Posted by: englishdubai | January 28, 2009

A Few of my Favourite Things

The last time I visited Abu Dhabi airport was twenty four years ago when I left the UAE after having spent a year at school there. I recall quite vividly the mosaicked center piece, which seemed at the time to be a huge futuristic dome like building. On my return it seemed that relatively little had changed. The mosaic was still there, however it seemed to me that the whole place had shrunk. What was once a cavernous hall with an amazing design was now little more than an aging terminal that now pales in comparison to the recently opened Terminal three at Dubai International. Abu Dhabi Airport is under re-development and I have little doubt that when it opens it will amazing.

If you have never been this gives you an idea of the interior of Abu Dhabi international:

It was also nice to fly for the first time on Etihad. As a Gold card carrying member of Skywards I always wondered how Etihad would compare. The answer is very well. The planes interiors are hues of cream, gold and brown making for a relaxed interior. The in flight entertainment system was easy to use though did not have the wide selection Emirates does. The food and service was great and despite the four hour delay caused by having to replace the plane I had a good trip. Besides, as the only carrier offering a direct flight to Brussels it was worth it to avoid the hassle of changing flights.

Despite being a quick trip to Brussels I got a chance to have a very brisk early morning walk around the city, though once again I was forced to buy a beanie before I got frostbite. Warmth before style every time in my book! Here is Birsen and I are enjoying the sights of Grand Place:

Then after a warming cup of hot chocolate I made a beeline for Neuhaus and procured some delicious pralines and truffles. The choice was slightly bewildering but the shopkeeper was really helpful and I soon left with exactly what I needed:

There are numerous shops selling chocolate around Grand Place, the names are familiar such as  Godiva or Dolfin. I however loved the window display for this shop with their glorious range of sweets:

For me no trip to Belgium is complete without some healthy sampling of the local beer to wash down the moules avec frites. I spotted a nice shop with a wide variety of beer glasses. Sadly luggage constraints and a couple of boxes of chocolates weighing me down meant I would have to save these souvenirs for my next visit:

It was a fun but tiring 48 hour trip to Brussels. Now, if I fancy feeling a little European the Belgian Beer Cafe situated in the Crowne Plaza at Dubai Festival City does a really good job of re-creating the atmosphere and feel of the place. The only difference is that while the food and drink is pretty good, it comes at an eye-watering price.


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