Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Archaeological Paphos Cyprus

The Paphos Archaeological Park and Tombs of the Kings are two great outdoor sites in Paphos that are definitely worth visiting if you're there. They're sizable park areas for walking around by the coast and checking out the ruins up close.

You can generally walk all over and even inside a lot of it including the tombs. The Archaeological Park has many preserved mosaics with a building built over them along with some that were left outside. I've seen such mosaics in museums but it's interesting to imagine the ancient houses over them in their original locations by the sea.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Paphos Cyprus

We continued the European winter escape plan to Paphos (Pafos) Cyprus. Many Europeans and some Americans like to vacation in one big 3-4 week break if they have that kind of vacation time available. I prefer taking a week here and there over a season or throughout the year. Summers in Latvia are the best time to be here so winter is the better time to plan vacations.

February is the off-season in Cyprus with some resorts and restaurants closed for the season and some places under renovation. Our hotel was mostly full of other northern Europeans seeking some sun so even the off-season is somewhat busy. Some parts of town felt closed, but overall it was bustling enough. It felt comfortable instead of crowded which is what I imagine the summer season is there.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Qasr Al Watan Presidential Palace UAE

Qasr Al Watan is the Presidential Palace in the United Arab Emirates. The palace was first opened to the public on 11 Mar 2019, so our visit was within their first year of public viewing. They were well organized for tourists with buses shuttling people from the visitor center to the palace.

It's a beautiful building still used for official purposes but you can peek in on some of these official rooms, such as the particularly impressive "Spirit of Collaboration" meeting room. Standing under the main dome is an awesome sight to see like many other domed capitals of the world.

Louvre Abu Dhabi

Louvre Abu Dhabi is a new art and civilization museum with more museums planned for the area so this will be an even better destination for museum lovers in the future. The building is amazing with a cool interlaced dome floating over it all and water around the buildings underneath. I took many pics of the building and some of the main exhibits showcasing art over time and around the world. It's an interesting concept and journey through the museum.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Al Ein UAE

The 5-day pass for Big Bus includes an all day bus tour to Al Ain near the Oman border. This day trip to the ‘Oasis City’ of Al Ain includes eight key landmarks such as Al Qattara, Al Hili Fort, Al Hili Tomb, Qasr Al Muwaiji, National Museum, Al Ain Palace and Al Jahili Fort. It was an interesting day exploring the earlier history of the emirates and how things were not that long ago before they became a rich oil country.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Abu Dhabi

This is the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. It's the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates and fairly new with a completion in 2007. It's open to tourists and is one of the stops on the Big Bus tour. The mosque is a magnificent structure and well worth a visit since it's open to all visitors. If you don't have the right attire then you're loaned something to put over your clothes, so don't worry too much about being properly dressed for the visit.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Dubai - Burj Khalifa

We took a day trip to Dubai to see Burj Khalifa. We had high tea in the highest lounge at the top of the highest building in the world. It was impressive. We had a great mediterranean buffet dinner at the Armani hotel at the bottom of the tower. We were on the terrace overlooking the water fountains show which danced around to different songs every half hour.