Africa, Countries, Culture

Our return to Africa and the Middle East

They’re the cradles of civilisations our modern metropolises still aspire to… and we’re planning our return to Africa and the Middle East.

The grand old cities of Jerusalem and Petra.

Spanning across the ages, one a living museum, the other a Modern Wonder of the World, they have rightly been honoured.

Ten out of ten

Camel ye: To Petra

In Travel + Leisure’s 10 Best Cities in Africa and the Middle East.

Jerusalem I have seen longingly, like Moses, from atop Mount Nebo on my G Adventures odyssey.

Petra, I have stood up close to, by a camel, whose ancestor would have carried a Nabataean in days of yore.

With divining rods for water to trade for the jewels of the desert… the Nalbataean that is.

At the other end of the spectrum, Tel Aviv shows Israel’s modern face.

Now being of the male variety, and so a listaholic, most rolls of honour fall into my remit.

Heroes in Capes

I’d have to see more of Cape Town than just the airport as I did on the way to the Eastern Cape

And would have had Covid not popped its head up as we were puttImg the final touches  to our trip to Napoleon’s island, St Helena.

The old perennials naturally pop up on the list.

Marrakech, the Pink City, was my first port of entry into Africa. 

And, of course, you can’t hold a whole continent against one country for an experience.

Of getting mugged in the souks and food poisoning in the Sahara.

So that the best experience of Morocco was in the airport back in Fez.

Although the good readers of Travel +
Leisure also have a penchant for the Moroccan port of Essaouira.

I’ll take your word for it.

Gulf in class

Where as a memento I brought back a camel scene handbag for my Dear Old Mum which she flashed around her Bridge club.

The Gulf has also been on the radar with visits from Dubair and Muscat delegations during my time in Dublin.

And after they got in touch and we explored opportunities in Abu Dhabi

Of course, it is pure indulgence to sit around and grade a continent and a region’s cities.

But it does serve another, healthy purpose… to travel in our imagination.

To share experiences and knowledge and plan our return to Africa and the Middle East.

Now which are your favourite cities?

 

Asia, Countries, Ireland

Abu Dhabi would be Fabi

And who’d have thought, any of us, that we’d have found ourselves here which is why I’m reflecting now Abu Dhabi would be Fabi.

Don’t tell the Scary One but the Abu Dhabians were on my trail about a job out on their pre-eminent English-speaking newspaper.

And I started checking out all about the emirate in the event that I could be heading for the Gulf.

The Gulf states have long laid the carpet out to us in our own islands of Britain and Ireland.

With hosted nights and invitations to Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Oman.

And we shouldn’t be surprised as Oman is the home of frankincense.

Gulf classic

Dome from home: Abu Dhabi

The Gulf is always and increasingly so worthy of our time and attention.

As its work, entertainment and holiday options increase and improve.

But today we’ll focus on Abu Dhabi because Ireland has been added to its Green List.

And it’s a long old A-Z list, starting with Albania (where they have been allowing beardie people like me, although maybe not specifically me) for years right down to U.

I can only assume they’re searching for Vs, Ws, Xs, Ys and Zs.

So where to go and what to see in Abu Dhabi.

Love your Louvre

Art for art’s sake: The Louvre Abu Dhabi

The Louvre Abu Dhabi: And you’ll get the full range of world art across history.

From the Neolithic up to the present day and including lots for Egyptologists and surrealists with famous paintings by Picasso.

Saadiyat Island is set to become the cultural hub of Abu Dhabi with the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum on the radar.

Fantastic Ferrari

Take it as red: Ferrari World

Ferrari World, Abu Dhabi: Nyyyyyeeeeow. And you can channel your boy (or girl) racer at Yas Leisure Drive, Yas Island.

Where it’s Ferraris, yes, and the kids can even check out the Junior GT ride.

And if it’s your thing then there’s also the Flying Aces rollercoaster.

It clocks up speeds of 120kph on a 52m loop (the tallest in the world).

While you’ll also want to check out Yas beach too where you can get active or just enjoy your cabana.

Warner’s superheroes

Bros in Arms: Warner Bros

Warner Bros World: And while I wait for my return visit to the American original which I missed out on because I caught a 24-hour bug from a returning Californian on the plane…

I’ll turn my attentions east to the Gulf where my old pals Attraction Tickets will cover all your needs.

Gotham City and Metropolis are where you can channel your inner Batman and Superman. Meanwhile back in…

Formula for success

On Track: The Abu Dhabi Circuit

Yas Marina Circuit: And here’s where you can drive on the circuit that Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen rip it up in the Formula One season.

But if you’re not allowed to even take out the smallest cars then you can also run or cycle it every Tuesday and Sunday when it is free.

Not just desert

Camel ye to Abu Dhabi: In the desert

Desert Dunes: And, of course, when you’re in the desert, or the edge of it, you need to get into desert life.

The camels are the caravans of the desert and I’m one happy customer in Morocco and Jordan.

And you should check out an Evening Desert Safari, BBQ dinner, that Camel Ride and sandboarding.

Purple reigns: With Etihad

Just a sample, of course, and there are waterworlds, falcon hospitals, shopping, museums, mosques.

Maybe I need a fresh chat with the Scary One… as Abu Dhabi would be Fabbi. And I know just the guys to get me there.. Etihad.