I am back from my six days visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). I was able to do some sightseeing and cross over the border to Oman for scuba diving.
In summary, I spent two full days in Oman and three full days in the UAE sightseeing and shopping.
It was hot at this time of the year. The temperature was 39 degrees Celsius whilst the sea temperature was 29 degrees Celsius.
My hotel was in the old part of Dubai known as Deira and was near to Dubai Creek.
Dubai itself is a city famous for its modern architecture and luxury shopping malls. The city has expanded at an enormous rate over the last few decades and the population now stands at 2.5 million (mostly expats and immigrants). In the 1950s the population was 20,000 people. With the discovery of oil, the city rapidly expanded and it wealth has led to ultramodern projects such as the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project. Many of the construction projects in Dubai are now on hold due the 2008 banking crisies and the current decline in oil prices.
When I arrived, my first sightseeing was to Dubai Marina. This is a residential district of Dubai where many westerners expats live.
Many of the skyscapers here are residential blocks.
Having known many expats living here over the years, a lot of these residential towers were built by dubious developers and many expats have lost their investments to these crooks. That is typical of how things are done in Dubai. So becareful if you are considering investing here.
The Torch Tower had a twenty storey fire last February. At the time of construction I had spoken to many expats who purchased off plan into this tower and many expressed concerns about the poor construction of the tower including lack of fire protection coatings. Their concerns proven to be correct.
All over the marina, new towers are still being built.
I took a small RIB boat from the Marina to visit the artificial archipelagos.
Taking the boat out, I saw the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago project and also the Burj Al Arab hotel. The hotel was opened in 1999 and it is a symbol of modern Dubai.
This hotel is the world’s only 7 star hotel. Living on my £145 per month army pension, I was not able to afford to stay here for my holiday.
With gold plated toilets and personal butlers to chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce services, this hotel has been repeatedly voted the world’s most luxurious hotel.
From the marina, I had to cross the famous Sheikh Zayed Road to get to the metro station.
I took the metro back to the old city.
Whilst on the metro, I passed the Burj Khalifa tower. This is the tallest tower in the world, standing at 829.8 m (2,722 ft) tall. The building gained the official title of “Tallest Building in the World” at its opening on January 4th, 2010.
Arriving in the old city of Dubai, I first went to see the Creek.
Dubai Creek is the old part of the city and was originlly a small port for numberous dhows that traded with East Africa and India. It is still used for trade using the traditional dhows.
A short walk later, I came to the Al Fahidi fort.
The fort was built in 1787 and is the oldest existing building in Dubai. It is now a museum and is 3 AED (£0.60) to get in.
After my sightseeing, I went to do some late night shopping.
The Dubai Mall is the world’s largest shopping mall based on total area. Opened in 2009, it has over 1200 stores.
In March this year, more than a hundred foreign labourers protested in front of Dubai Mall due to overtime wages not being paid. Despite all the ultraluxury developments in Dubai, there is a lot of poor pay within the city.
The Mall comes with a interior aquarium so that shoppers can stare at the fish whilst shopping.
The Mall of the Emirates has over 700 stores and a ski slope! The Middle East’s first indoor ski resort and snow park.
After buying my sexy gal a sexy skirt and several dresses, I headed back to my faulty air conditioning hotel room.
The next day I was going to visit Al Ain, the UNESCO World Heritage Site.
To be continued….
For more information about the UAE and Dubai please visit:
I am back from my two week holiday in Turkey.
I was staying in a self-catering appartment in Göcek near to the tourist resort of Fethiye. By staying in Göcek I was away from the tacky all day English breakfast cafes and Sky Sports TV bars that is awash with sunburnt rowdy English louts who are on their tenth pint of beer by midday.
Göcek is a small town in Fethiye district in Muğla Province, Turkey. It was named “Kalimche” in ancient times, and is located near to Dalyan and Caunos in ancient times.
The town itself has many marinas and is popular as a destination for yachting.
My appartment had an swimming pool that I was able to relax at.
For my first day of sightseeing I was going to visit Fethiye marina and also see the Lycian rock tombs.
It was good to take a walk along the marina.
Many boats here can be chartered here for daytrips to the islands.
In the marina I saw two turtles.
Turtles are common on this part of the Turkish coastline.
The historic region of Lycia was a geopolitical region in the provinces of Antalya and Muğla on the southern coast of Turkey.
The landscape of this region is scattered with over 1400 rock tombs. The tombs date back to the 4th century.
The Lycians believed that their dead were carried to the afterlife by magic winged creatures and thus they placed their honored dead in geographically high places such as the cliffside.
The fee to enter the tombs is 5 TL (approx. £1.25).
Getting to the tombs from the marina is easy as the tombs are easily visable from the marina. Just keep walking uphill to get to them.
From the top, the whole of Fethyie can be viewed.
Within the area of the tombs were wild tortoises.
They were a common sight.
After visiting the tombs I made my way back to my appartment for some serious sunbathing with a very sexy gal at the pool.
To be continued….
For more information about Turkey please visit:
Today I was going to visit the Acropolis of Athens, a World Heritage Site listed by UNESCO.
The Acropolis of Athens is an ancient citadel located on a high rocky outcrop above the city of Athens and contains the remains of several ancient buildings of great architectural and historic significance, the most famous being the Parthenon.
While there is evidence that the hill was inhabited as far back as the fourth millennium BC, it was Pericles (c. 495 – 429 BC) in the fifth century BC who coordinated the construction of the site’s most important buildings including the Parthenon, the Erechtheion and the temple of Athena Nike.
It cost 12 Euros to visit all six sites of the Acropolis of Athens and the ancient Agora.
The slopes of the Acropolis has many statues and monuments.
The theatre of Dionysus is at the base of the Acropolis and it was used for festivals in honor of the god Dionysus. It has seating for 17,000 spectators.
The Parthenon is a former temple dedicated to the goddess Athena, whom the people of Athens considered their patron.
The Erechtheion is an ancient Greek temple on the north side of the Acropolis of Athens in Greece which was dedicated to both Athena and Poseidon.
On the north side, there is another large porch with six Ionic columns, and on the south, the famous “Porch of the Maidens”, with six draped female figures (caryatids) as supporting columns.
In 1801 one of the caryatids and the north column of the east porch together with the overlying section of the entablature were removed by Lord Elgin in order to decorate his Scottish mansion, and were later sold to the British Museum (along with the pedimental and frieze sculpture taken from the Parthenon). The new Acropolis Museum holds the other five figures, which are replaced onsite by replicas.
From atop I could see all across Athens including the ancient Agora down below.
The ancient Agora was the central spot in ancient Athens. The Temple of Hephaestus is located at the north-west side of the Agora.
The ancient Agora has a small museum.
I headed to a viewpoint to look across the ancient Agora.
It was mid-November and warm enough for me to wear t-shirt and shorts.
Next on my sightseeing was the Panathenaic Stadium. The stadium is a multi-purpose stadium used for several events and athletics and hosted the first modern Olympic Games in 1896. Reconstructed from the remains of an ancient Greek stadium, the Panathenaic Stadium is the only major stadium in the world built entirely of white marble.
In the 2004 Olympic Games, the Panathenaic Stadium hosted the archery competition and the finish of the Marathon.
It could once seat about 80,000 spectators on fifty rows of marble steps and currently holds 45,000 spectators.
The next day, I headed to the mountains surrounding the city of Athens. I came across a wild tortoise in the forest.
The Kaisariani Monastery is an Eastern Orthodox monastery built on the north side of Mount Hymettus, near Athens.
The monastery was probably established in Byzantine times in ca. 1100.
I took the metro back to Athens city centre.
Shopping in Athens is a favorite pastime for tourists and Athenians and one of the best places to buy just about anything is the Monastiraki Flea Market.
After my shopping I headed to the marina on the coast.
I was invited by the Qatar’s former Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani to have dinner on board his supersize yacht (that was probably paid for by taxes and corruption). At dinner we discuss FIFA 2022 World Cup bribery and rigging. We decided that Germany will win the cup in 2022. The Al Mirqab yacht is one of the largest motor yachts ever built at a length of 133 metres. The yacht is normally moored at the Faliro coastal area of Athens.
It was time to head back to Britain and to put up my Xmas decorations.
– The End –
For more information about Greece please visit:
On my second day in Copenhagen, I was going to see the sights of the city paying attention to the architecture of the buildings. My walk around Copenhagen started at the fort of Kastellet near the waterfront. The fort is close to the Little Mermaid. The fort is one of the best preserved star fortresses in Northern Europe. It is constructed in the form of a pentagram with bastions at its corners.
The fort is still as an active military area that belongs to the Danish Defence Ministry, however members of the public can walk around the fort grounds. It is a popular site for joggers.
At the southwest corner of the fort is a rather charming windmill.
Near the entrance of Kastellet is a rather charming St. Alban’s Church surrounded by a frozen lake.
I ate my sandwiches here.
After having my sandwiches, I farted alot and then went to the waterfront.
Heading towards the City Hall, I walked down the Strøget which is the longest pedestrian shopping area in Europe.
The round tower (Rundetårn) was a 17th-century tower built as an astronomical observatory.
The tower does not have stairs instead a 7.5 turn spiral ramp forms the only access to the towertop observatory.
Every year in spring, a unicycle race is held and the contestants have to go up and down the tower. The record is 1 minute and 48.7 seconds.
The tower still had it orginal toilets!
I think the toilet tips out onto the street below.
The view from the top is great.
Continuing my walk, I came across great architecture.
The west end of Strøget at The City Hall Square is a short walking distance from Tivoli Gardens and Copenhagen’s Central Train Station.
I decided to walk over to the artificial island of Christianshavn.
Christiania is a self-governing neighborhood which has established semi-legal status as an independent community as a “city within the city”. Photography is against the rules here as too many drug dealers deal their junk here.
Near Christiania is the The Church of Our Saviour and it is famous for it corkscrew spire.
After visiting the island of Christianshavn, my wee cotton feet was sore, so I headed back to the hotel.
On my way back to the hotel, I saw a statue of a man urinating against the wall.
Tomorrow, I was going to cross the Øresund Bridge by train and visit Sweden for the day.
To be continued….
For more information about Copenhagen please visit:
This posting is about my visit to Cyprus in summer 2010. As many of you know, I was posted to Cyprus for several years with the army. I had left the island in 2002. So for me, this trip was about revisiting my old haunts including my old appartment that I used to live in.
At the time, I was the only serving cuddly toy serving in Cyprus. But I am sure that more cuddly toys are now serving in the Armed Forces.
Cyprus itself is a island in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. It became independant from the UK in 1960, but the British still retain two military bases on the island as well as deployed as part of the UN contingent on the disputed green line zone separating Turkish North and Greek Southern Cyprus.
My plane landed at Laranca airport, and this was where I had a self-catering apartment rented for the two weeks I going to be here for.
Larnaca itself is an industrial town and not one on the tourist destinations list however the old city and the old fishing port is nice unlike the popular tourist resorts of Ayia Napa and Paphos which is spolit with umpteen hotels and English football bars.
I had to visit my old apartment that I used to live in when I was serving in Cyprus. I remember parking my motorbike on the road each day under my balcony. Because I am a 30cm tall cuddly toy, my motorbike had to have stabilizers on!
Larnaca has a number of interesting features including the Aqueduct known as “The Kamares”, that stands outside the town that carrys water into the town.
The Church of Lazarus is a Orthodox Church which was built in the town over the tomb of St. Lazarus.
The seafront promenade is a neat row of palm trees and seaview cafes. The boat marina is just here.
One of these days, I want to become the first cuddly toy to sail solo around the world.
My first full day of the trip on the island, I was going to go Quad biking over the dirty tracks on the Dhekelia hills.
I put on my dust goggles.
The ride up the hills was two hours.
After my ride, I was covered in white dust so my foster Auntie put me inside the washing machine and hung me up to dry.
The next day I was going to Nicosia. The capital of Cyprus and also a divided capital with the Turkish North and the Greek South.
For more information about Larnaca please visit:
To be continued….