piatok 27. mája 2016

City built on sand & Zayed Grand Mosque

City built on sand

After visiting Doha in Qatar i did not think that i will be so excited about to visit UAE. nothing against those countries but huge modern buildings built on sand with the highest level of social being has never been anywhere near my travel radar. 

My friend´s sister wanted to have a little hen party before she get married so we choose this destination. in May there are a lot of sales in malls. We dropped by A LOT of places— and by dropped by I mean we visited a lot of places but some only quite briefly— though it was enough for me to easily tell you which locations were my favorites. we spent there only 4 days and we saw a lot. I never seen some people walking around like we were. Non stop on feet. We walked like hundreds kilometers because we wanted to see everything what was possible.  
Madinat souk

The city runs along the coastline and is easily navigated by the main 14 lane road known as Sheikh Zayed Road. Starting in Deira, known as old Dubai you can see how Dubai used to be. Next is Downtown Dubai where most tourists spend all their money and time shopping. Further on is the man-made Palm Jumeriah Island and the Marina. The metro runs along the road all the way and it is quite cheap.
My favorite part of the town are souks. We found one by mistake. Usually I am intuitive explorer. I am going whenever I want however I want where I feel "power" who leads me there :) no maps needed. 

To be honest, I saw in distance Burj Al Arab so I wanted to see this luxury "boat" hotel, and close to it is Souk Madinat Jumeirah. It combines traditional Middle Eastern shopping culture of stands, barrows and stalls with a mix of boutique brands, home accessory stores, souvenir gift shops. All Souk Madinat Jumeirah restaurants and cafés have picture perfect views of the Arabian architecture, waterways or the iconic Burj Al Arab. 

The Palm. You know it, man made island what looks like palm tree. It has 16  palm leaves, 8 on each side. There are houses, apartments, hotels...Luxurious hotel called Atlantis is located at the apex of Palm Jumeirah. What comes into your mind when you hear the word Atlantis? Submerged ruins? Lost civilization? The fictional island from Plato's work?

To get there from the city, you have to take the Palm monorail. Next to Atlantis is Aquaventure park. Amazing. According to very strong sun I felt quite dizzy and I did not enjoyed it. 

I am the biggest hater of shopping malls. I do not like crowded spaces, lot of people, stress...but...we have to. because the entry to the highest building in the world was from the Dubai mall and it was really hustle to find it. However everybody told me that there are big signs along the shopping mall and I can not missed it. I am not good at finding right direction. Thanks to my VIP card to the all towers what belong to the world federation of the great towers I did not wait any single minutes in this 500 meters long crowd of people. I have no idea about price of the ticket. I just came to the guy and showed him a ticket and he immediately took me to the first place, give me ticket and showed me the elevator.


View from the TOP

Once you are at the top, on 124th floor, you can fully enjoy the stunning view from the tallest building in the world. The observation deck is not very spacious, and when there are more people, it may be crowded. You can spend as much time as you want there, take some pics. Hope you will be lucky and have clear sky. I came up when sunset started. From the top you can see and hear clearly on Dubai Fountain and then you will understand, why is it biggest fountain in the world.

Very heart - touching experience. 

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

It took my breath away. It was really amazing, literally brilliantly BEAutiful. So precious monument. Before the entrance women are asked to wear traditional clothes called abaya and headscarf. No shoes are allowed, so you have to walk along barefooted. It is so hot that really never mind that you do not have a shoes. Holding hands and kissing is disrespectful and also women and men can not take a picture together. There is no entry fee to visit this BEAUTY.
Interesting facts about mosque:
  • the carpet in the hall is the largest carpet in the world
  • the largest chandelier in the mosque is the third largest in thw world. There are seven chandeliers containing  Swarowski crystals.
  • there are 96 columns in main prayer hall made by marble and pearl

total feeling: oriental :) and HOT, but it costs for 4 days only 250,-eur -flight plus accommodation  in Shangri-la hotel. 

štvrtok 5. mája 2016

Paris vs. Barcelona

Sounds impossible? Not at all.

Well the trip started at the Bratislava airport 5.5.2016 at 11:00. (Flight was delayed again) Few days before I realized that I booked a quite cheap flight and I didn't know why... soo the thing was- airport. Beauvais airport is 75 minutes far away from Paris. Return ticket airport- Paris- airport costs 34 eur. Bus takes you to the Port Maillot where you can take a metro or bus or whatever you want. Honestly I was couple of time in Paris before but I have not used so many times metro like I did this trip.

So quick look at the map and go to hotel which was not far away from Montparnasse tower what belongs to world federation of great tower, and Eiffel tower as well. So two towers within one day.

Change clothes, take a sip from bottle of wine and ready to go.

Montparnasse- thanks to VIP card, I had a free entry to the top of the Paris. (more about the tower in blog WFGT) nice view. Unique central viewpoint in Paris allows you to see all of the city with a stunning 40 km meters of visibility on clear days and also the Eifel tower which is right in front of you.

Take a taxi and direction to Gustave´s iron work. The Eiffel Tower will glitter for 5 minutes on every hour after sunset. It was a beautiful sight to behold. Many people would believe that Paris is the most romantic city in the world. Do you think so too?

Personally, I did not think so.... The French are very protective of their language and communication is a problem. They are rude, unfriendly and arrogant especially so when you don't speak their language..

I re-visited Eiffel Tower and I did no queue for many hours to go to the top as those people who were there like whole day. I know this is like a super romantic place but I just felt like seeing Eiffel Tower. It is not uncommon to see lovey-dovey couples.

The Eiffel Tower looks ordinary during the day but it is a dazzling beauty when it is lit up at night. Eiffel Tower sparkle for 5 minutes every hour from 10p.m. (I guess, I lost sense of time in Paris) It was so beautiful and I really wish someone would propose to me under Eiffel Tower with a big fat diamond ring one day. *Dream on, Bea..*

All around were people sitting on grass, talking, playing, singing... I was hungry, tired...so heading to hotel. There are still few hour left for exploring.

New day new beginnings, new expectation, new energy.... 12 000 steps were used for this few hours of exploring towers and surroundings.

And on Friday 15 000 steps. It starts spiritually ....Notre Dame with the story of hunchback who fascinate people all around the world. Nevertheless, the most important factor that leads to the worldwide fame of this Cathedral is its French Gothic architecture, an example of architecture perfection. It is real beauty with the power and some kind of magic energy.

After this magical experience, my way leads to Louvre... way went though some monuments like Palais de justice, tribunal de Grande instance, pont au Change and all the way down to Louvre.

I visited Louvre two times already. It was really nice experience. But this time I wasn't able to stand in the crowed. Sun was up and strong. Weather nice. The best decision was to take a nap in park with some snack next to Louvre.

I was thinking what to see next, because of lack of the time. There were only 4 hours left. So let's go to boulevard de Clichy. Have never been inside in Moulin Rouge. So maybe next time.

I walked along the boulevard and then turned to left and went up in "sky" to mont Mantre. Climb or ride the cable car up the hill to the Basilique du Sacré-Coeur de Montmartre. Built to cure the country's spiritual ills in the face of military defeat at the hands of Germany, the basilica expresses a singular faith in beauty's power to move. From the steps outside, amidst hawkers and buskers, the city succumbs to countless daubs of gray in the dusk. Few steps away is Place du Tetre packed with colorful artists' stalls, it shows the creative spirit of Montmartre. Visitors will find all kinds of painters, portraitists, and caricaturists, although much of the work is designed to be tourist souvenirs. The square is also lined with busy restaurants. Many places have outdoor seating, allowing tourists to soak up the atmosphere. Even when packed with tourists, the Place du Tertre does not lose its charm.

Well, it is time to go... buy champagne and enjoy the ride to BEAUVIS airport and flight to Barcelona.

Nevertheless, I am really grateful for the wonderful weather Paris has given me.

Even if it is cloudy, Barca is lovely or 40 000 steps along Barcelona

My beloved Barca. My loveliest city in Europe.

My first visit to Barcelona was in 2012. I fell in love with the city: the street performers, food, lifestyle, history, and people. And every time I come back, Barcelona surprises and inspires me anew.

I feel a good energy when I am here. It was a quite a hustle to get to apartment from airport Girona to Barca. Apartment was near the Camp nou. That was the reason! I wanted to see the match again. MY third time at Camp nou. Amazing atmosphere. Love it! Ilove all kind of sports, I love to practice them but also I am a passive athlete as well and love to be part of it as an audience. I like Spanish football, their passion and temper. And in my humble opinion quality of football and tactical aspect LA liga is far better than premier league. ...no offence!

For the first time I was surprised with landlord of flat. I love to use Airbnb. It has never disappointed me. But now... little bit. I was shocked. I thought it will be whole flat "rented". Not that flat is shared. It was strictly forbidden to take a shower and make some noise after 10pm. whatever. Nothing can change my mind and experience from this town.

After quick breakfast. I took a metro and went to see Sagrada familia. It is always "must" when I am there. Weather was quite wrong, cloudy and rainy. Barcelona´s metro is very easy and not so busy.

Next station is Collserola tower. Getting lost is my hobby, but no worries it was not that bad even when my Spanish is poor and Spanish people don't speak English. I really do not know how but finally I get off from the bus and see funny train up to hill called funicular. It is a line which connects some small square with amusement park Tibidabo and church Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor. It allows you to travel back in time enjoying the view of Barcelona until you reach the top. I did know about ít personally... my target was go up and find the Tower. Nice surprise, top view. I did not try any of attractions because of weather but I enjoyed the scenery of my beloved Barcelona.

When you walk down little bit you will reach the entrance to Collserola tower. Probably best place to see the nice view of Barcelona (more about tower in WFGT blogs).

On the way down, there were creating another idea in my head. Go to Park de Guell... but only for a quick look. I felt to tired and to hungry. I have always been a fan of Gaudí. La Sagrada famillia, Casa Batlo and La Pedrera... and I am still exploring the places with my mouth half open in awe. If you ever go to Barcelona, make sure to visit at least one of his creation. I promise it will be great experience.

So let´s eat paella and drink some beer and sleep, because tomorrow is the Match.

Well, I did not buy tickets in advance at La liga match, so in the morning I made quick walk around the Camp nou where already stared all preparation for match an bought tickets. Street sellers started to "built" their stands with all souvenirs and goods. As I already wrote, I love to be part of such a big sport event and Barcelona is my favorite football club. It is entertaining to watch Barcelona play and B is the Best letter among alphabets´ letters J La Liga match FC Barcelona and RDC Espanyol started at 17:00 and finished around 19:00. Almost 100 000 people in one place. Fantastic! I had to go to bed because the alarm clocked was set up at 2:00. Flight from Girona airport was at 7:00 but it was again hustle to get there.

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