Breakfast spots TOP 5

yummy in my tummy…
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Mhh…there is nothing better than a yummy breakfast on the weekend.
Yes, sure we have breakfast every day but we kind of cherish and celebrate it on the weekend.
Sleeping in is set to be the first weekend goal and the second is surely to have a good, nourishing breakfast. Treat yourself more often!

Below you will find my TOP 5 Breakfast spots in Abu Dhabi:

 

5.
Shakespeare & Co. 

Shakespeare is a franchised company with almost 10 branches around Abu Dhabi.
Its old-fashioned furniture beams you back to the 18th century. It is known for its delicious breakfast combos and fair prices!

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My favourite brekkie is the “Healthy” one which contains: Egg white omelette with herbs, roast potatoes and asparagus, fresh fruit salad, natural yoghurt, brown toast and honey, grapefruit juice and latte macchiato.
This whole package at AED 58 only.
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BTW: My fav branch is the one on Saadiyat Island with a lovely outside seating in a hidden courtyard within the St. Regis Residences complex.
 
4.
Third Place Café

Third place is a small but very cute spot located on the Corniche. It’s not only a great breakfast spot but also a place where you can hang out, relax, read a book, do your work or simply enjoy a freshly brewed cup of coffee.
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Once you are here you have to try the smoothies! Simply delicious.
Actually I just realized that I always had those late, late breakfasts there – which kindly slip into a “lunch”. Therefore I suggest the Goats Cheese & Spinach salad. Delicious.At this spot you will also be able to sit outside and enjoy the Abu Dhabi breeze (if not during the hot summer months ;)).
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3.
Al-Ulya

Al-Ulya made its way straight into my heart once it opened its doors almost 2 years ago.
I still remember that I somehow spotted it somewhere on social media; but then they still did not have a food & drinking license since they were just arriving from Portugal.
Al-Ulya means “Loule” in Portuguese and is a town located in the south of Portugal with strong Arabic roots.
Kind as Portuguese always are – they opened their doors to give us a taste of Portugal and to check the future customers feedback. Obviously those treats were handed out for free – Kindness 🙂
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It quickly became my second home – simply because it has all the delicious Portuguese dishes combined with the lovely Portuguese owners, completed by the Portuguese music as well as interior. From “pao com manteiga” (Bread with butter), “meia de leite” (Latte macchiato) over to “Natas” (custard tartlet) – you will get anything you would crave for.

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Even if the seating is only inside; this spot is definitely worth visiting.
2.
Byparkers

Byparkers is a fairly new spot located in the old Mushrif park (Umm Al Emarat Park). Lovely outside seating facing the greenery; and even if the weather does not allow you will not be disappointed by the creative interior.

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This spot has so much modernism and still sticks to good ol’ quality food.
The menu is quite “Organic” and so delicious.
I loved the poached eggs with avocado crème on a baked sweet potato. Further I ordered a fresh orange juice which includes free refill. To compliment my brekkie I ordered the banoffee pancakes. OH MY GOODNESS: amazing. Absolutely fantastic. Loved it.
IMG_4510Unfortunately the portions (eggs, tacos, etc.) are not too big therefore you better order another main dish ;)Overall a great spot with lovely, dedicated and knowledgeable staff!
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1.
Tasha’s

South African franchise Tasha’s is my personal number one! I just love everything about it… from the lovely location in Al Bateen Marina; the outside seating arrangement with the view; the stunning interior; the attentive staff and the delicious food.
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I have to admit – once I am here I ALWAYS order the same. But I can’t help myself… I just love it! And whats so special about it: it is consistently good… Which is quite special for Abu Dhabi – where you sometimes get your dessert with or without cream although you did not change anything upon ordering… Sounds familiar?
 
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I simply love the layered yoghurt with home-made granola and all kind of citrus fruits. Oh… I urgently need to satisfy my palate.
Of course other dishes are delicious, too. But definitely give my favourite a try…Well… certainly there are many other spots in our beautiful town – yet the above ones are my personal TOP 5 🙂

Give those a try as well…
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PS: If you are into trying a hotel breakfast buffet I highly recommend the one at Rosewater in Jumeirah Etihad Towers…

Sri Lanka

…truly beautiful!

 

Ideal stay: at least 6 days if you want to roam around the island
Temperature: tropical climate, around 25°C

Before starting my research on “Sri Lanka” it was not really on my radar or bucket-list. I believe you feel the same… Sri Lanka.. mh where is it exactly? Beaches or jungle? Country or island? Ok, ok – not that bad.
Still, I was not aware of the beauty and diversity this island provides.

 

Where? What? How?
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There we were – my better half and I – sure about the destination but not on the route (yet).
Me, the main planner (as usual), took the initiative and started the route.

Our aim: to see as much as possible but not backpacking throughout the island!


Our route and the different spots ended up to be a mixture of blog-research but also live recommendations from my lovely, helpful Sri Lankan work mates.
It was beautiful to see how proudly they shared their top insider tips with me and the sparkle in their eyes was contagious!

After 1,5 weeks of planning our route was set.

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Srilanka Map
 
From Abu Dhabi there are direct flights which take you to Colombo in more or less 4hours. Etihad Airways or SriLankan Airlines will take you.
Over there it is highly recommended to take a personal driver who drives you around.

Posh or much needed?

 

Yes, it sounds posh but in fact it is needed if you do not want to roam around by public transportation. Also, due to the street conditions and horrible driving skills you would not get too far if driving on your own.

The driver research was quite complicated. We heard about the average package price which is normal (package: car, fuel, driver, drivers accommodation, drivers food) but were not too sure where we should actually find the drivers. Some agencies “rent them out” which we found weird so I looked up couple of websites. On TripAdvisor I found a girl who strongly recommended “Francis” – after a few emails back and forth with Francis directly I had a good feeling and we booked his service.

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The communicated route was:
26.4. pick us up in the morning at 10h in Colombo to drive to Kandy but stop at the Elephant Orphanage
26.-27.4 night in kandy
27.4. take us mid-day to Polonaruwa
27.-28.4. a night in polonaruwa
28.4. afternoon take us to Passikudah
28.-30.4. two nights there
30.4. morning take us to Yalla Park
30.-1.5. one night in a camp
1.5. evening take us back to Colombo

As usual we booked all hotels in advance – ah wait, not all of them. One night we did not book to act “spontaneous” on site….Well, it was not my idea let’s put it this way 😉

To sum up:
Prior to the trip we booked the flights, hotels, driver and did not book any sightseeing activities.
We took light clothes and the most important: mosquito spray and wipes!

 

DAY 1
We could not have wished for a better start of this vacation: at the boarding gate at the Abu Dhabi International Airport we were told that we were UPGRADED to business class! Woopwoop. Happy since until that day I had never been in business class.

 

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After a relaxed and pampered flight we arrived at night at Colombo Airport.
Once you step out of the airport you get “harassed” by the countless, illegal taxi drivers. You better watch out and look for the official ones! Still it is important that you negotiate the price prior to jumping into the car. He drove like a maniac – but this seems to be normal over here.

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..I feel like a millionaire…
 
One Euro equals 172 Sri Lankan Rupees; the reason why I was not able to keep an overview of the money but thankfully I had my other half with me who managed it all. 

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Since it was only one rather short night we booked the Supun Arcade Residency which was ok for one night only.
Once we arrived at the hotel we went for a stroll around and went back to the hotel.
We – unfortunately – did not sleep like babies; it was quite the contrary: way too hot to be able to sleep properly – itchy all over either from the mosquitos or the hotel bedsheets. We were so tired but unable to sleep, every few hours we were awake but could not get up since it was still too early to do so.  

 


DAY 2

We were finally “allowed” to get up, got ready and had a quick breakfast with a view.

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At 09h00 sharp Francis came to pick us up. We stored the luggage in the rear and drove all the way to the elephant orphanage in Pinawela.
The orphanage was 4h away from Colombo and the drive included some frightening moments in the car.
Francis was at all times kind, friendly, knowledgeable but never too intrusive.

Finally we made it to the orphanage – which unfortunately was full of tourists.
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..breath it all in, love it all out..
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Before entering into the official orphanage we were lucky to spot many elephants who were on their way back to the preserve, coming from the water bath on the other side.
Instead of following the elephants we went reversely to the water.
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Guess what we spotted? Some elephants including many BABIES
🙂 Yes!
Blessed to see and be that close to them.. I was in my own happiness heaven – but it got even better.
We approached them super close and were glad to take some lovely pictures.

 

…cute pachyderms…
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The babies were quite cheerful and playful but such babies are not really small – instead super strong and tend to overdo it.

 

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After this wonderful experience we went inside the orphanage and spotted some more elephants and a few babies which even got fed during our time there. Lovely. Enchanting.

..Fun fact: they cover themselves in sand to “scrub” off the dirt..
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One big minus here though was the constant bothering and begging of the locals – always expecting tips just because of a small hint in regards to direction or other explanation.
In the long run this was really annoying.


Our next stop: the Royal Botanical Garden in Kandy.
Another 45min drive and we reached the famous Botanical Garden with a huge variety of flowers, the oldest and tallest trees as well as most rare plants.

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Actually, all travel blogs and websites state that the Orchid House is something very unique and special – in fact we did not like it that much.

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If you fancy a quick break you get the chance to grab some food or drinks at the coffee shop which is located in the garden.
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After roaming around we got back into the car and drove to Sri Dalada Maligawa in Kandy – a well-known temple “temple of the tooth” which requires you to cover your shoulders and knees (this also applies to men!).

…friend or lonely dog?…

Btw our driver Francis drops us on the desired spots and while we go for the sightseeing he meets friends, family or grabs some food etc. – he is never just sitting in the car and waiting like a poor lonely dog (if you dare to think this ;)). Since we spent overall 6 days / 24h together we ended up rather being friends than the typical “customer-employer-relationship”.
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A beautiful building with its finest mural paintings and impressive Buddha sculptures.

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I find it a pity however that all temples charge the tourists an exaggerated amount of money. At least it is free of charge for Buddhists and locals.
Don’t forget to take off your shoes!

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On the way down to our hotel we stopped at a manufacturing shop which Francis recommended.
We had a look but did not buy anything – it also seemed a bit “planned” rather than “accidental” – if you know what I mean 😉

 

Did I mention that the island is super green and has a lot of stunning view points?

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Finally this long but still beautiful day came to an end and we checked into our hotel – Cinnamon Citadel Kandy – which provided an amazing open air lobby and stunning views right into the nature!
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We said goodbye to Francis and went for a swim in the pool.
We just swam for like an hour and then a big thunderstorm came and it rained for a few minutes torrentially. But def. cool to watch – from the dry lobby area 😉

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DAY 3
We had no breakfast included reason why we started off the journey at 09h and drove for 2h to the Golden Temple.

Francis dropped us off and we walked the stairs up until the top of the temple.
On the way there were many monkeys which are not scared from the tourists – quite the opposite – they tend to be cheeky and naughty.

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The views from the top were just stunning.

Btw. Francis got paid on a daily basis so that he can take care of himself and the car.

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Afterwards we were driven to Sigiriya Rock – The 8th world wonder. It def is.
It is literally a huge rock in the middle of the greenest flora and fauna.
Unfortunately it was so hot and humid that I had severe circulation problems and was only able to make it half way through.

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Still the view from here was already unbelievable.

My strong and tough partner made it all the WAY UP and recorded it photographically.
Amazing.

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After a quick break and a few water sips we went back down and went straight to the small souvenirs shops to get a gift for our niece.

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..MADE MY DAY..
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Hilarious situation: My better half approached the shops and was told that the wooden toy “was made by my mum” – while he was trying to bargain – I went over to the next shop and spotted (obviously) the same toy – in that moment, he has already purchased the “unique” toy and was proudly presenting it to me. I was cracking and told him that they must have the same mother since they both have exactly the same toy – slightly demotivated he went back to the first shop and told him “well I think you lied to me” – all he obtained was a little SriLankan head shake and a sassy smile. Hahaha. 🙂

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This exciting afternoon ended with the check in at the Lake Hotel in Polonaruwa.
We made it to the pool and had a relaxing nap; once we opened our eyes a HUGE buffalo family was right in front of us. Haha. That’s what I call nature.

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In general since day 1 we were always lucky to spot the weirdest animals just free-roaming on the street: birds, porcupines, cows and elephants.

 

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After swimming we went for a shower and were looking forward to having our dinner. Unfortunately the buffet was overloaded with flies and mosquitos which were more than annoying and disgusting.
Well, in the end it is a tropical island and you cannot get rid of all of them – even if you use the wipes couple of times in a row.
 
DAY 4
In the morning we felt the trials of the horrible, sleepless night before.
Too hot, too cold, too humid, too many mosquitos – and every few hours we woke up and drank water like pigs.
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Somehow the nights over here do not really pass quickly. One wishes that the nights are that long back home!

We went to the downtown area but were rather disappointed, some pics here and there and moved quickly on.

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We stopped in a small village to grab some food and were constantly observed by the locals. The 2 whites incl. the blondie. It felt weird but I did not feel insecure.

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After 1,5h drive to the East of the island we reached our resort “Centara Passikudah”.
Well, “resort”.
Normally our hotel choice is pretty good but somehow on this trip we realized that we did not always take the best option.
Overall we have to say that the service is poor anyways. People are friendly but not “skilled” on a hotel service level.

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Never mind, the resort itself was new, shiny and directly located on the beach.

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We explored the beach and ended the day with a yummy dinner.

DAY 5
We went for breakfast which we had to share against our will with the countless free-roaming crows. Annoying.
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Nevertheless the food was yummy and anyways we were in a relaxed mood looking forward to enjoying the day by the pool.

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At 15h00 we had a wonderful couples full body massage which we both soaked up.

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The day ended with a few drinks by the pool and a relaxing sleep.

DAY 6
The big day has come – our night in the jungle – yes, Licious goes jungle.
We drove almost 5h to YALA NATIONALPARK which was super tiring, annoying and I had the strong desire to throw up more than once.

The only bright light in this dark, montone tunnel was the free-roaming elephant which made us stop in the middle of the street.
Whenever you spot such an animal you have to stop the car and wait until he moves on his own at his own pace from the street – else he could turn your car in a football 😉

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We finally arrived at the Eco Island Sri Lanka Tented Safari Camp Yala.
The welcome was incredibly warm and way better than any other welcome in the previous days.
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Furthermore the camp is really ecological – they move every 6 months to a different spot within the national park so as not to harm the ground! We liked the environment-protection thoughts and were looking forward to our stay.
First of all they meticulously explained the jungle rules to us. Often we heard “But don’t worry, this normally does not happen” – which in the end did not really calm me down… But ok, lets do this!

We “checked-in” to our tent and had to hide our belongings in a big wooden box – not hide from thieves but from the free-roaming animals.

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Generally it was somehow a “deluxe tent” since it had an adjoining toilet and shower but If you looked closer you spotted the mosquitos, spiders and frogs.

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While waiting in our hamock for the lunch call we heard some heavy footsteps around our tent…
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..Oh, oh… Lets see what comes next!..

…in the end we spotted an XXL lizard strolling around outside. He was such a huge thing that it literally sounded like the footsteps of a man.

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The rangers called us for lunch and after having this sumptuous meal we were picked up for the first safari.

Princess..check the tshirt..haha

Well, for those of you who never attended a safari – it is not like in a zoo where you see animals left and right while driving through the nature.

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It is rather an adrenalin rush while playing hide and seek with the many different wild animals! IMG_7510
It was lovely to spot all those animals in their natural habitat – at the same time it was sad at times.
For eg. when we saw a little injured brown bear – which arouses a motherly-feeling inside of you, but since it is nature and the process of “natural selection” no one is allowed to go and help him. 
 

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Some other friends we have spotted:

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This unique experience came (unfortunately) to an end but this amazing day was rounded off by a romantic candlelit dinner under the stars.

 

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Yes, now you go “ohhhhhh lovely” – the same came to my mind when I initially heard this.
It was def. incredible to sit outside, at a table for two, lit by candles and the close fireplace, an exclusive dinner (incl. ONION soup ;)) and above us only the sky – just the two of us – but that’s precisely it – it wasn’t just the two of us.
Many mosquitoes, flies, “flying somethings” joined us here.

 

Initially we were busy hunting or dispatching them but at one point we realized that it was useless since they just became more and more.
So we (tried to) enjoy our dinner and just went with the flow… Yes, we ate a couple of those insects for sure, since they flew right onto our cutlery.

..bugs life..
 

I tried very hard but at one point I was not able to focus on the conversation due to the buzz, whir, and being itchy all over – ear, hair, legs etc.
My partner opted for having the locally made liquor which helped him to ignore this animal show.

 

With a tummy full of food, love and happiness we went to our tent.
Btw. The rangers gave us a bell in case any wild animals showed up and they would come and save us in a few seconds.
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In our tent we were protected by the mosquito net but still were encircled by different types of insects which meant I couldn’t sleep properly.
My better half, who had just confirmed that he also finds it all disgusting and he would not be able to sleep, was snoring next to me not even 2 minutes later. 😉

I, on the contrary, was not able to sleep for even a few moments and was busy hunting the insects with my lamp in the hand.

A few hours later the most hilarious thing ever happened. My significant other was sleepwalking and while he was sitting upright in bed he said “may I go to the washroom? I know they are coming soon to ask for feedback and I don’t want to miss out” – I calmed him down and he went back to sleep. But internally I was laughing my head off. Too funny and sweet at the same time.

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..feedback..
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The “feedback” thing popped up in his subconscious mind because everywhere you go in Sri Lanka they ask you proactively to leave your comment on TripAdvisor 😉

DAY 7
To be honest, overall this night was awful. I truly recommend everyone to have a jungle experience – but I would never, ever do it again 😉 Once is enough!

Finally it was 5am and we got woken up by the rangers serving coffee and biscuits. They came to pick us up for the 2nd safari: the dawn safari.
I was never that glad to be picked up at this time of the day!

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Once again we were lucky to spot many different animals and were even super close to an elephant dispute.

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The very knowledgeable and friendly rangers showed us around and brought us to the most special places and even to the ocean!
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My happiness level was already at 80% but got exceeded and straight up to 100% once I saw those, small cute BABIES all over.
Baby pigs, baby monkeys, baby Bambis… I LOVE THEM!
Totally crazy about them.

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After driving around the jungle for a couple of hours we got back to the camp; packed our things and checked out.

Francis was already there to take us further to our last stop. It took us 5h and at the end we were really annoyed by his crazy driving skills and the long drive.

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Nevermind, finally we arrived in Colombo and – as initially mentioned – we kept the last night to decide “spontaneously” on a hotel. Well, we stepped into a few to get the daily rate and checked the room – but nothing really suited us.

Since Francis comes from Negombo he suggested to take us there; we ended up in a long street with many hotels next to one another.
We were exhausted, tired and annoyed and after negotiating we chose Rani Beach Resort.

What shall I say? Since that day I hated it even more to “act spontaneously” – it was an absolute catastrophe: loud, dirty, mold everywhere and countless bugs & mosquitoes.

We tried to sleep there and were looking forward to having our last day on the island.


DAY 8

We got up and tried to make the best out of this last day since at the moment we were in a quite negative mood. We were not planning on having such an awful last night on the island.

 

In addition to the horrible night, the breakfast was disgusting, the pool side and its sun beds were full of pooping crows and the “beach” was rather a stone field with some beggars/sellers. All-in-all pretty annoying and disappointing.
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..positive mind..positive vibes..


Normally my other half is the positive one during vacation and finds solutions for anything – this time he was so pissed that he had even asked if we should go to the airport now (10am) although the flight was at 8pm. A sign!

Meant, this time I had to be the strong one and tried my best to get something positive out of this experience.

We started walking on that long street and got us some souvenirs – then I spotted a scooter shop and we rented one out.
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All of a sudden this day turned into one of the best days – the best example that no matter how dark and bad things may appear – together, you are better and you will find a way back to the bright side of life.
🙂 *LIEBE*
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We cruised and cruised and ended up in the outstanding Beach Lodge with amazing food and cold drinks, located right on the beach.
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We stayed here for a couple of hours and enjoyed the sun rays. Simply happy.
Afterwards we went to one more shop where my partner bought a few T-shirts and I got a small Sri Lanki portmonnaie.
We went back to the scooter shop since it started raining cats and dogs.
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The uncle of the shop owner drove us by tuktuk to the airport which was an unforgettable experience! We were incredibly wet from the rain which entered in the whole tuktuk but also purely happy.

With a bag full of new experiences, unforgettable moments and hearts full of love we flew back to Abu Dhabi!

If you are seeking an adventure and do not want to fly too far: Sri Lanka is your deal!
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Enjoy it!  
PS: It is still a “hidden gem” therefore you have barely (German) tourists around you 😉

 

 

Al Ain

…enchanting.
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Al Ain is the “garden city” which is located in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and has quite a lot to offer.
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Distance: 90min drive from Abu Dhabi
Ideal stay: either day trip or weekend getaway
Temperature: similar to Abu Dhabi
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Since Al Ain is a kind of neighbouring city to Abu Dhabi I had the pleasure to visit it quite a few times. Each time I was lucky to see something I had not seen before.
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It all starts with the amazing views while road-tripping all the way to the green city.
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..it is daily business to encounter camels or sheep which are tied on the old-school Toyota pick-ups..
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First stop: Al Ain Oasis
The Al Ain Oasis is the largest oasis and was crowned as a UNESCO world heritage site.
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It is def. the perfect getaway from the turbulent, hectic city vibes since here you hear – correct – nothing.
Calm, shady and silent – just you and nature (ok – and some tourists from time to time).
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..stroll around and get lost in the walkaways..
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Historical: Al Jahili Fort
The Al Jahili Fort is one of the most historic buildings which originally served to protect the palm groves and defend the city.
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Nowadays it is an active visitors destination due to its information centre and diverse exhibition area.
Check TCAs website to get the latest updates on exhibitions and events.
It is open daily from 09h00 to 17h00 (except Mondays). Enjoy!
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Ancient: National Museum
The Al Ain National Museum is the oldest museum in the UAE.
It shows the full history from the stone age through to the recent foundation of the UAE (Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan was born here).
The fort is a well-preserved mudbrick structure which is divided into three main sections: ethnography, archaeology and souvenirs.
Yes, contrary to popular belief: there is a huge historical background to be seen! See for yourself.
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..as usual cultural sights are free of charge in the UAE..
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Dribbling: Camel Market
This traditional (one of the last of its kind) Camel Market delivers the real experience on how it was in former days.
“Livestock” feeling in the middle of the desert – they are not only bargaining with camels but also goats, sheep and chicken.
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The camel owners tend to be slightly pushy and intrusive but don`t worry: just a have a look around on your own without tipping them whenever you take a picture with the camels.
Try to look for the BABY camels 🙂 They are def. the CUTEST ❤
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High: Jebel Hafeet
With its 1240m height – Jebel Hafeet is the highest peak in the UAE and among the the worlds greatest driving roads.
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Once you (finally) reach the top by either car or bike you will be rewarded with incredibly stunning views.
(Un)Fortunately there is (only) one hotel (Mercure Al Ain) which will be able to satisy your thirst.
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Service and seating falls in the 3* hotel category but gets clearly outvoted by the magnificent surrounding vistas.
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Underwater: Wadi Adventure
At the foot of Jebel Hafeet you come upon the region’s first man-made kayaking, surf and white water rafting facility: Wadi Adventure.
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The almost 3m high man-made surf wave is (obviously) the world largest! Be brave. Be you.
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Wadi Adventure was quite “wild” for me but is for worth a day trip for families.
Caution: at first sight the entrance fee seems quite low – but in fact all activities get charged separately – so in the end you still end up paying quite a high amount (surcharges for locker; rafting; high rope course etc.).
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Also I have noticed that staff near the rafting site are not appropriately trained as they are not able to handle “dangerous” situations.
Yet the flying fox was AMAZING!
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Animal-ly: Al Ain Zoo
Although I am not a big fan of keeping wild animals in locked cages; I have to admit that Al Ain Zoo leads by example.
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All animals have spacious compounds and look quite healthy.
Al Ain Zoo is home to 4000 animals and provides plenty of green public spaces and kids activities.
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If you get the chance: Visit the new Sheikh Zayed Desert Learning Centre – I heard it is quite good but unfortunately you can only access it in combination with the Zoo ticket.
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As you can see from the pictures: quite beautiful and yet different from bustling Abu Dhabi.
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Hotel-wise I would recommend the Al Ain Rotana or the brand new Aloft.
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Whether you are looking for a quick renewal of body and soul or some activities outside of the capital – Al Ain will satisfy either way.

 

Love letter to Abu Dhabi

Dear Abu Dhabi,
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For quite a long time I have felt the strong desire to write you a letter – a LOVE letter, to be precise.

You might ask yourself why I felt the need to do so. A love letter? To a city?
Well, the thing is, you are not just a city to me…
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Your International Airport is the door opener to a whole different world. It all starts at the “warm welcome” in immigration, led by the well-groomed officers in their white, perfectly-ironed Kandooras.
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Somehow, a heavy burden falls immediately off your shoulders (and no, I don’t mean the 30kg luggage which is carried by the lovely porters) once you breathe the UAE spirit in.
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The way from the airport (either by car or black, luxurious yet still “standard” taxi) to your centre makes one realize that you are the perfect combination of tradition and modernism.
You provide an incredible variety of attractions; activities; beauties; services and people.
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To be honest, I do not even know where to start my long list of praise!..

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Yes, you have a great waterpark; a stunning Formula1 race track; the fastest roller-coaster; the most palatial of all hotels; the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and the biggest shopping malls but hey, this is definitely not all!

First and foremost you are the host of “happiness” – why?

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No, not just because there is actually a “Ministry of Happiness”, but because you were built according to people’s needs.
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..You make us feel at home, away from home!..
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Everyone who is here finds their own kind of happiness by, for example, earning enough money to feed their families; strolling around shopping malls to get the latest fashion or simply to relax on the beach during the weekend.
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Your streets enable camels in pick-ups and blondies in VW Polos to meet the biggest SUVs as well as the fastest Lamborghinis.

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..marvellous Saadiyat Beach..

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Endless beachfront; well-tempered, baby-blue and clean sea; balanced amount of algas and fish; delicate natural sand; jovial dolphin families; super amiable Bake-staff; delicious ice cream and comfortable sun beds.

Just one day over here makes up anything bad one might have experienced throughout the 55-hour work week!

I appreciate the lifestyle you provide!
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..Boredom? Not-at-all-ever! Beach? Desert? Sun?..
You really have it all: from the jet-ski session behind Lulu Island; yoga in the park; relaxing deep tissue massages; late night basketball sessions with the dudes, to the exhausting bootcamps at 5h30 with Haddins.
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The happy hours & ladies nights in the different rooftop bars; shisha-bars with a view; countless pool & island-party options; 180° bars near the waterfront are the perfect closing of the various international, gourmet or traditional, local dinner options.
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Thanks to your incredibly huge variety of nationalities, you spoil us with the finest cuisine in all possible variations – from Indian, to French, over to Chinese and Moroccan which ensures that literally EVERYONE will find something suitable. Even for the “conscious eaters” you established many Organic Cafes in addition to cute waterfront coffee shops.

I love you because you make me feel warm, loved, respected and safe at all times.

 

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Leaving bags unattended while grabbing some more food at the buffet; asking the waiter to charge the phone and getting a “tag” in return; dancing on my own in the club without getting harassed and revealing the debit card pin towards the petrol attendant make you stand out in comparison to any other city!
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..with you everything seems so relaxed and easy…
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The spontaneous off-road parking; the drive-through ATM on the way home; the affordable taxi drives; the natural rounding off at the cashier due to the lack of change; the delivery of McDonalds; pick-up of the dry-cleaning laundry at 23h00 or the helpful Baqala attendant who gets me the missing onion while I can continue chopping the meat.
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You are the stable bridge between a “low-key” and a “high-level” lifestyle.
Not all of us earn a huge amount of money over here – yet from time to time we are able to pamper ourselves with an exclusive high-tea on the 70th floor; the much-needed mani-pedi or a quick getaway to the fancy desert hotel nearby.
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You make me literally feel like a Princess whenever you spoil me with the sumptuous places; worryless lonely walks during night time; preferential treatment in queues, public transportation as well as waiting areas; stunning views supplemented by the services (like valet parking; butler service; shopping packer  etc.) with the greatest attitude instead of awaiting to be tipped.
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You make me happy with your stunning sunsets; the pleasant outside temperatures at night-time while dancing to the best songs; the dips in the warm sea and the people you connected me with. 
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You surprise me with your forward-thinking, conveyed by SMS from the Ministry of Interior; the instant print out of the drivers license; the chilled bus station; the free wi-fi connections in the most rural corners; the convenient E-Gate at the airport; the instant messaging & transfers by the bank; which clash with the missing mail addresses; illogical approach in many areas and the common “lack of common sense”.
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..You are the link between all of us..
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nationalities
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The leading example for a tolerant, peaceful co-existence between over 80 nationalities.
You taught me so much about people and awoke my interest in different cultures as well as religions.
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You and your cosmopolitan attitude deserve recognition. Contrary to the wide spread rumours you tolerate other dresscodes; merge highly diverse groups of people; provide everyone with the basic needs and make us residents but also tourists feel welcome.

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Because of you I have learned to appreciate every single given moment – I have learned not to take anything for granted; to be thankful for what I have.

 

..Love isn’t always pure and baby-rosa – of course there are days that I “hate” you..
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Sometimes it’s simply too hot, too sticky, too humid. The daily struggle at work or even in private life due to the multicultural environment is very real!
The high cost for a small, average-quality smoothie or the 15min delay due to the taxi drivers’ poor language and orientation skills can be depressing.
The lack of information and communication in the shopping mall or via call centres gets on ones nerves.  The promised-but-still-pending call backs; the wide-spread “no problem!” (which clearly prepares one for a bigger problem) and the “well-equipped” but often clueless maintenance guys make me go CRAZY.
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But like in every good relationship, one has to learn how to deal with and make the best out of it (even if your inner anger screams to be let out 🙂 )
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I really want you to know how proud I am for what you’ve achieved within a rather small time frame and especially what you did for me in the past 3 years.
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I thank you for from the bottom of my heart for connecting me with the people I now call “friends” and for deepening the relationship with my better half.
love you abu dhabi

You’ve provided and contributed to countless happy moments; unbelievable situations; unforgettable stories; stunning pictures; deeply felt gratitude as well as LOVE.
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Thank you, Abu Dhabi, for being simply you.
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Yours,
Jennylicious