From Dubai to South Africa

Wow, I can’t believe myself how fast the time has past. The 2 1/2 months after joining my new home-at-sea are gone.

From Dubai via  Abu Dhabi and then India, Sri Lanka, Zanzibar ( Tanzania) and the Seychelles, here is how I saw few of the places I went out at.

Dubai

Dubai is with no doubt a city of contrast, innovation and creativity. It is the city where I spend nearly three months in the year of 2012/2013 and I was excited to be back. Since I have seen the sights of New and Old Dubai and I also had very limited time to be out, I decided to drive straight to Downtown Dubai, went through the Dubai Mall, before having dinner by the Fountain, while watching the “music and light” water spectacle in the evening.

Abu Dhabi

First overnight after embarking my new home at sea and I was back in the finance capital of the UAE- namely Abu Dhabi.  The weather at this time of the year ( end of November) was so hot with not even one cloud in the sky to keep a shadow. I couldn’t wait until the evening to finish my duty and enjoy the evening life of Abu Dhabi. We went to a really nice roof top wine bar with spectacular views to the lightened skyliners. It was a warm Sunday evening, but the bars and restaurants were not so busy.

Mumbai and  Cochin, India

After two sunny and hot days at sea, we reached another city that never sleeps- Mumbai. My first time in Mumbai just few years ago, it was very exciting. Now, not so much, but having in mind that we were going to spend another day at sea, I had to be out. Between our two stops in India, Mumbai is definitely the city I was enjoying to be out at. Cosmopolitan, vibrant with beautiful architecture and sweet – cinnamon aroma ( at least in the part I was hanging around), smart dressed students or workers, who didn’t mind slowing down to give clear directions, Mumbai has something fascinating which I did love and which keep my curiosity for an upcoming visit of India ( I always wanted to do the Golden Triangle).

Cochin from the other hand was different – rural, green, with amazing sea views. With most of the sights located close from each other and around 20 minutes drive from the Cruise Port of Cochi, I decided to arrange a car with a driver to take me to the Fort Cochin, Mattencherry Palace, Chinese fishing nets, Jewish quarter & synagogue, St. Francis Church, Dutch Cemetery. While visiting all those places, I actually had fun, the driver introduce me to “art” of using the Chinese fishing nets ( not my thing really) but it was fun. We also seen a beautiful elephant which I got to touch as well. Most impressed I remain with the Jewish quarter – the colours of the buildings, the shops and most of all the cafés in the area. For my next stop in Cochin on our way back from South Africa to Europe via India, I will try an Ayurveda treatment. If you have a bit more time, I recommend you of going on  a tour along the backwaters.

Colombo, Sri Lanka

Our next stop was scheduled to be Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Located so close to India, both of the countries sharing a lot in term of nature, people, lifestyle and cuisine. With two days spend in Colombo, there was quite a group from the ship that we went out in the evening, as soon as we arrived. For our surprise, there was not much happening in night life of Colombo, but we found a nice restaurant (http://ministryofcrab.com/ ), where we tried one of the local specialties – the curry crab. One of the facts, I do love about traveling to Asia is that the Spa’s and massage studios are open 24/7, so after the dinner and the walk in the Downtown of Colombo, we visited a small spa ( at around 2:00am) on our way back to the ship. The next day, as soon as, I was out, I jumped on a tuk – tuk and went to see few of the sights of Colombo-  Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple ( I just loved it), Viharamahadevi park – Victorian, Independence Memorial Hall, before dropping me at the t-Lounge by Dilmah (http://www.dilmaht-lounge.com/) , where I was meeting friends of mine from Sri Lanka. Crowded, congested and very contrast, I was again happy to be able to see something from a place where I didn’t go before.

Zanzibar, Tanzania

One of my favourite places from this first two months was Zanzibar, the Tanzanian island located just few miles away from the East Coast of Africa, and already cannot wait of re-visiting again in March. Dazzling white-sandy beaches, coral reefs, cobbled streets, stone towns, mango trees, strong coffee, hospitable people, the tourism in Zanzibar is booming and I can understand why. With appr. 4 hours off in the afternoon and great friend as company, we simply decided to book our places near the swimming pool of the luxury Serena Hotel (http://www.serenahotels.com/serenazanzibar/) , located at the beachfront of Zanzibar and within the Old “stone” Town, which we didn’t miss of visiting on our way back to the ship.

Mahe, Seychelles

Mahe, the largest and most developed island on the Seychelles, was our last stop-over before heading to Kenya and then South Africa. As such, everybody was so excited of spending as long as possible on the beach, myself included. Beau Vallon is most probably the most popular beach in the area and it is located just around 15 minutes drive from the port of Mahe. It was a clear and sunny morning, so first thing after we had all our guests gone for an excursions, was to take a taxi and head to the famous beach. The taxi coast around 20 USD and while driving to the beach, I could enjoy a bit of the landscapes of the island. When reaching the beach, honestly I didn’t find it as fascinating and beautiful as the one in Zanzibar, but I had a great time and great breakfast near the beach too.

Next to come will be more about wine tastings and Safari in South Africa.