Abu Dhabi: 10th February 2011
Abu Dhabi is a city that sprang from nothing. They say there’s nothing here that’s more than 40 years old, and even the 40 year old stuff is being demolished to make way for newer buildings.
But, buildings aren’t really the kind of thing that makes people come here. Would you make a special trip to see ‘the tallest leaning tower in the world’? Doing business, or watching the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix are the main reasons for a visit. Coming for a holiday isn’t really on at the moment, and the guide was really hard put to show us the kind of thing to make us want to return.
Yes, Etihad Square and the Corniche are attractive enough, but would you come here especially to see them? The art gallery was a bit of a surprise. As the guide was talking about the paintings, he actually touched them! If he’d done that in the Tate or the Louvre, he’d really have set the alarm bells off!
The tour was saved from total anti-climax by a visit to the Heritage Centre. Unlike the one in Fujairah, it’s in a compound of permanent buildings, where craftsmen ply their trade, and sell their wares. Much as I liked it, I think I liked the Fujairah one better; this one seemed a little more slick and commercialised.
Probably Abu Dhabi’s main attraction is the shopping! We were offered the option of getting off the bus at one of the city’s foremost shopping centres, and making our own way back to the ship.
But, I can’t think of many worse ways to spend a holiday than trudging around a series of shops ‘just looking’, and we couldn’t think of anything we needed, so we stayed on the bus. But, almost everyone else got off.