Sunday, 3 November 2019

Hilton Capital Grand Abu Dhabi (Abu Dhabi, UAE)

Sometime after I woke up I realized that I’ll need to get up much earlier tomorrow morning to catch my 7:00 a.m. flight to Larnaca. I’m sure I verbally groaned when I realized this. I’ll probably need to be up by 3:30 a.m. at the latest. <groan>

As for today, I’m visiting the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, once I get myself pulled together. There wasn’t time for a full visit yesterday so I saved it for today. The visit will probably take about two hours. Getting there will be easy since it’s located just down the road from the hotel, in fact I can see it from one of the hotel’s windows.

On my way to meet the taxi I asked if a taxi would be available at 4:30 tomorrow morning and was assured that one would be waiting for me at that time. I asked because sometimes getting a taxi that early isn’t always easy. I usually prefer Uber because I can see the little Uber cars on my phone app that shows me the cars moving around on my screen, and therefore available to take me where I need to go.

After a short ride to the mosque I was let out at the visitor entrance and was surprised, after I took the escalator down, that there was a shopping mall on the way to the underground entrance. Actually, I shouldn’t be surprised there were a shopping mall because due to the number of visitors it would be a great way to improve sales with so many people passing by your store.

Getting into the mosque is almost as involved as boarding a plane. Many security checkpoints until you can move towards the mosque entrance. There were a number of visitors but not so many that moving around was a problem. There were places designated as locations where you could take the best pictures. (Very helpful.)

Saying the mosque is huge would be an understatement. Lots of walking involved, but eventually everyone ends up at the entrance to the prayer room. The other large mosque I visited was the Blue Mosque in Istanbul and there we could walk through the prayer room, but here we could only view it. My driver told me that the largest one-piece carpet in the world was made for this room and it took several years to make.

Lots to see every place you looked and from what I could see, no expense was too much to built this mosque. I’m sure this mosque will be known as one of the most beautiful buildings in the world, though it seems to be getting more attention as a world-wide attractions.

My visit lasted about two hours as I predicted. It seemed like most of the time was spent getting into the Mosque (mostly walking) and getting out to where I found a taxi waiting for me.

I took a nap when I returned to my room, knowing that I wouldn’t get much sleep at night. I had my last hotel meal, which was fine with me, since I’ll be doing home cooking for the next four weeks in an Airbnb flat. Though I’ve enjoyed the food from the hotels where I’ve stayed, I prefer home-cooked meals. Actually I like the shopping and the cooking part the most.

As I went to sleep I knew that 3:30 a.m. would arrive all too soon.

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