Abu Dhabi from the Water

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, is one the world’s largest mosques,
with room for 40,000 worshippers.

At the moment, it is far too hot and humid to venture out in Abu Dhabi, unless you’re on a boat on the water. We are fortunate to have friends like Billy and Lisa, who love boating, and invite us along. It gives us great opportunities to see a different view of Abu Dhabi from the water.

As we zip along in our speed boat, with the wind in our hair, we are largely spared from the oppressive heat of the city, and are able to view the fascinating architecture unique to Abu Dhabi.

The Aldar headquarters is the first circular building of its kind in the Middle East

It is hard to imagine the layout of this building’s interior. It was voted ‘Best Futuristic Design 2008’ by the Building Exchange Conference, and it is easy to see why. One day, I must definitely pay it a visit, just to see inside.

The luxurious Ritz Carlton Hotel

The architecture of this 5 star hotel was inspired by the elegant buildings of Venice. The beautifully laid out beach resort is directly across from the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, and is set among exquisitely manicured gardens and trickling fountains.

The Ritz Carlton’s Venetian Village

The Venetian Village is in the grounds of the Ritz Carlton, and is Abu Dhabi’s newest place for fine dining. It boasts a collection of internationally acclaimed artisan restaurants, offering different cuisines from around the world. I have yet to go there, but it certainly looks interesting.

The Shangri-La is another luxury hotel with its own beach

The Shangri-La has an Arabic flavour about it. Traditional Arabic boats called abras meander through a winding waterway connecting different parts of the hotel. It even has its own traditional souk, where you can shop for traditional paintings, jewellery, clothes and other artefacts.

The Al Maqta Tower is 200 years old

The Al Maqta Tower, sits by Al Maqta Bridge, which links Abu Dhabi Island with the mainland. It originally served as a watch tower against invading bandits. Now, carefully restored, it is a cherished testament to the history of this Emirate. It is in stark contrast to the modern buildings and bridges that surround it.

Al Reem Island, Abu Dhabi

New buildings seem to be going up all the time in Abu Dhabi. Every time I pass Al Reem Island it seems as if there are more buildings. It is a world-class project of a self-contained waterfront development with residences, schools, hospitals and commercial enterprises. It is also the first freehold development in Abu Dhabi, where foreign nationals can buy property on a 99-year lease.

We were surprised to see this sand gazelle

After viewing the city from the water, we parked on one of the many islands so we could swim. As we docked, we were amazed to see a sand gazelle stroll across the sand in front of us. 

Billy’s pet shrimp

While we were enjoying ourselves immersed in the water, Billy noticed a shrimp swimming around him. He picked it up to look at it, and then tried to put it back in the water, but it kept coming back to him and trying to crawl up his arm. Perhaps that’s why the gazelle appeared. Billy is an animal whisperer. We’ll have to see what he conjures up next time.

Thanks again Billy and Lisa for a fun day out.

Elizabeth Coughlan

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