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Rush and a very busy days of March in Abu Dhabi.

As some of you may know that we are moving back to our home country New Zealand but are retaining our residency in Abu Dhabi just in case we need to move back to be whole again with the family.  

Anyway… life became so very busy last March and it seems everyday is a blur because of so many things to do and many people to meet to say goodbyes to before we leave temporarily.  I say temporary because I realized since becoming an expats the only thing constant is CHANGE.

So here are the ones you would like to try out for yourself when you get to Abu Dhabi.  We definitely did all these things before leaving.  Oh and we left at the right time as I heard it is now getting hot, early for Summer time!

  1.  Meet with some old or new friends and do BRUNCHING.  This is sort of like the normal thing expats do once in weekdays if you have time but mostly over the weekends.  You will be amazed how can you be greedy with foods and will love taking photos of it as they are so pretty for FB or Instagram not to post.
  2. If not brunching, then meeting friends or family in the coffee shops and they are tons of them around in and out of the Island.  FYI, in our area we have a mom’s group that meets once every week and it is actually enjoyable talking to each of them and seeing how they are after a week or two of challenging days if any!
  3. Attend some Women’s group or any other types of group as what they say “nobody will be left out alone!” it is easier to get depressed in the Summer heat of the desert and being with new people and mingling around would definitely HELP.  Of course you will get to find your long time friend even as an expats and you know what? I even stayed with one of them in Germany for a holiday!  See my old post.
  4. Go and buy yourself all the FUN things to do like Theme Parks in Abu Dhabi.  There are 3 to choose from:  Ferrari World, Yas Waterworld and Warner Brothers.
  5. Go for a walk yes after the heat is gone in the late afternoon but when we did it was winter time.  Lot’s of parks in Abu Dhabi especially family parks like the Mushrif Park as per its old name or now it’s called Umm Al Emarat Park.
  6. Enjoy all the pristine waters of Abu Dhabi beaches or if you prefer a swimming pool as every hotel offers some family/ friends packages that includes food and a pool or other services.
  7. GLAMPING – this one we did in Ras Al Khaimah or better known as RAK for short.  It is one of the Emirates and also a beautiful place to enjoy beach resorts, water sports, hiking and camping or much better GLAMPING as per my previous post please click the link on the highlighted word.
  8. Sporting events there are abundant of this prior to Summer and you can actually join in even as a visitor.  Here are the photo from Al Hudayriat Island.
  9. And of course SHOPPING for your last-minute things to buy because it is double or triple the cost in your home Country!
  10. Do not forget the Cultural haven in Sadiyaat Island Louvre Abu Dhabi.  Please check my previous post about this as per highlighted link.  This is not the only one museum in the City so please do check them wherever you may be.
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credit to LINK

 

 

 

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Destination: Louvre Abu Dhabi, beautiful architectural Museum

 

img_4978.jpgMy son and I went to Louvre in Paris when he was just 5 years old. He’s my travel buddy ever since and we both love the same things except shopping of course haha!  You may wonder what is the meaning of Louvre anyway?  Here as per Google meaning “overlapping strips in a window (to let in air but keep out rain)” first recorded 1550s. The form has been influenced by apparently unrelated FrenchLouvre , the name of the palace in Paris, which is said to be so named because its builder, Philip Augustus, intended it as a wolf kennel”.

Our love for Museum keep us together in every Country we have visited through the years. He is now 10 years old and this time it’s a must to go and see another LOUVRE but here in Abu Dhabi where we currently live as an expatriate and before we go home to NZ.  According to Google, Louvre Abu Dhabi is a beautiful architectural “Museum for arts and civilization”.  See below some beautiful arts and paintings.img_5064

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And some bizarre ones below… 

And that was ME,vinnevefoto

Beautiful scenery outside restaurant and coffee shop. There’s a lot to see actually in and out of the building. We thought we have seen it all but was surprised to enter another side of the building and saw another collections. If you have a kid with you there’s also a Children’s Museum and some extra activities for them to do. If you are an AD residents it’s better to buy an annual pass. They usually change some arts and crafts as well as featuring special arts or paintings from another Country every 3 months or so.  For Museum enthusiasts you can easily spend the whole day here.  Lovely calming scenery outside, to sit down at the stairs /benches with someone or just be by yourself facing the sea or even touching the water below.  Children must be supervised.

Cheers!

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Destination: RAK Glamping by the beach

 

RAK stands for Ras Al Khaimah. It’s one of the 7 Emirates of the UAE 🇦🇪. DUBAI is the most known Emirates but actually the capital is Abu Dhabi. RAK is one of a kind destination that perhaps not many of you know what or where it is.  Here is the LINK for you to browse about this part of the Emirates.

I had an older post on this LINK at our first time to this place, so please check this out to know more. For now… it’s about our last escapades outside Abu Dhabi before we go back home to New Zealand 🇳🇿 after living here for more than 3 long years without going on holiday back to our home Country.

We bought a family “glamping” package thru a Groupon website as mentioned by our family friend and seeing they cater to your needs complete with mattresses and other necessities inside of your chosen type of tent, we didn’t hesitate though hubby worry a bit about his back (he got some extra pillows though).  This is our first time being in a tent considering we live in Nz famous for hiking, beach and yes camping.  It’s a long story why. Anyway, the staffs we’re all attentive and glad that it surprised us that we didn’t have any problem or complaint at all throughout the 2 days we we’re there. We just enjoyed our family bonding with friends and used their facilities and free activities for kids.

 

Dining tables as per guest number, vinneve foto

 

Dinner (cooked meats & grilled seafoods) and breakfast with unlimited drinks were included and yes free alcoholic drinks from 7-10pm. Some people are so happy about it. We are a casual drinker so we don’t have to binged. We appreciated that we don’t have to worry about our kid asking for sweets or even popcorn as it’s also provided at the open air cinema as well as marshmallows for the many bonfires provided whether for everyone to use or for relaxing sitting beside with your friends or family chatting what to do in the morning.  My boy went crab hunting and swimming at the beach. He can do kayaking or paddle boarding but in a lake or around mangroves not in an open sea though there’s some lifeguard there… still I’m a bit protective alright. Adults were the ones eager to use it including jet skiing and so much more.

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Above water obstacle course should be on the water but because it’s a bit windy so it’s safer that the kids play on this on the land.

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They have petting zoo as well as per schedule only. Swimming pool is fun for kiddos especially the small ones.  They have another pool for all to enjoy.

RAK Longbeach campground is really a good place for family who want to experience catered camping.  We leave with good memories.  Cheers!!

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W.O.T.D. – Expectation & Worth

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Here I go again… 

It’s been hard for me to write this post as I seemed lost for words and it takes time to tell you dear readers… I will finally coming back HOME.  I sure hope it is still “my home” though as I am a bit afraid after about being an expat for more than 3 years without even visiting the place unlike many other expats.  I have been to anywhere except holidaying in my home Country isn’t it weird?  It’s because of the tedious flying time of 18 hours straight or cut it in two to Australia 14 hours + Auckland 4 hours = 18 hours. Which is better?  Even going back to my birth Country for a holiday is more or less 9 hours away from where we are at the moment (Abu Dhabi) which is really in the middle of  Europe and Asia.  So going to Australasia down under so to say… feels like so far far away!!

WOTD Expectation

What to expect?  I am freaking out actually.  I heard so many stories about expats coming back home realizing it’s NOT the same as before or perhaps WE ARE NOT THE SAME AS BEFORE?.  Even the roads will not be the same as when we left New Zealand in 2015 there are a lot of road works going on and adding some lanes and a tunnel etc.  I’ve read that the almost rural place we go to for Farmers Market are now in demand and becoming a posh suburbs that we cannot even afford to buy a small land. Auckland is now one of the most expensive Cities in the World.  Though our place is farther away from the City it is still ridiculously expensive!  Good thing we have a house to come home to.  There’s a scarcity in the housing market.  A big problem indeed.

I think it’s better NO EXPECTATION.  It can save me from whatever fear facing the future.

WOTD Worth

One thing for sure we will try to make this worth it.  My son is growing and need more stability as for the past 3 years or more he has been to 3 different schools.  Yes, it’s hard to say goodbye again.  I cannot say No to being an expat again if this is the only way our family can stay together.  Depends on the next contract of hubby.  Just hoping he will also come home to us for good, that would be great! though not financially.

Now that I finally adjusted to the life here, I will miss a lot of brunches, friends parties, events and celebrations around here.  I surrounded my life with many groups of mom’s like me in school, in our place, my closes friends and even acquaintances. FYI, I am one of those they call “trailing spouse” so yes I choose not to work (after working almost my whole life in 3 different Countries) so I am the nanny of my own child but unlike with nannies, I have a much better social network. It took me two long years to finally adjusted and accepted the life here and now we have to go for personal reason that cannot wait.

Life is easy here and less stress (except when driving haha!!) and I get used to this somehow that having to begin a new life in NZ seems a bit scary though exciting too to be honest.  So many things to do and see places perhaps seeing it as an expat.  We have to be re-acquainted to the Country.  I am hoping we can adjust quickly… hopefully!

Anyway… I often read some advice and hopefully I can be able to apply on it.  Here’s the LINK1 and LINK2 if you are curious and have time to read.

Are you an expats who came back home after years of life overseas?  Please tell me your stories and perhaps I can learn from those.  Feel free to give me an advice.  Thanks!

Any expats coming home to New Zealand like me?  Let me know or you can PM me.

Thanks for reading and cheers to the next journey!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Places to Wander & Wonder in Switzerland

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So true!!  I think I don’t need to explain further on this one as most of you dear readers are traveloholic like me. 

To all my followers, you probably know by now that Switzerland is my favorite destination and it shows on how many posts I posted in the past.  I also like to go where the locals go so it is something new for some people who wanted to travel there and wanting to avoid crowds but still enjoying Zurich and around.  Here below are some of the places and try to visit these when you get there.  It is awesome and still full of nature.

In the City.

Zurich town, vinneve foto

Stroll around the City.  This was taken at the bridge.  Discover some alleys and around the lake you will be amazed that in even an unsuspecting alley tourists are there but sometimes not too crowded, enjoying a cup of coffee, ice cream or lunches. Awesome old architectural building around. You will know more of the places once you go walking or try to join a walking tour if you like that. 

Alley in Zurich township, vinneve foto

Discover other towns by ferry, you can do short or long journey at Bellevue station/ferry.  You can reach here by tram, bus or train depends where you are.  Please check my older post about cruising leisurely around Lake Zurich.  It’s not that expensive.  We hopped off to Kilchberg Station where you can walk to Lindt chocolate factory.  But mind you, you cannot enter the factory itself.  Just a discount store as low as 50% if you are right on time and they have a sale.

 

Parks, restaurants & other lakes.

Went for a walk at the Park located at Zurich-Hongg then enjoy their cafe house inside named Jagerhaus Waidberg Restaurant as below picture. They have a beautiful garden and yes you can bring your dog for a walk and a treat too!

 

The nature is abundant of berries but be careful there is a red berries that is a poison it is only for birds.  Locals know so if you are not familiar with it do not put it into your mouth.

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blackberries, vinneve foto

Lake Turlersee.  As you can see it is very pristine.  I say it is a rural located in Affoltern, a canton of Zurich.  There is a fee of SF5 only to enter and there is a restaurant inside and a food stand with sausages and ice creams for kids.

Lake Turlersee, vinneve foto

Falsenegg Restaurant LINK.   Again our families love to walk so we go to the Park again and a wonderful restaurant with a good view of Zurich was ahead of us.  Honestly, though perhaps some people come with their car or with a cable car, we went up hiking or sort of just to eat here and have a breather after, besides we are just a few minutes away from this place and also the Turlersee lake.

Falsenegg restaurant, vinneve foto

Triibhuus Restaurant, LINK .  It is a huge greenhouse restaurant.  As you can see full of plants everywhere.  It is for families, friends or couples on a date.  At the time we were there, there is a live Mexican/ Spanish duo singers entertaining the guests.  They also make you laugh and you can join in the dancing too!

Eglisau.  It is located in the district of Bulach, canton of Zurich.  It sits on the banks of the Rhine and yes another side of the famous Rhine river.  Be careful this river runs fast so not for average swimmer.  It can get you to Swiss-German border and to Netherlands and it empties into the North Sea.  There is a cruise ship that you can buy tickets to.  We just had a picnic and swim party here for birthday celebration and hired boats to go to a safer side for a swim.  We have children with us.

Eglisau, River rhine, vinneve foto

It can be a foodies haven! You will learn to appreciate salads as it’s so filling & delicious. Swiss people eat healthy foods. Not a lot of fast food around and if you see one the prices can be very expensive than eating in nearby cafes restaurants or food stalls around.  HINT:  Manor restaurant inside the mall offers good quality food and drink at an affordable prices around SF15-20 approx. for 1 adult and 1 child and you can still include a cake or pie but depends on your hunger.

Manor restaurant, vinneve foto

Alright, perhaps these are enough to make you hungry?  remember, Switzerland can be very expensive but if you know where to buy or eat out you can still enjoy all their foods and please don’t hesitate to ask some locals as they can speak english especially the younger generations.  Also more information at the Haupthbanhoff station.  You can buy tickets for trains and other tours and services.  Museums are nearby and as well as lots of branded shops around.  Do not forget to get a “Zurich in your pocket” brochure located at the train stations.  They have all the maps and information you will need.  Enjoy!  Tschuss!!

 

 

 

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Hotel review: Sheraton Creekside Dubai

 

 

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It’s been awhile since I did a hotel review because we usually go to the same hotel and did a review before so it’s a redundant to do again.

Sheraton is under SPG but it happens that Marriott group merge with this group as well as the Ritz Carlton so yes 3 in 1 big group program are better than one. More diversity and our membership can go a long way.

This hotel has a nice view considering it’s along the Creekside and it’s actually a tourist spot and nice to walk along the promenade and enjoy the multicolored lights around from the walkway to the ferries plying the waters. You can easily spot some touristy places to go just nearby hotel by looking at the view from hotel windows. They have a very small opening for smokers but I guess it’s part of balcony in the old days but now renovated to make the room bigger.

One tip though, try to avoid congested area around Deira if you could as though Sheraton location is good for tourists, unfortunately for drivers it’s a nightmare as you can get stuck in heavy traffic so better to have a GPS with you to navigate you out of the situation otherwise you may end up stress before you even begin enjoying your day or night out.  If you are not familiar with Dubai roads & motorways you may end up getting lost without a map.

When it comes to accommodations the hotel may be established in the 70’s but it has been refurbished as it looks modern now and clean with good polite staffs everywhere. The foods for breakfast varies and cater from Western, Asian and Arabs. I am very satisfied so to say except for the swimming pool which is a bit ordinary and small but it’s ok since we don’t stay just for that.

Fortunately hubby’s platinum membership get us some perks by having free upgrades so our room is located on the Club lounge on 11th floor, along with free fruit basket and can enjoy free access to the Lounge at level L with free drinks & nibbles but happy hour evening to 8:30pm children are not allowed because of alcoholic drinks.

I recommend this hotel for people who want to discover the past and for people who loves to walk around day or night. Experiencing Dhow cruises and Arabic foods. It’s one of the safest Cities compared to other famous Countries. Of course, having a wit with you is a must anywhere in the World you go!

There’s a lot to discover so try and come to UAE and visit all 7 Emirates you will return home with full of insights about this desert Country.  I bid you goodbye and till next post! Happy Holidays!!  A like and a comment will be appreciated. Thanks 💗

 

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Warmer Christmas 🎄 & a Chilly New Year!

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from readers digest

Yes that’s what we have around here in the land of the desert 🌵 the land of opportunity and multicultural society!

My first time to stay home in Abu Dhabi for Christmas and New Year my current City for the past 3 years but minus some months as I live in and out of the Country for personal reason. Some of you can only guess but maybe my loyal followers can understand. If you’re curious why don’t you read my recent post it’s a hint. I’m sure some can relate in every situation.

Christmas is the time of family celebration and here in my City it’s full of events! Most hotels have free events like X’mas lighting and if you’re lucky your kid can get free gift and parents can enjoy some nibbles & drinks. I’m sure some will agree going there before eating dinner. Consider it having an appetizers for free with shows etc. The malls have their free fun events for kids to enjoy like joining to make a gingerbread cookie and photo session with the famous man Santa 🎅 Yes, Abu Dhabi is a generous City! Even in the Parks lot’s of free fun things to do, including picnic at night with friends and family. Fireworks to gaze up in the sky and jugglers, magicians and even Alice in Wonderland grace the City.

free musical and dancing shows & other activities for kids.vinneve

Galleria mall outside.vinneve

X’mas Lighting @WestinAD.vinneve

You may be wondering how come a Muslim Country allows all these? It’s because UAE is a tolerant blessed Country. Where all religions can be practiced without any issues. In fact Pope Francis is coming next year in February to conduct a public mass! Imagine a Mosque side by side by a Catholic Church! One time I was inside a church having a mass and in time for singing you can also hear a song coming from the nearby Mosque. That is what called HARMONY!! isn’t it pun?!

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Corniche road, AD. vinneve

I wish you all a blessed Christmas and a Prosperous New Year!!   Peace on Earth.