Dubai 2017

In February 2017, my family and I decided to go to Dubai to celebrate my moms 40th birthday. We stayed for a week in a city called Sharjah which is approximately 20 minutes away from Dubai City Centre. We did several activities and I am going to tell you what we did. So, if you ever go to Dubai, you already have a rough guide on what to do!

Day 1:

The first day was mostly spent travelling, because of the 5 hour transit we had in Turkey. I didn’t mind the fact we had to wait as I had never been to the Istanbul Airport before so by the time I left, I pretty much knew it inside out. We decided to fly with Turkish Airlines as the tickets were so much cheaper than if we chose to fly with the likes of Emirates or Qatar Airways. We stayed at Sharjah Premier Hotel and Resort so we spent the first day relaxing by the pool and enjoying the sun. As we were by the coast, there was a nice breeze in the 18 degree weather.

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Day 2:

On the second day, we spoke to out hotels trip and excursion advisor and decided to go on the Desert Safari. I cannot for the life of me remember who we went on the Tour with but it was an amazing experience and one that I won’t forget! We started off by getting picked up at our hotel and getting driven to the desert. Once we reached there, we had the chance to go quad biking in the sand dunes! After an hour we came back to the driver who was the owner of the company. He took us on one hell of a car ride in the desert! I loved the thrill of it, however my little brother was hanging on for dear life in the back seat! After watching the beautiful sunset, he drove us to another place where we could ride camels and have a BBQ. I felt as though we really should have done the Safari Desert at the end of the trip because it automatically made my expectations really high for the rest of the trip!

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Day 3:

On the third day, we went on another excursion. We went to Abu Dhabi to go and see Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It took about an hour an a half to get there and it really was breathtaking. I have never in my life seen a more beautiful religious building before. The tour guide provided us with the outfit that we chose to wear to be respectful of the religion. We spent about two hours just exploring the different areas of the mosque then we went to the Heritage Village to have lunch.

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Day 4:

On the fourth day we were meant to go The Global Village however, because of the bad weather, it was closed. Therefore, we decided to go to Dubai Mall. I don’t think anything could’ve prepared me for how big Dubai Mall is. It is huge, there are 6 floors with over 1200 stores! I had already done research to know that there was a Tim Horton’s in the mall, but having to find it was another story! My brother and I had to use the touch screen tv to help us find it; it genuinely is a gigantic maze! Eventually we found it, we got ice caps, timbits and the famous double double coffee, to say I was in heaven was an understatement! We explored the mall and shopped for about 6 hours and then finished the night off by watching the Dubai Fountain Show outside the Mall.

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Day 5:

The fifth day was a very busy, jam-packed day. We went to the Miracle Gardens, we went around the palm islands and into the Atlantis Hotel, we went on a yellow boats tour and finally finished it off with going up the Burj Khalifa. The Miracle Garden was beautiful, I have never seen so many flowers be built onto different shapes; there were ostriches, houses, windmills, peacocks, hearts, airplanes and many more things. The Atlantis is a beautiful hotel and resort and we were lucky enough to go inside and have a look at the aquarium! We wanted to go on a specific yellow boats tour, however it was too windy so we could only go part of the journey. However, the boat ride was still good and we got to see beautiful views of the city!

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Day 6:

As the weather permitted, we decided to go to The Global Village. All my dreams of travelling the world came true! It really was something different; each country had its own place and the architecture of the buildings were that of the country.

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Day 7: Moms 40th Birthday!

The night before, my brothers, cousin and I decided to go to the supermarket and get my mom a cake for her birthday! We asked the hotel staff to bring it out when we were having breakfast! Unfortunately, we were also leaving Dubai the night of my moms birthday! So we had to make sure we were all packed and ready to go when we came back! My mom asked that we went to Deira, which is famous for its Gold Souks, also known as The Gold Market! So we spent a few hours shopping and then we had to go back to the hotel to leave for the airport.

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Overall, it was an amazing holiday and one that I definitely will not forget. I hope this has given you a small insight as to what there is to do in Dubai! It really is a beautiful city and the people are so nice! The architecture is on another level and there is always something to do and explore!

During this holiday, I made videos of what we did each day and you can find these videos on my youtube channel – Raakshaana Gnanamurali. I hope you enjoy watching them as I enjoyed making them!

 

“Travelling – it leaves you speechless, then it turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta

 

 

Being A Tourist In My Own City!

Hey guys,

So I am starting to write travel blogs, and thought why not include the city that I live in. I feel as though Edinburgh is such an underestimated city. It is a beautiful city, with the mixture of old town and new town, it shows how history has evolved and is still evolving. Although, we may not have the best weather conditions, we do have great historic sites such as Edinburgh Castle.

I would definitely recommend going into Edinburgh Castle if you have never been because who would want to miss the chance to see the Royal Crown Jewels in person? You get to see the history of Edinburgh and you also get an amazing view of the city!

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If you walk from Edinburgh Castle, along The High Street which is commonly known as The Royal Mile, you get to witness the beauty of Old Town. Cobbled streets, many Closes which link up the streets of Edinburgh, old buildings, pubs, St. Giles Cathedral, a variety of museums are just a small number of things which make up The Royal Mile.

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If you keep walking all the way down The Royal Mile, you will get to the Scottish Parliament, The Palace of Holyroodhouse and Holyrood Park (commonly known as Arthur’s seat which is the highest point). You can go up in your car or if you are up for a challenge, hike up on a sunny day and you will be rewarded with a beautiful view of the city.

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I love the National Museum of Scotland and I would definitely go there if it is a rainy day in Edinburgh (which is very likely). The National Art Gallery is also another place I would visit. There are two buildings: one is the main gallery and the other is used for exhibitions.

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You might have heard of the story of Greyfriars Bobby, if not it is the story of a dog who was very close with his owner, John. Once John died, Bobby refused to leave his owner’s grave. This continued on for 14 years until Bobby passed away in 1872. Greyfriars Bobby is buried in Greyfriars Kirkyard which is opposite Bobby’s statue. His headstone says “Let his loyalty and devotion be a lesson to us all.” Apparently, rubbing Greyfriars Bobby’s nose, will give you good luck, hence why his nose is discoloured as so many people have done it.

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Beside Greyfriars Bobby which is on George IV Bridge, is also the cafe where J.K Rowling wrote Harry Potter. The famous cafe is known as The Elephant House. She used names from the gravestones in Greyfriars Kirkyard for inspiration for the names of the characters in her books. So, why not check it out when you’re there, just don’t go during the night, you never know what you might see!

 

If you fancy a bit of retail therapy, I suggest going to Princess Street, George Street and Multree’s Walk. It can get quite tiring if you have been walking a long distance so why not stop off and take a breather in Princes Street Gardens. You can enjoy a wonderful view of the castle whilst you relax.

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If you want another breathtaking view of the city, you can walk up Calton Hill. Edinburgh is a city that is layered, which means there are streets which are literally built on top of each other. Victoria Street is a famous street for this and also Grassmarket, where the majority of the pubs are.

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If you fancy going to Leith to see the Royal Yacht Brittania and even do more shopping, you could do so at Ocean Terminal. If it is a nice sunny day why not take a stroll through Leith Walk.

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The meadows are a bit further out of town but if it is a nice day, it is the perfect place for a BBQ. I love the meadows especially in April because there are cherry blossom trees on both sides of the path! It is about a 10 minute walk from the National Museum of Scotland so it is not far at all.

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Anyway, that is all I have got about being a Tourist in Edinburgh. There are many more monuments, museums and art galleries to have look at. During August, there is the Fringe Festival and I would definitely recommend visiting during that period because it brings so many people together. There is so much to that you will never be bored!

 

“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.” – Henry Miller

 

Cuba 2012

In August 2012, my family and I went on holiday to Cuba! It was an amazing experience as I hadn’t been to Cuba before and I was excited for the Cuban Summer unlike the Scottish Summer!

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We had a few hours to kill once we landed, so we thought we’d check out the resort. It felt like we were on a tropical island. To go from 10 degrees to 32 degrees took a bit of getting used to; it was more the humidity than the heat that we had to get used to.

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As we couldn’t get changed into our swim suits and we were all positively dying because of the heat, we decided to make the most of it and jump into the sea. It was quite refreshing not going to lie.

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One thing I realised about Cuba was that there is history wherever you go. The buildings are beautiful and the cars, really are something else.

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The views are magnificent if you know where to go!

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We went to see a dolphin show and it was amazing! We got to feed them and thankfully they didn’t bite my hand!

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If you have a chance to go snorkelling when you are on holiday I would definitely recommend it! I was scared at first to go that far out into the sea, but once I was out there I got the adrenaline rush!

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We decided to go on an excursion to an island! That was the day, that I tanned so much, I was literally unrecognisable! Aside from the tanning, it was a great tour and they had good food, which is always important!

Of course, no holiday isn’t complete without a little souvenir shopping! Cuba is an amazing country to buy souvenirs because they have so many little markets where they sell handmade gifts and paintings. It is a very artistic country, what I mean by that is: the buildings are so pretty, the cars make you feel like you are in another world, the views are scenic, the people are so friendly  and to me that is what makes a holiday! The culture is incorporated into everything you see and hear and it truly was an amazing holiday!

This was the holiday that made me want to explore the world and see what else is out there! Hope you enjoyed my first travel blog!

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine