food, Italy, travel

24 Hours in Venice

I planned a 6 day trip in Italy to visit Venice, Cinque Terre, and Rome. It was very ambitious but I believe I pulled it off successfully. Rome was admittedly quite rushed Рmy travel buddy Beatrice said it was a good intro to Rome trip for her and she would like to return to see it in more depth. Regarding Venice and Cinque Terre, she said we spent the perfect amount of time there to experience it fully. 

Here’s what I did with my 24 hours in Venice:

1) Take the Vaporetto a much cheaper alternative to see the cityscape from the canal instead of a gondola.

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Abu Dhabi, travel

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is probably one of the grandest and most beautiful piece of architecture I have laid my eyes on in person. How could it not? More than 3,000 workers and 38 contracting companies globally¬†took part in the creation of the mosque using materials such as marble stone, gold, semi-precious jewels, ceramics, and crystals. Let’s not forget the gorgeous floral design!

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The most iconic view – even hypebeast posted a near identical shot (from another photographer ūüė¶ )

Some noteworthy features on its grandeur: Continue reading

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Dubai, travel

At the Top, Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa, the tallest structure in the world at 829m ousting Toronto’s very own CN Tower (553m) for the title of tallest freestanding structure.

 

However for us tourists, we can only get up to L124 “At the Top” (452m) or ¬†L148 ¬†“At the Top Sky” (555m). Which realistically is still higher CN Tower’s observatory¬†as Burj Khalifa¬† held the record of highest outdoor observation deck until 2011. Continue reading

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Dubai, events, food, travel

Ladies’ Night is Every Night in Dubai

Being a lady is great in Dubai if you enjoy going to the bar for a few drinks after work. You don’t need to worry about cover or paying for your drinks – don’t even need to chat up guys for free drinks either!¬† A very popular and well known weekly event is Tuesday Ladies’ Night – most bars and clubs partake in this. And they give up to sometimes 3 or 4 drink tickets per person!!!! Why don’t we have this here?

In addition, you are likely to be able to find a Ladies’ Night for every night of the week somewhere within the city. In our case we went to four – Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday.¬† Continue reading

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Dubai, travel

Meeting Penguins!!!

Alicia says her most memorable moment of our trip was skydiving (which I was not there for because I have extreme fear of falling from heights…How could that be her favourite moment if I wasn’t present?). I guess in contrast, one of my most memorable moments was one she skipped out on too – meeting penguins at Ski Dubai!! Ski Dubai is a mini ski resort / winter playground / penguin habitat inside, can you believe it, a mall! Obviously, compared to what we are used to in Canada, the snow and the hill looks extremely sad and fake. However, penguins!!

There are multiple packages available, where of course, the more you pay, the more interaction you get. I didn’t get to be immersed in a huddle of little penguins as I had wished for because that required a minimum of 4 people to book online. However, being able to see one so up close and touching their feathers was already very exciting as it is! I like to believe it is an unique experience few people get to have. Continue reading

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Jordan, travel

Public Beach at Aqaba

I wish our tour allowed us to stay longer in Aqaba, because the beach was gorgeous. We only had a half day there so unfortunately we did not get to do very much except take a quick peek at their local public beach.

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Something unique about beaches in Jordan is that there is a large distinction of ownership. The beach is basically divided up between various hotels Рand to access the beach you would need to be a guest at the hotel or pay some sort of entrance fee.  We had a similar experience to visit the Dead Sea where we paid to enter a private beach.

Given our short time in Aqaba, our tour guide only brought us to the (free) public beach. Which is I’m sure just as gorgeous as anywhere else along the shoreline. However, the main flaw with this activity in our itinerary was our Aqaba visit happened to fall on a Friday, which is the main weekend day off for locals – and as such the beach was packed. Continue reading

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friends, Jordan, travel

Jordan – Desert Castles and Dead Sea

Day 2 of our tour was extended to a full day with the addition of visits to 3 different desert castles, free of charge! We aren’t quite sure as to why but, we won’t complain.

  1. Qasr Amra ¬†(Amra Palace) – one of the best well known desert castles in modern day Jordan as it depicts an early example of Islamic art and architecture. Only the foundation of ¬†the castle complex remains and a small cabin which was meant for a retreat house. ¬†Amra Palace is particularly famous for its well kept frescoes (mural painting technique) all alongside the interior walls of the building. Most of the art shows hunting, biblical figures, dancing and some nudity ….which makes the building sound very questionable given it also has a large bathouse, haha. 

  2. Qasr Al-Azraq (Azraq Castle) – known as the Blue Fortress as it used to hold a lot of water which was then transported to other cities for¬†use. It’s strategic value was due to its location by an oasis which was the only permanent water source in the desert area. The basalt used to construct the castle reminded me of medieval ¬†European castles more than what I would have imagined in the Middle East. 

  3. Qasr Al-Kharanah (Alharana Palace) – whether this building is really a “castle” per se or not is unclear as it does not appear to have been¬†used for military purposes. There are no slits in the walls for arrow / boulder attacks against intruders. It’s location is also not close to any body of water to make it very useful as a resting spot for travelers. However it is remained intact extremely well and we were able to walk around and through the floors of the castle. The layout of the castle is perfectly symmetrical. 

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