going on at a lot of places, which prevents you from crossing the road, and trust me, it was a disaster getting to the monorail station! But the trip with the monorail and the visit to Atlantis is really nice though! The houses on the arms of the Palm are so beautiful, they and are all situated on the beach and, for me, those would definitely be dream houses! If you are not staying at the hotel or visiting the water park, there is not a lot to do besides shopping in expensive stores or having lunch, but it is definitely still worth a visit! Later we went to Jumeirah, visited more souqs, the Burj Al Arab and took photos with it like real tourists, haha :D. In the afternoon we went to Dubai Marina, this time we took a bus, however the bus didn't go to Dubai Marina directly, so we ended up walking a huge distance again...
Somehow we ended up taking boat tours at every sunset. This time we took a small ferryboat, which sailed past Palm City again. You got a really magnificent view of the skyline of Dubai Marina and the sunset was absolutely gorgeous as well! See for yourself below :).


Burj Al Arab

Pretty building

Dubai Marina


Gorgeous sunset, please take me back!

Dubai is definitely worth visiting once in your lifetime, it is so different from other countries. I think it's a beautiful city and I look forward to visiting other emirates from the UAE!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Normandy and Paris, France

Hi there! I know I am yet again so late with this post, and for that, my apologies... I was waiting for Odile's photos, but it is taking quite a while and so I decided to just add them when I receive them. So at the end of last month, I went to France for a week, along with Odile and Charlotte. Every year I visit my dad (and donkey) there, who has a farmhouse in a small village in Normandy.
The days mostly consisted of relaxing in the field with my donkey. We went to the local market in L'Aigle, where they sell livestock. (There were so many cute animals such as rabbits, I nearly took one home with me...). We also went cycling, we cycled to the nearest town, Sainte Gauburge, and just going around and about. On Wednesday we went to Paris for the day. First we had lunch at La Tour Eiffel, and afterwards we went shopping in La Defense. In the evening we met up with my half sister Delphine, and had supper at a Chinese restaurant together.
We basically spent most of our time with my donkey, grooming him and going for short walks. I already miss that donkey so much!

My fattie 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Oslo, Norway | Part III

Here it is, the final part of my 10-day journey through Scandinavia with my mom!

Det Kongelige Slott
Joe and the juice, mmmm

Akershus Fortress
Frozen Yogurt @Deli de Luca

After a 5 and a half hour train journey we arrived in Oslo. We dropped of our luggage at the hotel, and right away went to walk around Oslo. We walked to the palace, which was under construction, so the photos aren't too pretty with lots of trucks parked infront of it, haha! Then we walked to the harbour, everything looked very new and so expensive...! The day was already nearly over, we just went to Joe and the juice, which we also had seen in Copenhagen already, and had a delicious smoothie there! 
The next day we started off by going to the National Gallery of Norway, where they have lots of pieces by Munch. This museum I did enjoy going to, yes, surprisingly I can enjoy museums, as long as I don't have to stay there for hours and hours... :) Apr├Ęs we went to the Akershus Fortress / Castle, where you could go inside and see all sorts of treasury. You can see the fort on one of the photos above, taken from the local ferry.
Afterwards we went to the harbour again. My mom really wanted to do a small boat trip, but since all the tours for tourists were rather long and expensive, we decided to go on the local ferry. It took us to a peninsula, where we then walked around a bit. On this peninsula there mostly are massive and beautiful houses from the residents.
A few hours left of our day in Oslo, we had seen most of the touristic places already, and so we decided to quickly have a look in two shops in which I had been dying to go in to since we had arrived in Scandinavia, BikBok and Gina Tricot. Despite not being able to buy much, I did find a top in Gina Tricot and a pair of pants in BikBok, happy meee! :)))

Just before heading back to our hotel we went to Deli de Luca, where we enjoyed some frozen yogurt, my mom had never tried it before, but she sure did love it!
When the sun was setting and we were just sitting in our hotel room, my mom was still very eager to go for another boat trip. So we went back to the harbour once more and hopped on the local ferry, which went to the peninsula again. This time we didn't even get off, just to and fro! I didn't particulary find it very special, but my mom sure did and I am glad. :)

The next morning we took a train back to Copenhagen, where we stayed one more night, and then took our final train back to Almelo. And our journey came to an end. I had a really nice time in the three capital cities, and I am sure I will go back there multiple times! I hope you all are having a nice holiday as well! xo

Apologies for some photos not being very sharp, I brought my camera with me, but I only used my iPhone, I find it much easier and faster ... :)