The last week of our holiday was spent in Venice and Dubai. The former we had visited previously and were looking forward to revisiting, the latter chosen purely because it is a stopover on the long way home. It was however a very pleasant surprise and an interesting place to visit. There were four of us, all friends from Bendigo.
Venice did not disappoint. La Serenissima is a wonderful holiday destination with history, art (and water) everywhere one looks. The most popular tourist activity seems to be getting lost! Google maps copes only so well with the narrow street and alley ways. In the three days we went to the Venice Biennale, and among other things admired the new Australian pavilion and the wonderful photographs by Tracey Moffatt. Another favourite pavilion was the Russian exhibition. We visited the Peggy Guggenheim Collection, went on a food walking tour (that’s our excuse for drinking prosecco and Aperol Spritz before noon) and generally wandered around Venice. We also met up with some fellow travellers from the Amber Road Croatia tour.
A six hour flight from Venice saw us arrive in Dubai. We arrived at the Hyatt Regency just before midnight and were pleased to be upgraded to a suite. The suite was larger than many houses and had a wonderful view of the city lights! We had a busy two days in Dubai, which is literally a city built from nothing in the desert after oil was discovered in the late 1960s. We had a boat ride along the coast and into the Dubai Creek which gave us a good view of the towering city skyline.
We were told by a taxi driver that the favourite game in Dubai is construction and he was sure right. There are new hotels and other buildings being constructed everywhere and cranes fill the skyline. We were informed that 500 more hotels will be built before Expo 2020 comes to the city.
The first night we went on the obligatory desert tour. We were all disappointed in this trip. Riding over the sand dunes was fun, the dates were delicious and probably authentic Emirati food, but after that it was merely a show for tourists. There was however a fantastic male dancer in the style of the Whirling Dervishes. Again not an traditional Emirati dance but very skillful and entertaining.
The second day we hit pay dirt when we went on a four hour Wander with Nada. Nada is a young Jordanian woman who has spent most of her life in Dubai and knows the city and its cultures well. She took us to the Women’s Museum, the gold Souk, a spice shop and Little India. The tour finished up at a restaurant in the older part of the city where we enjoyed a tasty meal with our fellow wanderers from New Zealand. If you are thinking of stopping over in Dubai we cannot recommend Nada highly enough. www.wanderwithnada.com/public-tours
The last afternoon we visited one of the famous malls. As far as shopping goes we could have been at Chadstone or most other large city malls, however what distinguished the Dubai Mall was the three storey high aquarium and the indoor waterfall.
Our last night we had a delicious dinner at the revolving restaurant at our hotel. It was a wonderful way to finish a great holiday. Flight QF10 took us all the way to Melbourne in the relative comfort on Premium Economy.
The same clothes kept on being on rotation. Pink, grey and denim are colours I will avoid for a while! On the plus side I came home with several new scarves, a leather bag from Venice, some more jewellery and some clothes purchased in Belgium and Croatia.
Now we are home to our own comfortable bed, lots of weeds in the garden and the roses in full bloom.
Next holiday will be Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos in January and February next year.