After a 6 hour flight from Montreal to Amsterdam and a 7 hour flight onward, we have finally arrived in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. We settled in at the Hilton Abu Dhabi, where an Arabic suite was assigned to us. Intricate carpets, gold tapestry, a full-size kitchen with dining room and separate bedroom surprised us.

A short while after arriving, we met up with our cousins Helen and Richard from Guelph, ON. They travelled from Toronto to Paris and then Paris to Abu Dhabi.

We did nothing that evening, as it was already late.

The following day, it was a balmy 30C and sunny, as we climbed into a taxi for a short ride to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, an Islamic prayer and meeting place capable of holding 5,000 men and women; this wonderful structure took 11 years to build. Sylvia put on the traditional “Abaya”, the long and hooded robe required to be worn by women to “cover up”.

This architectural and design wonder is the largest mosque in the UAE. On an informed guided tour, its minarets, domes and turrets are designed for cooling purposes with open-air simplicity. They are adorned by Italian marble, acacia wood from USA and Murano chandelier glass.

In the evening, we dined in the hotel at The Jade restaurant, an Asian fusion of Peking Duck, Singapore Noodles and Indian curries.

After dinner, we called it a night to rest up for our embarcation aboard the Celebrity Constellation cruise ship.

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