ImageToday is our second day in Dubai and we went on the “City of Merchants” Tour. The tour is a tour of the Traditional part of Dubai. Our first stop was a photo stop at the Burj Al Arab Hotel that’s shaped like a sailboat.  A truly magnificent hotel both outside and inside. Cost of stay at this hotel starts at $2700.00/night and the most expensive is $27, 500/night. Advantage with the expensive room is a helicopter pickup at the airport and you land on a landing desk at the hotel.  You have your own check-in right in your room. This hotel is located in the sea and they claim to be the only 7* hotel, although it is really only considered a 5* hotel.

We made a brief stop at the Jumeirah Mosque, the only mosque that allows the public in. P1060428

Next we drive past the Jumeirah Beach Hotel.             Jumeirah Beach hotel    Another beautiful hotel located at the Jumeirahah Beach, and is a family hotel. This hotel is massive and is located on a beach that will rival many in the world!  We would loved to have spent a week just spending time there. Interesting note is that Mondays the Beach is ONLY open to Woman.  Because of their culture they want the woman to feel comfortable not being totally covered up so they get the beach to themselves.

Next stop is the Dubai Museum. P1060468P1060479P1060488P1060470P1060469

It is very interesting to see how much Dubai has changed and grown over the decades. It showed us about the Pearl Industry, Carpentry, spices, Tailors, as well as information about the sea and desert. The Museum showed pictures of how Dubai has changed over theyears, the jewelry they used to wear all the time, the trinkets that were in their homes as well as military items.  Was great to see the history of Dubai.

Our next area to visit is very traditional Dubai. We took a traditional “abra” (water taxi). P1060491

These are open with just a bench to sit on and hold us to 20 people, cost is $1.00 of their money to go on it. Old Dubai is on the other side where the Spice and Gold Souk’s are.  Here you can buy spice by bulk and the Gold Souk is huge with over 200 Jewelry stores where you can buy Gold, Diamonds, precious stones and pearls. You barter at these stores to get the best price.  They say that you can usually barter them down 70% from the original price.   P1060500P1060497While at the Gold Souk we saw the Guinness World Book of Records heaviest Gold Ring.  P1060856P1060858

The Spice and Gold Souks were absolutely amazing to go through.  If you love jewelry as much as I do, I was in heaven in the Gold Souk!

We were looking forward to so much more to see in this amazing city!


DUBAI…An Amazing City

Dubai isn’t a place I thought I was dreaming of going to, or that I ever thought I would have the opportunity to visit, but my husband was fortunate enough to win a trip to Dubai compliments of Emirates Airline and Kompass Tours located in Dubai.

With a few bumps in the itinerary, with us having to fly from Toronto (where we were supposed to fly to Dubai from) to New York because the Toronto flight was oversold.  We arrived there and there is was a huge snow storm arriving in New York threatening that we may not make it out that day either.  BUT we were fortunate enough to be the only plane that took off. 

Emirates Airlines were so gracious in upgrading us to Business Class! And let me tell you…what an experience.  Neither Lorne or I ever thought we would be flying anywhere in business class. What a treat! Full lay down beds with duvet to out under you so its more comfy, all the drinks you want, food was amazing, a bar in the back of the place as this is the double-decker plane that Emirates owns where economy class is on the bottom and Business and First Class AND a bar are on the top-level.
Emirate Airlines is unbelievable. The service, was out of this world. And because I think the world is getting way to casual, it was such a treat to see the Flight attendants (men and woman) dressed in professional looking clothes, their hair was styled (womans up and neat and mens short and clean-cut). The woman’s makeup was impeccable. After talking to one of the attendants, said that Emirates is very specific about the type of people they want to represent their company. It was refreshing to see and hear!
After a very long flight we arrived at Dubai. The airport there is beautiful. Very streamlined and easy to get around in. We were met by a representative Arabian Adventures and taken to our hotel, The Ascot”.
This hotel is located in the middle of the city in the Computer area of the city. Apparently Dubai has different areas designated to different products like Computers, etc. There were small computers stores side by side everywhere with just boxes of computers and accessories in them.
Out hotel was okay, not one that I would send my clients to, but okay. The pool wasn’t heated at all, the food wasn’t great there, the rooms were small, but clean.
Our adventure began in Dubai and we were looking forward to it!

Grand European River Cruise…An Amazing Cultural Experience

The Viking Longships

The Viking Longships

Imagine floating along 3 Rivers, through 5 Countries, past Fairytale Castles, picturesque vineyards, and amazing countryside.
The Grand European Tour starts in Amsterdam and tours along 3 rivers, through 5 countries, stops at 9 UNESCO World all the way to Budapest.

River Cruising has so many benefits for a rewarding vacation. The onboard experience is much more relaxed than a Oceanliner, with no crowds, no long lineups, the general atmosphere is more relaxed, therefore making it a more enjoyable experience. Meal times are a major focal point where it’s on a more casual atmosphere, the meals are unbelievable featuring regional specialties and contemporary cuisine and with it being a smaller vessel you will get to know more of the other people onboard. On most River Cruises your wine, beer and soft drinks are included at onboard lunches and dinners, as well as 24 hour complimentary cappuccino, coffee or tea, along with so many other extras that you don’t get on a Oceanliner.

The itineraries on a river cruise focus more on the smaller towns and villages because they can navigate into the smaller ports. These are places you won’t see on a Oceanliner. These intimate places are a way to see what the life if like in the different areas in a country away from the large centers.

On the Grand European Tour you will have 13 guided tours included in your itinerary, complete with audio headsets in the language of your choice. With a vast array of Cultural experiences, enjoying concerts featuring Austrian Classics and Baroque organ music, you can attend lectures on current affairs in Germany, Holland and The European Union; experience a Viennese market and even learn how to make Rudesheimer coffee. And how about learning the art of glassblowing or listen to the music of Mozart. These are just some of the amazing experience you will have on a River Cruise.
What you won’t find on a River Cruise are Casinos as well as there is very little entertainment except possibly a piano player or a local act brought on to entertain you. But that is what makes the River Cruise Experience so wonderful. You can go off the ship at some ports to experience the nightlife in a local pub or a cultural experience that is going on.
You won’t have a huge water slide in the middle of the ship, instead you will have a quaint dining area, or on top a mall swimming pool with deck chair around to sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery as you are floating along the river to your next stop.

River Cruising is really all about an amazing Cultural experience. Join us July 12 – 26, 2015 on this amazing journey through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Slovakia and Hungary.