Our journey starts today, Saturday 17th September 2016, at Torino Caselle Airport. We land at London Stansted at around midday.
As soon as we leave the airport with the overground metro, we are thrown in a futuristic-like city. It develops mostly on a 20+ km long strip, along the sea. A huge 6 to 8 line highway is the arterial road that connects everything, faithfully sided by the metro.
All around bunches of skyscrapers. We rarely get to touch the external ground and feel the super hot air, that’s why it feels almost being on another planet, like there was zero gravity or non oxygen outside. One could spend entire days without having to go outside, as all the main facilities are connected through very cool air conditioned walks. The temperature excursion goes easily over 20 degrees between in and outside.
Our first stop is the Marina area. We feel melting the moment we exit the metro. We just resist 10 minutes to raise our heads to see the multitude of skyscrapers that face the bay covered with yachts, and then we run immediately back to the metro station. It’s weird, there’s very few people around, especially walking outside we met no more than 5 people, it almost looked like a ghost city, but then probably the sum of people living in there gets up to some thousands.
After a couple of hours of wandering around, we are ready to fight the heat and go to see the Burj from its very feet. Well, it’s quite impressive, 828 meters of perfect architecture and style. The photos speak for themselves!
Due to lack of time and for budget reasons, we decide not to visit it [we heard it can last up to 2-3 hours to climb up and down if it’s crowded, it costs around 35$ to get to 450m (125th floor), and 90$ to get to 555m (145th floor), the highest you can go, unless you are a sheikh and you book a room at 160th floor!].
Some similarities with Istanbul come to my mind, even more when we cross the Creek onboard of an Abra, the classic old wooden raft they have been using for centuries, in order to get to the other side of the old city. Cost: 1 Aed, 0,25$! (in the new town prices are western-like). The west side of the creek, Deira neighbourhood, is very busy and chaotic. It’s still hot but at least the sun has set. From the messy, coloured, perfumed and smelly streets we walk down in the underground metro, confused and tossed by a day full of contrasts and absurdity.
WHERE TO STAY:
- Safestay London Kensington Holland Park: we were recommended this location for good value for money, so definitely going to consider this for next time (beware of cheap hostels in London!);
- Renaissance Downtown Hotel, Dubai: check out this place for a dream city view in Dubai;
- You can book all your accommodation with free cancellation here.
HOW TO GET AROUND:
- London Underground: get an Oyster Card to save on your journeys. Connected to Heathrow Airport;
- Dubai overground metro: vital to move from the airport, to Dubai Marina, downtown. Fares from 3 AED;
- Dubai tram+monorail: to reach Palm Jumeirah, 20 AED/1 way, 30 AED/return fare;
- Abra traditional boat: to cross Dubai Creek, 1 AED only.
- Never leave home without a reliable travel insurance. Even if you trust yourself, you can’t always trust others. Better safe than sorry! Get your quote here.