Around this time last year, myself and my friend Emma were living it up in San Francisco. I had wanted to go and see San Fran and Alcatraz for years. We went for 5 nights and we packed a lot in. Unfortunately, my camera lens started to die while I was there so I took most of my photos on my iPhone. Then to top that off, during the night on the  second night, my phone had some sort of meltdown and I had to bring it to the Apple store the next day where they had no choice but to completely reset it, so I lost all of the photos from the first two days, including Alcatraz. Oh and did I mention that our suitcases never made the flight? Mine turned up within about 15 hours but Emma’s didn’t show for about 48 hours. Sounds like a nightmare doesn’t it?!

To be honest, I forgot about all of those crappy things until I sat down to write this post. They are definitely not the take aways from the trip. The only downer about it is that I don’t have many photos of Alcatraz and I have absolutely none from the food trucks at Presidio Park. 

We fit in so much into such a short trip. We were up at about 6am every day and fell asleep about 10 or 11pm at the latest every night. The day we arrived we went to The Castro District. The Castro was one of the first gay neighbourhoods in the United States. Some of the pedestrian walkways are made up of the rainbow flag colours that represent the LGBT community. When we were in San Francisco, the Orlando nightclub shooting had only recently happened and there was a very touching tribute to the victims of the shooting at The Castro.

The Castro District

After visiting The Castro, we got a taxi up to the top of Twin Peaks. We took some pictures and got some great views of the city of San Francisco. By the time we finished there, we went back to the hotel (hoping our luggage had arrived – it hadn’t!) and then went for some food. 

Twin Peaks

We woke at about 5am and decided this was the best morning to head to the Sausalito side of the Golden Gate Bridge to watch the sun come up. This was by far the highlight of my trip. We got soooo lucky because it was a really great sunrise. We got pizza blankets (I know, amazing!!) and went back a few mornings later but the sunrise wasn’t nearly as nice. After watching the sun come up, we waked back across the bridge. It was a lovely walk. I’ve read and heard plenty of people saying that they wouldn’t suggest walking all the way across. I disagree completely. I loved the walk so much, we did it twice. 


Pizza blankets

After the walk back, we went to get some breakfast and then went to see Lombard Street which was really busy but the houses along the road are really nice with some gorgeous flowers too. 

How beautiful? (Emma may kill me because she’s in this photo!)

 After Lombard Street we went to Presidio Park. We went to see the Walt Disney museum, which really isn’t worth a trip in my opinion. Then we went out to the food trucks in the park, which was another highlight of my trip. Unfortunately, I have absolutely no pictures of it, but if you go to San Fran, I would definitely recommend it. We sat out in the sun, enjoying a cocktail and trying some delicious food. 

After Presidio Park, we went to Alcatraz. I was so excited for this and took a million photos and lost them all so I only have this one below that was saved to my Snapchat of me in one of the cells. The tour was brilliant and there’s something so creepy about the place. 

An Alcatraz cell

We were exhausted after it and went straight home to bed. Then my phone died so we spent a couple of hours the next morning in the Apple store before jumping on the hop on/hop off bus. This way we got to see a lot more without getting off the bus. 

We got off the bus at Pier 39. I was a bit disapointed because there wasn’t many sea lions out. The whole area had a real holiday vibe to it with restaurants and amusements and shops. Then we walked to Fisherman’s Wharf. Again, it reminded me of that Irish seaside town vibe, but a bit warmer and prettier. (Did I mention San Francisco had a heat wave while we were there and my scalp and shoulders burnt to a crisp?).


We got an In-N-Out Burger, which we had been looking forward to and it was so worth the wait. Delicious. I’ll never look at a Big Mac the same way again. Since we were so close, it would have been rude not to pop into Ghirardelli’s. If you are unfamiliar, it’s a chocolate company and it’s famous for it’s ice-cream sundaes. 

We paid for two days on the bus tour and we got to see China Town, The Oakland Bridge and Coit Tower. We also went to Haight & Ashbury which amazingly still felt like it had the hippie vibe that would have been there in the 1967 Summer of Love. We went from there to see the Painted Ladies which were absolutely beautiful. It was busy but not so busy that you couldn’t get a photo of them. I will say, as pretty as they are, I definitely saw some nicer houses scattered around San Francisco. We also went to see the Mrs Doubtfire house which was awesome, even if the taxi driver had never seen the movie and thought we were crazy.

Painted Ladies

We also managed plenty of shopping (hello Sephora!), lots of eating and a little drinking. We even fit in a visit to an Irish bar to watch Ireland beat Italy 1-0 in the 2016 Euros. So all in all, we had an amazing trip to San Francisco. It absolutely rivalled New York as my favourite place that I’ve been to in the United States. Now I have a favourite on each coast and I will definitely go back.

Is there anything I missed on my trip that you could recommend for next time?

Comme Chez Soi

We went to a restaurant called Comme Chez Soi on the last night in Budapest that really made our trip for us in terms of what we had experienced of the food service. Budapest is a beautiful city and I would recommend anyone go there but the one thing I would say is their service in restaurants could do with some work. It’s not that they aren’t polite or the food wasn’t good, it was. It’s how slow everything is. They come relatively fast to take your order but after that if you want something, you’re waiting a while and make sure you ask for your bill well in advance because that’s going to take a while.

Now when it comes to Comme Chez Soi, forget everything I’ve just said. Their service was absolutely impeccable. We arrived without a reservation and were very lucky to get a table. They accommodated us but told us that regretfully they would need the table in two hours for another reservation. We thought we’d be out in under an hour but we were there for the full two two hours. We saw 8 or 10 couples arrive after us to be told they had absolutely no tables left. So if you go here, I recommend you book in advance.

Caprese Appetiser

We ordered dinner, a glass of red wine and a glass of prosecco. We didn’t order a starter and I’m glad because soon after we ordered our meal a complimentary caprese appetizer arrived. Then when our drinks were almost gone, a complimentary glass of wine arrived for both us.

Comme Chez Soi

We both ordered a pasta dish with a cream sauce and mussels. It was delicious and there was plenty. If I had one tiny negative about the place, it would be that the mussels weren’t the best I’ve ever had but that being said, we’re kind of spoiled for sea food considering the country we live is is an island. We were pretty full so we ordered a chocolate orange mousse dessert to share but while we waited for it, they brought a complimentary dessert of sorbet and chocolates. They also brought us both a shot of limoncello. Then another two and another two! The waiter told us it was his mother’s homemade limoncello, which was a nice touch that added to the personal feel that Comme Chez Soi had.

Sorbet

All in all, the food was great, the service was excellent and I think we got more food for free than we paid for. If you are ever in Budapest, it is well worth a visit.

On a side note, the photos are so bad because I was enjoying myself so much, it wasn’t important enough to take good pics!!

So in my post back in April, I shared all of the things we did in Budapest. This post is going to talk all about the food. Let’s be real…that’s what people really want to hear about?! No? Just me then!

One of the first things we noticed was just how many Italian restaurants there are in Budapest. We’re both pizza fans so naturally the first meal we had was pizza for lunch (when in Rome…I mean Budapest!) we went to a place called Ez Az Bistro. It was one of the more expensive meals we had and by more expensive I mean not really expensive, at all. I had the Maialona and I think Dave had the Diavola. I didn’t take a picture of it, which is really annoying, but usually means I was either really hungry or really enjoyed it, or both! If you’re a pizza fan, I’d definitely try a pizza in Budapest. Check out their menu here.

If you’re looking for lunch, that won’t take too much time, or drunk food (confession: we had it twice & for both these reasons) then you must go to Hot Dog, Cold Beer. As far as I’m aware there’s two of them in Budapest but the one we went to was only a few minutes away from where we were staying. Ireland doesn’t leave much to the imagination when it comes to hot dogs but this one was delicious. There are lots of options but I got the New York both times & Dave got the German & the Mexican. It comes as a meal if you want & that includes crisps (or chips in America) on a stick called Tornado Fries as well as a beer or a soft drink. Definitely worth a visit. Check them out on Facebook 

Hot Dog, Cold Beer

We went to New York Cafe as one of the main sites to see in Budapest and unfortunately the day we went, there was filming going on so there was just a small section of the cafe sectioned off for passing trade. It’s known as ‘the most beautiful cafe in the world’. It is very grand and beautifully decorated with very professional staff. However that being said, I felt the atmosphere was a little uncomfortable. I had a hot chocolate, which was out of this world, but I was glad we only stopped long enough for this and didn’t stay for a meal. If you happen to pass by, it’s worth popping in for a coffee but I wouldn’t go out of my way to get there. 

New York Cafe

There’s a place called Gozsdu Udvar, which is a kind of strip of restaurants, near where we were staying in the Jeweish District and we went to a place called Spíler Shanghai for lunch one of the days. We ordered two meals to share. We had a sweet & spicy pork belly burger and spicy prawn noodles. The noodles were lovely but the pork belly burger was unreal. Better than any pulled pork burger I’ve had. Check Spíler Shanghai out here.

Spíler Shanghai - Sweet & Spicy Pork Belly BurgerSpíler Shanghai - Spicy Prawn Noodles 

Another restaurant we visited in Gozsdu Udvar was RED. We went there for dinner one of the evenings and there wasn’t a lot jumping out off the menu for me. I decided to play it safe & went for a burger. It was huge & pretty tasty but the stand out thing in this meal was the slaw! Yum! I definitely wouldn’t rush to this place but it was decent. 

Red Bistro

We had read that there was a Jamie’s Italian in Budapest but completely forgot to go back & check out where it was. Luckily, we stumbled across it, which was a complete fluke, because it’s on the Buda side and up the street from Mathias Church. The only reason we even walked up that way was because we thought it was a bar & we were looking for somewhere to pass a half an hour while we waited for the sunset. Unlucky for us, we had had a pretty big lunch that day so weren’t hungry enough for dinner. We did however try this AMAZING garlic bread from the bar food menu, as well as a cocktail. The price was very very reasonable and I wish we had been hungry enough for dinner. Check it out here.

Jamie's Italian

The absolute best experience we had in a restaurant, in Budapest, was in a place called Comme Chez Soi. It was so great that it deserves a post of it’s own, so look out for that, as well as the places we went for drinks soon! 

Hello Hungary

In early March I went on a long weekend with my boyfriend to Budapest. We booked it in January and it came around fast. It was our first weekend away, outside of Ireland, together so I was pretty excited. The only Eastern European city I had been to before was Prague in Czech Republic so Budapest had a lot to live up to. I was surprised by how many people had been there when I mentioned it and plenty of people had said what a lovely city it was. This Hungarian metropolis is made up of 2 cities -Buda and Pest, separated by the Danube river. The two sides of the river are completely different. Buda has plenty of hills and beautiful buildings and is quite laid back and quiet, while Pest is flatter but booming with business and culture. Both sides are definitely worth a visit. We stayed on the Pest side, as I think most tourists do. We stayed in the Ambra Hotel which was probably about 15 minutes walk from the Danube, in the Jewish Quarter (District 7).

The hotel was relatively small but the room was spacious with a comfortable bed and large windows for natural life. There was no bar, which is very unusual coming from Ireland but the breakfast was very nice and included champagne so I indulged in a mimosa with my breakfast (I said Irish, didn’t I?!). I would definitely recommend the Ambra because it’s clean and in a good location.

The currency in Budapest is the Hungarian Forint (HUF) and the value for money is unbelievable. You can eat and drink for very little and we were not counting the pennies at all. We spent €530 between us over the 3 days and when I tell you, we were thinking of ways to spend it by the last day, I’m not lying. €11 cocktails that probably would have cost €20 easily, in Dublin. The only thing I would say was not good value for money was taxi fares. Other than the taxis to and from the airport, we only got 1 and it was not cheap, so I would avoid them if at all possible.

On our first day, we arrived around 11am, checked in, dropped our bags and went straight out exploring. We wandered as far as the Danube to try and get our bearings, walked across the chain bridge and back and had some lunch (an amazing pizza) on the Pest side before heading back to do a tour of the Opera House. It was close to our hotel and quite cheap to visit. It cost roughly €13 including a photo ticket so I could take my own pictures. It is definitely worth a trip and the guided tour is well timed and very informative.

Budapest Opera House Bar

Budapest Opera House Bar


Budapest Opera House

Budapest Opera House

After the tour, we went back to the hotel to rest for a little while before going for drinks in an Irish pub called Publin and having some food in a place called Hot Dog, Cold Beer, that came recommended on Pinterest. I’ll share more about the food and drink in the next post.

Day 2 started with a bit of a lie in, but we had breakfast and were out by 11am. We walked out to the Danube again (there’s a theme here!) and got Tram 2 along the river. I had read it was a great way to see the city and for a couple of Euro, I wasn’t disapointed. We went both ways and it brought us right down to the back of the Parliament building and I wasn’t expecting much, but it blew me away. It was absolutely beautiful.

Tram 2


Parliament Building

Parliament Building

We went to New York Cafe next, which comes highly recommended but only part of it was open to the public and the hot chocolate was amazing but the place wasn’t for me.

Later that afternoon we crossed over to the Buda side & took the second oldest funicular up to the top of Buda Hill and wandered towards Fisherman’s Bastian & Matthias Church which are both beautiful and absolutely worth a visit. You get great views of the Pest side, in particular the Parliament Building and I would highly recommend getting there for the sunset.

Matthias Church

Matthias Church


Budapest Parliament Building

Budapest Parliament Building

Finally, on day 3 we went to the Széchenyi Thermal Baths and in my opinion they are a must for Budapest. It’s over 100 years old and has 18 pools including 3 outdoor pools. The weather was 13 degrees celsius but felt like more. I wasn’t crazy about the indoor baths but the outdoor ones were amazing. We even managed to sit out in our swimwear & have a couple of drinks afterwards.
We went to the Central Market Hall and I don’t think I even have any photographs because I really wasn’t impressed with it. I expected it to have an old market vibe and it really didn’t at all. Some people love it, to me it was a place selling spices and tacky souvenirs.

We left on a flight around midday on the 4th day. We got almost everything we wanted into 3 days but I think a 4th day would have been great. If you are on the fence about a trip to Budapest, climb right down off that fence and book some flights.

Look out for my next post on everything we ate & drank in Hungary’s capital city!

Check out more photos from the trip here

 

New York City

Random question, but am I the only one who constantly carries another currency around in their purse? I went to New York for the first time in February 2012 and loved it! Since then I’ve had exactly $14 in my purse at all times. It’s staying there to remind me that I absolutely will get back to New York .  It won’t get me too far but it’s a nice reminder. I also still have New York on the weather app on my phone and let’s face it, you only really keep the important places on there…or is that just me?

Do you have a place that you’ve been to and really loved? That one place that you just have to go back to.

Kiara and IDane and DecoKiara and DecoKiara & ICheers Deco & Kiarapolice car 2Dane & I

1) Kiara and I,  2) Dane and Deco being competitive,  3)  Kiara and Deco outside The Burj Al Arab with the Jumeirah Hotel in the background,  4) Kiara and I with the Mercedes Police car,  5) Cheers – shot time!  6) Deco and Kiara,  7) Dane and Deco with the policeman and the Bentley police car,  8) I love this picture of Dane and I. It’s so silly. We had just posed for a picture together and this was what followed.

The fact that I’m writing this post almost a week after arriving home leaves me with a sad feeling. Dane always says that you don’t really appreciate a place and how amazing it is until you leave. In a way, I believe he’s right. You see it all the time with Irish people living abroad. They tell anyone who will listen how great Ireland is. So much so that I often wonder why they left in the first place. In my opinion, part of this is because the grass is always greener on the other side and part of it is because as time goes by we tend to forget any negative feeling towards a place, especially if there aren’t many, and remember only the positive ones. We also tend to build it up to be better than it was. It’s a funny one because although I remain firm on my stance that Dubai really isn’t for me, when people ask I still tell them how beautiful it is and about all the amazing things to see and do and I would always recommend it to people. Strangely enough, The first time I went to Dubai remains very close to the top of my list of holidays. This may come across as strange, but I feel comfortable in Ireland in a way I’ve never felt in any of the beautiful and spectacular places I’ve visited. I know now, more than ever, that Ireland is my home and I just can’t see that ever changing. That being said, I find myself missing small things about Dubai, most obviously waking up every day and knowing Dane is there.

Our last 10 days in Dubai were spent with Kiara and Deco, as you know from my previous post Summer in Dubai, Part 3. Although they were our third set of visitors in only 2 months, it was just as fascinating to see their reaction to all of the wonderful things Dubai has to offer. The same way a place can seem much more enchanting when you leave, it can seem very normal and everyday while you’re there. Especially if you’re there for a while and have seen it plenty of times. Seeing everyone’s reaction to the things only Dubai can produce was refreshing every time and it reminds you to appreciate it while you’re there. Kiara and Deco were very aware that this was mine and Dane’s last week or so together for a few months and were kind enough to arrange some of their plans for days out when he was off so we could spend some time together. All four of us had a great time and the 10 days went by in a blink. We ate, we drank, we shopped, we played cards, we laughed, we argued over the rules, we took silly photos in photo booths, they experienced Dubai – the Burj Khalifa, the bus tour, the market, Wild Wadi water park, etc. We had a 7 course, 7 star afternoon tea pretty much right after a trip to Burger King, we shopped some more, we went to Sega World and the ‘men’ reverted back to being boys – it wasn’t a long trip! We drank some more, we ate some more, including a McDonalds drive thru trip or 2 in taxis (I have never seen a human being consume food the way Deco can – he eats lots and very often) and we had some of the funniest taxi journeys ever, singing and dancing with the taxi men. Dane’s ability to sing in ‘Punjabi’ is second to none.

This summer in Dubai was interesting to say the least. I got to experience it with some of my favourite people and I am eternally grateful to them for making it that bit easier to be away from home for so long (I know what you’re thinking – you would swear I was away for 10 years but it was a daunting experience for me as I’m such a home bird). Having people that I love there stopped me from getting too home sick and certainly made the days when Dane was in work until 6, 7 or 8 at night much easier. I hope they enjoyed it as much as I did. I also made some lovely new friends and I hope to see them in Dublin in the near future.

Being in Dubai during Ramadan and the start of the 3 day celebration (Eid) that follows it taught me a lot. I learned to appreciate a culture that is so different from my own and because at times it was difficult, it also reminded me to appreciate my own culture. It taught me that although I love to learn about other countries and cultures, I am very lucky to live in a country that it is very liberal (not an opinion I would have had before, we’re still pretty far behind other countries on a lot of issues). Being in Dubai for Ramadan reinforced for me the lengths people will go to please their god and whether you agree with it or not, it takes a lot of strength to fast for 30 days in 40-50 degree (celsius) heat whilst going about your everyday life which includes working and for woman still cooking for children and all of this without so much as a drop of water from sunrise to sunset. Ramadan is not only about fasting. It is also important to live a clean life during this period where Muslims should only think positive thoughts, refrain from gossiping, smoking or having sexual relations during daylight hours. It is also a time for giving and so it’s a nice time to be in Dubai because people are very kind and charitable.

Now that I’m home (well in County Wexford, which is about 2.5 hours from home), I am enjoying the familiarity and beauty that is Ireland and quietly remembering the magnificence of Dubai.

Mam and MariaAbra (water taxi) Maria and Dane Mam and IIMG_6596

So my mam and Maria left Dubai to travel home on Wednesday night after 12 days. Dane organised a surprise for them and we dropped them to the airport in a white stretch Hummer limousine. Slightly cheesy, yes! Ridiculously enjoyable watching their faces as we walked towards it with their luggage, hell yes!! It was really great to have them both here for loads of reasons. For me, even though I was only here a little over a month when my mam arrived, I was delighted to see her. I enjoy the fact that I’m close to my family and I miss them when I’m away from them for too long. It was also great for Dane’s mam Maria to spend some time with him. I know it meant a lot to both of them…probably Maria more so but that’s sons for you. We had a lovely time and we got to see and do some things I hadn’t experienced in Dubai yet which was a win all round. It certainly didn’t take long for Irish ‘mammy-ness’ to kick in and within no time they were telling us what to do (“you need to save more” and “that’s not a substantial breakfast”), asking an outrageous amount of unnecessary questions and dying my leopard print blanket blue and my leopard print pyjama shorts pink (I’m obsessed with leopard print, remember). If I didn’t know better I’d say there’s a clause in the Irish ‘Mammy-ness’ contract that you have to be terrible at washing clothes and regularly stretch, shrink and change the colours. They try to justify it by saying “ah sure now it’s like ya have a new t-shirt” when they change the colour from white to blue. Anyway, we had a busy 12 days which included sunbathing, visiting the mosque, swimming, asking questions, afternoon tea, shopping, eating, drinking, asking questions, playing cards, laughing, the Dubai Fountain, asking more questions, the Burj Khalifa, more shopping, visiting the souks and the creek and did I mention asking questions? Like a lot of questions. They’re gone now and as they left, our friends Kiara and Deco arrived for 10 days. Literally. As in they all met at the airport for a few minutes. Needless to say it’s Friday (the weekend in Dubai) and I’m exhausted so while the others go to the market, I’m tidying around the apartment and relaxing with my book. Stay tuned for the fourth and final installment of ‘Summer in Dubai’. 

Mam, Maria and I Times for prayer Dome MeJumeirah Mosque

Last Wednesday I took a trip to Jumeirah Mosque with my mam and Maria. We read up about it the day before so we knew in advance we needed to cover our arms and legs and that they would provide scarves to cover our hair. You can see chairs in some of the pictures. They are not usually there and are only there in this specific mosque because it’s the only one in Dubai that non-Muslims can visit freely. The chairs are left out for people to sit on at the 10.30am visit which is the only visiting time each day. A representative from the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding spends around 1-1.5 hours explaining the religion and how the mosque is used. It was really interesting to learn about a religion that I knew very little about. The time board on the wall beside the clock decides the 5 times per day when Muslims pray based on the lunar calendar. Woman can pray either in the mosque or at home whereas men are encouraged to pray in the mosque. The reason for this is that woman are the primary care-givers for the children and it may not always be possible for them to attend the mosque. You will see in the photographs that there is a pattern in the carpets that forms lines for people to stand while they pray. The mosque itself on the outside is quite beautiful and although it has beautiful chandeliers and ceilings inside, it is very basic in that it is mostly a square room with very little inside. It was fascinating to learn about a different religion and culture, however, much like my own religion, some of the explanations for why things are done the way they are can be a little hard to swallow. Overall, it was very interesting and I would encourage people visiting Dubai to take the time out to visit the mosque. 

Burj Al ArabCheers - sparkling date juice

1st Course

course 2Maria, Mam and Icourse 3MocktailsCakes & creme bruleeCourse 4Chocolates to take-awayLeaving the Burj Al Arab

1) The Burj Al Arab – looking up,  2) Cheers – sparkling date juice,  3) First course – berries and cream on shortbread,  4) Second course – Beef and potato,  5) Maria, Mam and I,  6)  Third course – selection of sandwiches,  7) One of the mocktails we tried,  8) Cakes, cookies and creme brulee,  9) Fourth course – selection of scones and mini patisserie,  10) Chocolates to take home,  11) Leaving the Burj Al Arab

Yesterday my Mam, Maria and I went for afternoon tea in the Burj Al Arab hotel. Our reservation was for 4.30pm but we were eager to see the hotel so we arrived at 3.30pm. I had been to the hotel before with Dane’s previous employer but it was nice to have the time to look around the foyer area and take some photographs. We went up to the Sky View bar early at around 4.10pm and we were seated next to the window facing the sea immediately. The service in the hotel is second to none from the people who call the lift (elevator if you’re from the U.S.) to the waiters serving your table. There are several courses to the Sky View Afternoon Tea. When we first arrived we were offered dates which are the holy fruit of Arabia. We were then offered sparking date juice. Usually guests are offered champagne but as it is currently the holy month of Ramadan there is no alcohol served anywhere in Dubai before 8pm. The first course on the menu is berries and cream which is served on shortbread. The second course is the chef’s carvery of the day which was beef (cooked to perfection) and mashed potato. Although it was delicious it is a very small portion. This works out well considering there’s still 3 courses to go. Next we were served finger sandwiches including salmon, chicken, caviar, tuna, cucumber and beef. If you have special requirements you can let them know. By this stage we were feeling quite full. The second last course is a mixture of homemade scones, cakes and creme brûlée. The final course is lychee and rose sorbet. There is also a menu with lots of different teas, coffees, iced drinks, hot chocolate and mocktails and you can order as many as you like. We started off with an English breakfast tea (old habits die hard) then we moved onto a mocktail. I had a lovely Oreo one. We were so full by the end and we didn’t finish all of the cakes and scones so they packaged them up for us to take away. We were there for roughly two and a half hours in total and another 30 mins taking pictures beforehand.

For anyone visiting Dubai I would definitely recommend this once in a lifetime experience. There are two reason why you would only do it once. The first is that it is expensive and works out at roughly €93 which is 450dhs (Arab Emirate dirham) or 122 American dollars. The second is that it’s the only 7 star hotel (self proclaimed because there is technically no star higher than 5) in the world and the likelihood of you visiting Dubai more than once is low unless you have friends/family etc living there. I didn’t think I would be saying this but, I think it is worth the price tag to see the hotel, experience the view (which includes part of the Palm Islands) and enjoy the amazing food and drink.

China (1) China (2)India (1) India (2)Persia (2) Persia (1)Egypt (1)Egypt (2) Tunisia (2)Tunisia (1)

1 & 2) China,  3 & 4) India,  5 & 6) Persia,  7 & 8) Egypt,  9 & 10) Tunisia

Last week, while Dane was working late I went to Ibn Battuta Mall to take some pictures. It’s a nice mall only 10 minutes away from the apartment in a taxi so I’ve been there a few times. It’s the largest themed mall in the world (of course it is!) and its design is based on the travels of the Arabic explorer Ibn Battuta. The themes of the mall are celebrated on the inside and on the outside of the building. The different themes are: China, India, Persia, Egypt, Tunisia and Andalusia. Unfortunately the section dedicated to Andalusia is small and I missed it. When you stop and look up the design is very impressive. My favourite section is definitely Egypt but that may be biased because it’s the only one of the 6 I’ve been to. Today I’m going for afternoon tea with my Mam and Maria in the Burj Al Arab. I looked forward to sharing my experience here soon. xoxo