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.
We were up pretty early again this morning, as we wanted to get out to see the mosque and do the 10:00 tour. We got all sorted out and checked out of the hotel, then headed over to Tim Horton's for breakfast. We are such creatures of habit...
Once again, we had a pretty long wait for a taxi outside the mall, but eventually we were off to the mosque. We had heard amazing things about the mosque, but words just can't describe this place. It is massive on a scale that you just can't comprehend. It can support prayer for 40,000 people; there are four minarets that are 102 meters tall; there are 82 domes and 1,096 pillars. The entire structure is done up in white marble, and throughout the marble is inlaid with semiprecious stone forming amazing floral designs. It just incredibly beautiful.
There was an organized tour going off at 10:00, which we joined up with. The guy giving the tour was quite personable, and he provided background on on the mosque, Islam, and the culture of the region. He covered a lot of the same ground that we heard at the mosque in Dubai, but is was interesting to hear what was the same, and where some of the variations were. The tour lasted about 45 minutes, and took us around both the exterior and the equally stunning interior of the mosque. It has the world's largest carpet (the whole place is one single, handmade carpet), and do have the largest chandeliers. They used Swarovski crystals in all of the pieces - 40 million in total. It has to be seen to be believed.
After touring the mosque for a couple of hours we were pretty wiped. It was really hot that day, and the sun reflecting off the white marble was killer. Such an amazing place - I can't recommend it highly enough. We hopped in a cab back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and headed back to the bus station for our two hour trip back to Dubai.
Once back in Dubai, we took a taxi out to the Marina district, and our hotel - the JA Ocean View. I had decided we would have a bit more of a relaxing couple of days on the end of the trip, with some beach time and the more modern view of Dubai. The hotel was great - overlooking the beach and walking distance to all sorts of interesting shops and restaurants.
After getting settled, we headed to the waterfront for some lunch, before wandering along the beach for a couple of hours. The water was really nice, and Justine collected some cool shells, and found a small sea star in the sand. After wandering, we came back to the hotel and had a drink on the patio beside the pool as the sun set.
After relaxing for a while, we headed upstairs and got ready for dinner. The last time I was in Dubai I had found this great Mexican restaurant at one of the hotels. I wanted to try and have dinner there again, so I made us a reservation. We took a taxi over, and were there in no time.
Sadly, the place wasn't as I remembered. The food was good, and the location was nice, but the one thing I remembered about the place (fresh made guacamole at the table) was no longer a thing, and the awesome rooftop bar was only open on Sunday nights. Not sure why, but it made the end of the evening a bit disappointing. Still, it was another great day.