Louvre - Abu Dhabi
Thankful for a relaxing morning, our group started our day around 10:00am to explore the wonderful artworks of Louvre- Abu Dhabi, located in the Saadiyat Island Cultural District. Louvre only opened in November of 2017, and has since been a favorite tourist attraction in the Emirates. With seasonal exhibits and temporary sculptures, this museum makes sure that you can come back and have a new experience and art to admire.
Our tour guide led us through each 'chapter' of the museum, thoroughly explaining the most historically accurate and popular pieces. Each of their 12 chapters has themes to represent the connections between humanity. The first chapter being permanent artifacts, the second being temporary pieces, and the last chapter is dedicated to contemporary pieces and commissions, where artists create works specifically for the Louvre. After the 2-hour private tour, the we landed in the most photographic room of the museum; surprisingly, it was the exit. Over 8 layers of steel and aluminum hovered above us, creating a star-like effect from shadows of the sun. International architect Jean Nouvel created the dome after being inspired by the UAE, and aimed to create a symbol for their achievements and visions. The Louvre likes to call it their 'rain of light'.
The Mall at World Trade Center Abu Dhabi
A complex of three skyscrapers, the Mall at the World Trade Center is home to many national and international stores, as well as a very modern Souk. We were given ample time to explore these shopping districts and enjoy local food for lunch. It was also a great time to practice bargaining for goods before our Dubai Mall trip - that's where it counts! Before being a mall, this district was the heart of the business and trading hub. Now, we are able to explore 5 stories of unique clothing and incense shops, restaurants, jewelers, spice markets, and more - all in one trip.
You guessed it!
One of the many highlights on our trip (who am I kidding, they are all highlights) came to us pretty early on. We were given ~4 hours in the world's first Ferrari-branded theme park to ride on ALL the rides, shop in the largest Ferrari retail store, and explore the Italian themed village display. Not only did we check Formula Rossa, the fastest roller coaster in the world (approx. 155 mph in 4.9 seconds), off our bucket list, but also the tallest looping coaster, the Flying Aces (my personal favorite!).
Dinner at Al Fanar
To end the night, we shared one long table together - true family style - for an authentic Emirate style dinner. We were able to bond over our traditional plates of lime and lentil soup, cucumber salad, and samosas, before moving onto our main courses. These consisted of Machboos Robyan- Arabic spiced shrimp served over yellow rice, Kebab Emirate - marinated steak and chicken with yogurt served over pita, and Jesheed- crumbled baby shark cooked with onion and Arabic spices... I'm not kidding.
Dessert left the night on a sweet note, complete with ~everyone's favorite~ date pudding, walnut date cake, and golden fried dough balls covered in date syrup. Hm...notice a theme?
Check back in tomorrow for a recap on our full day in Al Ain- the largest city in the Emirates!