Breakfast was back at Kaleidoscope today and it has now been decked out in Christmas fare. After another stuffing we again… you guessed it, headed to the waterpark. We did however stop off at the private beach for some sand castle making and table tennis playing beforehand. It’s cooler and a bit foggy today and the water in the lazy river was totally freezing! We wrapped it up quicker and headed back to get ready for our tour tonight. We are off to see the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi and it’s the largest mosque in the country.
Hend is our tour guide and makes a great first impression hugging the kids and getting them as her side kicks. We are the first pick up and on the way to collect the rest of the guests we chat and find out she is from Egypt. She has kids go with her to collect the other guests and of course they love that. It’s a 1.5 hr drive to Abu Dhabi. It starts to rain and the weather is hazy. Not the best unfortunately for taking photos! Along the way she explains a bit about The United Arab Emirates. It was formed in 48 years. It was originally 9 separate states all fighting for survival. Then they found pearls in Abu Dhabi. That brought trade. Then the Japan worked out how to make cultured pearls and send the economy down again. When Sheikh Zayed of Abu Dhabi found oil, he then United 7 of the states into one. He built the whole infrastructure of Dubai etc from 1971-2004 when he died. It’s a country of peace where over 200 nationalities live together. Zero crime, zero drugs etc..
The Mosque is absolutely packed when we arrive but the place is breathtaking. There is an inner courtyard surrounded by pillars that look like palm trees with golden fronds and gemstone flowers running up the trunk. Unfortunately they have closed the main attraction due to the rain. The single woven piece of carpet is worth 30 million dollars and they don’t want people with wet feet walking on it. We spend an hour wandering before heading home. There is an amazing amount of work that has been put into every tiny detail of this place. From the delicate floral designs inlaid with semi-precious stones on the floor to the crystal chandelier filling the main prayer hall. The largest one is in this main hall and weighs approximately 12 tons! It sparkles with Swarovski crystals and shines with 40kg of 24-karat galvanised gold. It was definitely worth the trip and I recommend anyone going to Dubai to make the effort to head there even if just to admire it’s sheer size and amazing craftsmanship.