a surprising road trip
Hi Poppackers ... here we are! Back from our week in the United Arab Emirates that you followed on social networks. Today we want to share with our review of the UAE, a trip born as a way to go to the sea during winter time and to discover cities in the spotlights ad Abu Dhabi and Dubai, looking for traces of the Bedouin culture that has always lived in the Arabic Peninsula.
Actually this week turned out to be one of the most interesting trips of our life from a cultural point of view, because Abu Dhabi and Dubai skyscrapers hide a country that is very distant from our lifestyle and culture.
Abu Dhabi and Dubai - metropolis in the making
Sobriety, surely, is not the word that best describes tue cities like Abu Dhabi and Dubai where everything is so huge, sometimes too much, starting from the distance among the various attractions. We can't say that these are objectively beautiful cities because of the lack of element like a real historic centre or nice residential neighborhoods.
However, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are interesting cities that attract people who love modern architecture thanks to shining skylines ( the Burj Khalifa area is simply amazing at night ) and eccentric buildings ( Burj al Arab in Dubai or the Viceroy in Abu Dhabi ). However the Bedouin identity is still present in the Heritage Villages, in the lively souks of Bur Dubai and in the architecture of some new malls.
Sea is surely a plus. It is wonderful in the morning when water is turquoise and crystal-clear ... the white and infinite Saadyiat Island Public Beach in Abu Dhabi deserves the "Best Beach" Award of our holiday.
The "vision" of the future is the most interesting thing of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. They are metropolis in the making, where great plans to create new urban and cultural areas are in progress ... in particular the Saadyiat Island's one, where great architects are developing a wonderful district made of great museums ( Louvre and Guggenheim ), residential and shopping areas.
A special mention goes to the Abu Dhabi Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an astonishing, magnificent and unforgettable opera where you can spend easily some hours admiring its males, its decorations, its aracades and its gardens ... truly special!
Sharjah - a surprise
Likely few people in Europe know about the existence of the city/Emirate of Sharjah, few kilometers far from Dubai, but this is city was one of the great surprise of our road trip. Modern and tidy, Sharjah is considered to be the arabic cultural capital with its museums, mosques and Middle Eastern architecture ( Central Suk is amazing ).
Walking along the Khalid Lake Trail to get to the Al Majaz Waterfront together with many girls and local families is truly pleasant, relaxing and shows that moderate Islam exists and it knows how to be welcoming.
not only modernity
" A nation without a past is a nation without a present or a future"
Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
UAE are more than just Abu Dhabi and Dubai, they are more than just business, skyscrapers and malls. You can discover it when you leave the coast going to the inland where you find chaotic towns full of stalls and tailors, where you find camel souqs and fishing trips, where you find hundreds-year-old mosques and forts ...
Not only Sharjah, but also Al Ain represents the capital of these traditional UAE. Al Ain is a city that survives in the desert and that has preserved its historical traditions made of forts, oases and tailors selling kandura and abaya, the traditional dresses for men and women.
musandam peninsula and rub al khali - wonderful nature
Desert red dunes are always an enchanting view and the Rub' al Khali ones will keep you company for many kilometers along UAE roads flanking the highways before giving space to the Hajar Mountains rough and arid ridges that separate UAE from Oman. In Oman these Hajar Mountains create the beautiful Musandam Peninsula where you can find fjords, dolphins, sunsets and beautiful landscapes! It is just 200 kilometers from Dubai ... you can't miss it!
As you can see UAE are a country that can offer you an intense and extremely interesting experience despite the lack of famous attractions. It also helps to overcome many prejudices teaching a lot about the Arabian culture and development.
Have you ever been in the UAE ? Tell us what you think about this country!