Dan and I paid a visit to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque last November on a weekend layover in Abu Dhabi en route to the Seychelles. We had a lot of questions, including what to wear(!), before our visit, so here is what we learned to help you on your visit!
Mosque views. The entire Mosque campus is gorgeous.
THE SHEIKH ZAYED GRAND MOSQUE
First off, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is absolutely gorgeous. Honestly, one of the most beautiful and interesting things we have seen in a good while. Any visit to Abu Dhabi should not miss this important site.
While visiting the Seychelles last November (2022), Dan & I took a day trip to Moyenne Island from Mahé to “snorkel.” We didn’t really know what to expect besides a boat ride and snorkeling, so here is a review of our day if you are considering something similar. First up, Moyenne Island is a small island in the Seychelles’ Sainte Anne Marine National Park. Hundreds of years ago Moyenne Island was a pirate island, but in the recent past, it was abandoned from 1915 until the 1960s when a sole English newspaper editor purchased the island and lived on Moyenne Island alone until he died 2012. Wild, and kind of scary… Moyenne Island is now a national park and a flora and fauna reserve, and its very popular with tourists.
Our boat waiting for departure for Moyenne Island!
The easiest way to reach Moyenne Island for many tourists is by way of a group day tour, which is exactly what we did. Due to the relationship our hotel, the Mango House, had with Creole Travel Services, we took our trip to Moyenne with Creole Travel Services. We were happy with the company, but a number of other companies seem to do a very similar tour and I wouldn’t necessarily pick Creole over another company. In any case, our morning started with a pick up at the Mango House and a 25 minute drive to an old, seemingly abandoned, port near the airport. We were a little iffy on entering the abandoned port…
Dan and I had a little over an hour to kill in the Mahé airport when flying back from the Seychelles to Abu Dhabi (and eventually to New York). The Salon Vallee De Mai Lounge in the Mahé airport offers complimentary entrance to Priority Pass members, so we went in for an adult beverage. This is my review of the Salon Vallee De Mai lounge (as of November 2022).
The Seychelles just before we left to fly home = (
The Salon Vallee De Mai lounge is located on the second floor of the Mahé airport, up a short flight of stairs across from the Takamaka Rum bar. The entrance is quite pretty and keeps with the “tropical island” theme, which follows throughout the lounge. As you will read below, while some areas were lacking in the lounge, the decor was not one of them. From the ceiling to the tables and chairs, I was definitely getting “tropical vacay” vibes – too bad we were leaving! The check-in lady was lovely and answered all of our questions. Once inside, the lounge opens up into a large room scattered with tables and chairs spread throughout. The ones on the right side have great plane views!
Flying back from the Seychelles last November, Dan and I had an overnight layover in Abu Dhabi. Due to the flight times (arriving around 9:30 PM and leaving the next morning around 10:00 AM), we decided to stay in a hotel near the airport to get some sleep prior to our flight home. Turns out that the Abu Dhabi airport has its own hotel in Terminal 1, so we booked a room there for the night. This is my review of that room and hotel.
Back in the Seychelles. We were sad to leave!
LOCATION OF THE AIRPORT HOTEL
The Abu Dhabi Airport Hotel T1 International Departures hotel is located in Abu Dhabi Terminal 1. It’s easy to find and connected to the Al Dhabi Lounge. Terminal 1 is connected to Terminal 3 and travelers can walk between the two terminals without going through security – easy peasy. The walk takes about 10 minutes, maybe longer with mobility issues.
Dan waiting to get into the lounge next to the hotel. There was a line due to the crowds in Abu Dhabi this weekend.
To celebrate the end of 2021 and beginning of 2022, Dan and I flew to Lisbon, Portugal (where we got married!) for four nights and five days. We had great weather and a lovely time, despite the crazy Omicron Covid testing requirements in place at the time (no longer in place). This article details what we did, ate, and drank in Lisbon in the winter!
Me and Dan celebrating 2022!
DAY ONE – LANDING IN LISBON, EATING AT THE TIME OUT MARKET, & A 25 EURO TASTING MENU!
Dan and I arrived in Lisbon very early in the morning and luckily, we were able to immediately check into our hotel room at the Intercontinental Lisboa. Not surprisingly, the Intercontinental Lisboa was still decorated for Christmas and everything looked very nice. Due the early hour of our arrival, a nap was most certainly in order.
Christmas decor at the Intercontinental Lisboa!
After a pretty sizable nap (we did arrive before sunrise), Dan and I walked from our hotel to Lisbon’s TimeOut Market for lunch. The walk from the Intercontinental Lisboa to the TimeOut Market goes through some pretty parts of Lisbon and we took lots of photos. We also picked up some Covid tests en route, as the rules were super strict and if we couldn’t get a PCR test, we would need to self-test before entering any restaurants, etc. Unlike the US, at-home Covid tests were cheap and plentiful.
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