Globe Trotting J's 2019 Trip Day 6: Wisdom Begins in Wonder
I cannot tell you how nice it was to start today with some relaxation. We all slept in without trying after staying up relatively late the night before and didn’t let the bright Arabian sun wake us up. When we finally rolled out of bed Jake and I went down to the third floor to get a workout in while Jenn slept. Even after we arrived back in our room after an almost hour long workout Jenn decided not to join us for breakfast downstairs. She really missed out because like every St Regis we’ve visited they sure do know how to put on a breakfast spread. They had a little bit of everything along with a menu to order different egg items from. Jake got some eggs benedict and I just stuck with a light breakfast from the buffet. We had a nice little brother date in the beautiful breakfast room before heading back up to the room.
After breakfast we finished unpacking, had our items for the day pressed, and then planned out our day. Originally the game plan was to go to the Lourve Abu Dhabi and the Grand Mosque afterwards. But when we checked in they told us we really should check out the Presidential Palace which is very close to our hotel. We decided to give it a shot and so added it to our itinerary for the day. Jenn went downstairs to talk to the concierge who helped secure us tickets for both the Presidential Palace and the Grand Mosque and at 1 PM we left the hotel and grabbed an Uber to start our day.
We arrived at the Presidential Palace and were immediately hit by its grandeur. When the Uber dropped us off we went through the welcome center, and onto a bus to take us through the gates into the complex, and up to the main building. I’ll just put it out there that this is by far the most opulent, beautiful, perfect example of excess that I’ve ever seen in my life. When we got off the bus and walked up the massive building these two massive doors were opened by a security guard to let us into the grand hall that took my breath away. I’ve never seen anything more grand in my life. We walked into this massive hall where we were one of the only guests and walked through it. We visited the room of Presidential Gifts which had amazing items from fifty or so countries (not one from the US that we saw). We then visited the “Spirit of Collaboration” room which is where the Federal Supreme Council, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council come together. We then walked to through the House of Knowledge which held very old versions of the Torah, Bible, and Koran. And the last room we walked through was the Presidential Banquet room which was massive.
It took us about an hour to walk through everything. When we left we spent fifteen minutes afterwards taking pictures in their grand courtyard and surrounding areas. What I can express enough is how perfect everything about the Presidential Palace is. It puts the White House, Buckingham Palace, and pretty much any other government building to shame in how well kept and impressive their facilities are. We couldn’t get enough of them. When we finally did leave we took the bus back to the visitor center and grabbed another Uber to take us to the Lourve Abu Dhabi.
The drive from the Presidential Palace to the Lourve was about twenty minutes and we arrived there and were dropped off right at the entrance. We showed the front staff our tickets and were whisked away to the brand new Lourve which opened in 2017 was absolutely incredible. The one thing I noticed right away was how intentional each room was laid out. There wasn’t too much in any one spot and they had more interactive features then almost any other museum we’ve been too.
We went through the first half dozen rooms in about an hour and then decided to take a quick lunch break at the cafe. Jake had their tomato pasta with mushrooms and Jenn and I had their burgers. Jake will make fun of me for this but I thought the burger was outstanding. It was also a nice break after almost three hours of walking around both the Presidential Palace and the Lourve.
When we finished with our time at the Lourve with touring the remaining dozen or so rooms before leaving an hour later. I could have easily spent half a day at the Abu Dhabi Lourve. It is so well orchestrated and so well developed that it made you never feel overwhelmed. I think we all adored every second there. Our final stop of day was the one we were all most excited and that was to the Grand Mosque. We scored a very quick Uber to the Grand Mosque which was about a thirty minute drive from the Lourve.
We were lucky enough to have the concierge already print us tickets so we walked right in the visitor entrance, Jenn received her traditional garb (she chose the color red) and we made our way through the underground tunnel to the Grand Mosque. We arrived a little after 6 PM and for the next 2+ hours we walked around the mosque, took hundreds upon hundreds of pictures, and walked through the area of worship. We spent an hour or so doing our first tour of the entire Mosque before going back out and doing another round just as the sunset and the 7:18 PM call for prayer rang over over the Mosque. Even though we don’t know what was being sung out or are we Muslim, there is something moving and beautiful about a call for prayer. It captivated us all to the point that we were speechless even for a couple of minutes afterwards.
It took the mere fact that we were all hungry to get use to leave the beautiful mosque and take another Uber back to our hotel. When we arrived though we had one stop to make before we went for dinner. Jenn had earlier in the day asked to see if we could get an upgrade for our room and sure enough they said yes and we got keys to our new grand deluxe sea view suite. We grabbed the keys and marveled at our giant new room with a separate living and bedroom along with a massive bathroom.
After taking some photos we made our way to the Crystal Lounge downstairs to have some drinks and a light late night dinner. Jenn had a glass of Prosecco, Jake a Sauvignon blanc, and I had a Rose. Jenn had a lentil soup for dinner, and Jake and I shared the Swiss cheese fondue which came with an assortment of breads and vegetables. We were just about to leave when our waitress asked if we were Marriott Bonvoy members (which we are) and so she brought us over a free dessert that was out of this world.
We left the Crystal Lounge at close to 11 PM and made our way back to our room to edit our photos, We had some really amazing days in Egypt but I’m not sure we’ve had a better day then today.