Vancouver Winter Wonderland

I know I haven't finished off our big trip yet, but I took a break from photos of the sunny middle east to share our wintery weekend.

This past weekend was an unusual one for Vancouver - we got snowed on! I wa sin Florida about a week before when we had also had a small dumping, and I had thought I had missed the snowfall for the year. I was mistaken, as this weekend we got more snow than I think we've had in all the years I've lived here. Sunday, we had a fun day out in the snow.

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Goodbye to the UAE

This post is over a month late - I blame Christmas. Here's one last post from our amazing trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Being so much after-the-fact, there's not a lot of content for this set.

Our flight home wasn't until midnight, so we had pretty much a full day for our last day in Dubai. We took full advantage, spending the morning at the beach, then spent some time wandering the Marina District and relaxing.

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Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Back to Dubai

After an amazing few days at the races, we were wrapping up our time in Abu Dhabi, and heading back to Dubai for a couple of days before our trip was ending. In the morning we visited the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, before taking the bus back to Dubai. We were staying in the Dubai Marina district for our last couple of nights, to experience the other extreme from the earlier part of our stay in Dubai.

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Qualifying Day at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Saturday was Qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix! We decided to split the day between sight seeing and the race, so we had a bit of a later start. We stopped by the Abu Dhabi Heritage Village and walked along the sea-front Corniche before taking a taxi to the Circuit. We walked the race track during the first qualifying session, enjoyed an air show by the UAE Air Force and finally watched as Lewis Hamilton took pole position for Sunday's race!

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Abu Dhabi - First Full Day at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

This ended up being a huge post - you were warned! Friday was our first full day at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix! Friday is a practice day for the drivers, which gave us about 3 hours of time at the track watching the action. The first session was in the early afternoon, and the second at the same time the race will start on Sunday. We also managed to walk around a lot of the track, and checked out the Yas Marina and the crazy Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi Hotel. 

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Dubai Day 3 - Mosques and the Beach

Our third day in Dubai was quite an interesting one. We spent the morning at the Jumeirah Mosque, where we got a tour and received an interesting talk on Islam, the local culture and what the various aspects of their lives are really like. It was fascinating. In the early afternoon we headed over to the Jumeirah Souk to wander and have lunch, then spent some time on the beach near the Burj Al Arab. After chilling at the hotel for the late afternoon, we headed out in the evening, back to Dubai Creek and the old souqs to experience things at night.

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Dubai Day 2 - A Desert Safari

 Our second day in Dubai was a full one. We got out pretty early and explored the older part of the city around Dubai Creek over the morning. We explored the souks and spent time on the Creek. In the afternoon and evening we joined a tour that took us out into the desert in Land Cruisers for some dune driving, and traditional Arabian entertainment. It was a really fun evening.

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Abu Dhabi and Dubai for Justine's Birthday!

Justine turned 40 this year, and my surprise to her was a big trip. Justine has been a big Formula 1 fan for a number of years, so I decided we should go to Abu Dhabi for the final race of the season. Given that we were going to travel so far, it made sense to make it a bigger trip, and spend some time in Dubai as well.


This trip will get split up over a number of posts as we explore these two cities in the UAE.

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Carcassonne, an Historic Fortified City

I had one day to spend doing touristy things while in Europe, so I decided to spend my day by taking the train out to Carcassonne. The fortified city consists essentially of a concentric design of two outer walls with 53 towers and barbicans to prevent attack by siege engines. The castle possesses its own drawbridge and ditch leading to a central keep. The walls consist of towers built over quite a long period. One section is Roman and is notably different from the medieval walls with the tell-tale red brick layers and the shallow pitch terracotta tile roofs. One of these towers housed the Catholic Inquisition in the 13th century and is still known as "The Inquisition Tower". It's a spectacular place, and I enjoyed spending the day exploring it.

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