As we were planning our trip to Qatar and Bahrain it was interesting to learn how many people haven’t heard of either of them. Among those who have heard of them, a common question was what exactly it is that we’re planning to do while we’re here.
Well, Katy is on this trip so you can be confident we have lots planned, but a little R&R by the pool will definitely be on the agenda for this trip too.
If you happen to be among those who are familiar with either country, I could tell you that Qatar and Bahrain are a peninsula and island, respectively. Oh and that they’re in the Persian Gulf. Yes, right between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Then again, this could unfairly bias you against them. I can assure you that Doha in no way feels like a war zone, though the area’s various no-fly zones did make for a rather circuitous route from Heathrow.
In fact, if you take a look at the Global Peace Index country rankings from 2015 you’ll find that Qatar ranks 30th. That puts it ahead of popular tourist destinations like Mexico, Jamaica, the Dominican and oh, the US.
Jet-lag recovery program
Though we’re all pretty good with jet-lag, the first day is always a bit of an adjustment. With that in mind, we decided to take it particularly easy with our first day in Doha.
Our hotel is located in the middle of Souk Waqif. After breakfast, we headed out for a little walk around to get our bearings and stretch our legs a bit.
As good as both those things are, the highlight for Ella was definitely stumbling upon the Bird Souk, which also had some fuzzier animals as well. With none of the guilt that comes with worrying about how humane stuffing that many bunnies, puppies or ducklings into a single cage, it was all upside for her.
After a good dose of pets, what a kid needs is some pool time, so we made our way back to the hotel.
One thing that’s changed over the years in our travelling (aside from this blog now being all Ella all the time) is the percentage of time that we manage to justify staying in nice hotels. It used to be just a night at the beginning or the end, then both, then it was a few days here or there. Now, it’s mostly AirBnB or pretty darn nice hotels.
In this case, we justified splurging on the Souq Waqif (formerly the Al Mirqab) because we’re using points for our nights in Bahrain. So, when you average the cost out per night it’s not really that bad, or so we tell ourselves.
And yes, it’s been totally worth it.
Our suite is big and has enough space for us to put Ella in a dark room to sleep while we stay up to read and write blog posts. Sure, she’s sleeping in the bathroom again, but it’s a big luxurious one and we have a second bathroom should we need to use the facilities.
Our suite also has a great balcony. Perfect for…
Checking out the crowds before you head out for a walk.
Getting some work done.
Or just some quite contemplation.
Just a taste of culture
Our one real outing of the day was to make the short walk over to the Museum of Islamic Art (MIA). A key part of Qatar’s plan to be the cultural capital of the Middle East, the MIA houses pieces from three continents and spans 1,400 years of history.
As beautiful as some of the pieces are, the crown jewel of the collection is the building itself, particularly the central atrium. There are some pictures below, even if none come close to doing it justice.