Blogs from Middle East - page 13


Middle East » Oman » Dhofar March 30th 2019

Queen Mary 2 and cruising to Salalah Great transfer to QM2 and looking forward to 3 days at sea before berthing in Salalah. QM2 has been remastered since our last cruise on her in 2015. So what has changed, exploring shows not a lot. To me she is still imbalanced with the Queens room are the rear of the ship and access is still up and down. They’ve created a lovely Carinthia lounge which used to be the Winter Gardens, a very underused space but now a more airy area!!! So apart from extra cabins on and extra kennels, nothing much has changed, general decor and titivation!! Salalah is a southern city in the Sultanate of Oman, the capital of the Dhofar region I worked here in 1977, more in Muscat but there was a dairy ... read more

Middle East » Saudi Arabia » Khobar March 30th 2019

Being assigned to work in a remote area where you can only see vast deserts and camels makes someone a stranger when the latter had a chance to visit the city. A lot has changed since I've visited this place. The developments in this area have made it more attractive to locals, tourists and expat like me. A nice sea view, lots of green and breezy weather compared to our work site which is dry and barren. Al-Khobar is a big city, and one of the cleanest and neatest with huge shopping malls, hotels, wide streets, and high-rise buildings. Btw, Al-Khobar has become the first city in the MENA region to benefit from a pilot project on the fifth-generation wireless network, or 5G network. Come now and visit Al-Khobar!... read more
Nice place to sit
Neat and clean
Nice to walk around

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai March 25th 2019

Dubai 23rd & 24th March Well its a hard life. Our second day in Dubai (at leisure) gave us time to explore the QE2 more with an afternoon tour (more Structured) to give an insight to what they are going to preserve and what to modernise. It’s a busy ship, I know its a hotel but to us walking up the gangways, you do come on board. Today there were conferences, a birthday party (Paddington themed) for a 2 year old (no expense spared) and business meetings. This evening we were in the Queens Grill for a 5 course dining experience, and it didn’t disappoint. From the Amuse Bouche, Soup (potato & leek), Fish (Sea Bass, curry butternut, samosa, Coriander crusted potato & pickled shallots), a main of Angus Beef Tenderloin (with braised beef cheek, a ... read more

Middle East » United Arab Emirates » Dubai March 23rd 2019

Saturday 23rd March I now realise why we don’t like flying. Ok, the initial boarding at Birmingham was tolerable, the flight tolerable but when we landed at Dubai so did 22 other flights within 30 to 40 mins and that caused chaos in passport control and immigration. Our accommodation looked good as we circled waiting to land, the Queen Elizabeth 2 looking majestic in Port Rashid lit by a watery morning sun. She looked to all intent and purposes ready to set sail but sadly her cruising days are long gone but from a distance she was looking good. This holiday is to reacquaint us with Queen Elizabeth 2, the first ship we ever cruised on and we jumped at the chance to stay on her when the package was announced a few months ago. We ... read more

Middle East » Iraq » North » Arbil March 22nd 2019

Karl May once wrote adventure novel called Durchs Wilde Kurdistaneven though he had never been there before. We went to the center of that area in nowadays Iraq, straight to the mountains. Is Iraqi Kurdistan really wild? Let´s see. I like seeing places where there is almost impossible to meet tourists. Because of that you are able to get to know locals better - too see who they truly are. Also, you will have a unique travelling experience. Nowadays, everybody can travel everywhere. Massive tourism is killing "spirit "of countries that is often hard to see. Luckily, there are still places that you can discover or re-discover. Mountain range Zagros can be considered to be one of these places. These mountains take big part of today's Iraq and Iran. And we stood right ... read more
Before the start
View to Halgurd
Iran mountains

Middle East » Jordan » South » Petra March 21st 2019

We arrived at Petra with apprehension that it would rain. The walk in from the entry gate took us past many Nabatean monuments built more than 2000 years ago. The Nabateans buried theIr dead in intricate tombs that were cut out of the mountainsides. Petra came under lots of other influences including Roman and Byzantine before being deserted following an earthquake and changing trade routes. The Siq, the narrow gorge that leads visitors into Petra, resulted from a natural splitting of the mountain. Originally there was a triumphal arch spanning the entrance to it. We walked along the cobblestone paths dodging horse drawn carriages, camels and donkeys and many other tourists. The entrance to the Treasury reveals Petra’s most impressive facade. It is 40 metres high and decorated with Corinthian capitals, friezes and figure. It is ... read more
Ride rather than walk
The Siq
Gutters for water

Middle East » Jordan » South » Wadi Rum March 19th 2019

Our next adventure was an overnight stay at Wadi Rum In a stunning desert. We stayed in a Bedouin style camp. They are dotted everywhere including one that has pods looking like round space ships. The film , The Martian, was filmed at Wadi Rum. Our tents had an ensuite and tiled floors which made them very comfortable. Also wifi. We had a ride in jeeps out to the sand dunes to see a number of ancient carved inscriptions and pictures. We then went to see the carvings paying tribute to Lawrence and King Abdullah. We waited then for the sun to set before getting on our camels to ride back to camp.Lots of laughter involved. We had a lovely dinner of lamb which was cooked in a pit in the ground. Unfortunately the weather changed ... read more
A Bedouin camp based on space
Our camp

Middle East » Jordan » West » Dead Sea March 17th 2019

An extremely cold and windy day. We left our hotel for the journey to the Dead Sea. Along the way we took photos of the snow on the side of the road. We stopped at Shobak Castle built during the crusades in 1115 built on a conical mountain overlooking the caravan and pilgrimage routes. This allowed King Baldwin, Jerusalem’s first titled king to control the areas commerce. It is a huge site which was surrounded by agricultural land to feed the people of the site. It was blowing so hard the we were almost blown off the castle top. We stopped for a photo op of the smallest hotel in the world - a VW bug fitted out with cushions and blankets on the side of the road. We reached our hotel at the Dead Sea ... read more
Me floating in Dead Sea
Cathy and Kevin
Flat seas the next morning but we were leaving

Middle East » Lebanon » Baalbek March 15th 2019

Friday March 15, 2019 – Today Kat and I headed out to see two UNESCO sites, both archaeological. We stopped at the Wooden Bakery after Kat’s shower and she got some pastry, and we had to wait longer than expected for the Uber due to traffic. I was a little nervous, but we arrived in plenty of time. We checked in and got seats on the bus – this time in the second row. The Germans from Wednesday who sat behind us were now sitting in front of us. The French guys were also on this tour again with us. I tried to find the round bread guy, but no luck today. Our tour guide was named Lucy and she was much, much better at dispensing knowledge than the woman we had on the last tour. ... read more
Cold, rainy and plastic bags on feet
Classic look

Middle East » Lebanon March 14th 2019

Thursday March 14, 2019 – Another good day. I woke up early, as always, and did a little internetting, since it works fast in the morning. Eventually we were both awake and on our way to the Wooden Bakery for a breakfast pastry. I decided to pass, as my stomach felt a little troubled. Kat called us an Uber, which cost twice what we had expected due to it being a “busy time”, but we decided it would be worth it to get on our way to the Jeita Grotto. It was a bit rainy outside which made it a coincidentally good time to hit the enormous cave system. There is an upper cave and a lower cave, and usually you would take a cable car to the upper cave, walk inside, and then take a ... read more
Jeita Grotto
Jeita Grotto

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