The United Arab Emirates is culturally rich. It’s a tourists and shoppers paradise with pristine beaches, stunning architecture, and exotic cars driven as the family vehicle! The desert climate is toughest to manage from June to September, when it’s unbearably hot…which is why I chose to go in February! My advice to tourists is to do thorough research before a trip to the UAE, as their rules, laws, and dress codes are taken seriously. I learned this valuable information from my Uncle Tony, who was on assignment in the UAE as one of the top architects from the United States.
Burj Al Arab is a 7-star luxury hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The shape of the structure is designed to mimic the sail of a ship and at 1,053 feet, is the fourth tallest hotel in the world.
Burj Khalifa is the tallest man-made structure in the world at 2,722 feet, and maintains half the amount of steel used in the construction of the Empire State Building.
The Omega Dubai Desert Classic offered a $2.5 million prize fund with an additional $2.5 million purse for a hole in one on the par-4,17th. The prize went unclaimed, despite many golfers driving the green. I wanted to hit a few off the tee but settled for relishing in the beauty of the perfectly manicured course with the towering downtown backdrop.
Inside the Mosque, the ceilings are lined with one-of-a-kind Swarovski Crystal chandeliers. This is the largest chandelier in the world and weighs approximately 12 tons.
Floors and columns are made of marble with hand painted gems etched as leaves and flowers with the tops covered in gold.
There are many strictly enforced rules that each guest must adhere to at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, to honor customs and show respect. Women must wear a traditional robe (abaya) and headscarf (shayla), and men have to wear long pants and button down shirts. This is the same mosque where singer, Rihanna, was asked to leave after posing for pictures that didn’t conform to conditions put in place to protect the sanctuary of the religious monument.
I’ve visited three of the seven modern wonders of the world…Chichen Itza in Yucatan Mexico, The Colosseum in Rome, and Petra in Jordan. Additional lists are categorized to represent modern, medieval, natural and ancient wonders of the world. Of those four lists, I have also visited the CN Tower in Toronto, the Empire State Building, the Golden Gate Bridge, Pisa, the Panama Canal and the Grand Canyon.
Chichen Itza was a large pre-Columbian city built by the Maya people. The archaeological site is located in the Mexican state of Yucatán.
The Colosseum or Coliseum, is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome. Built of concrete and stone, it was the largest amphitheatre of the Roman Empire, and is considered one of the greatest works of Roman engineering. It was used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology.
Petra, also called the Rose City due to the color of the stone out of which it is carved, is an historical and archaeological city in southern Jordan.
Duomo di Milano is the cathedral church of Milan. The Gothic cathedral took nearly six centuries to complete. It’s the fifth largest cathedral in the world and the largest in the Italian state territory.
Neptune Fountain, Piazza Della Signoria
The city of Pompeii was an ancient Roman community destroyed and buried under as much as 20 feet of ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.
After taking the train from Milan, we navigated a paddle boat around Lake Como to enjoy the breathtaking beauty for hours. Lake Como reveals many elements that make it a magical place, including its unique position in the center of the lake, brightly colored houses, narrow stone streets and steep staircases. George Clooney’s home is behind this mass of greenery.
Vatican City is a walled enclave within the city of Rome. The population is 840, making it the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world. The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope.
In 2006, I was at FIFA World headquarters in Switzerland, enjoying dessert and the World Cup Finals. While I wasn’t allowed to take pictures inside the headquarters, I did manage to capture two photos at FIFA and some of the beauty of Switzerland. Zurich is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited.
Uruguay is a South American country known for its beach-lined coast. The capital, Montevideo, revolves around Plaza Independencia, presenting a unique mix of old world and art deco. This community has it all….Mercado del Puerto, an old port market and La Rambla, a waterfront promenade. The people of Montevideo were welcoming and the food and wine was spectacular!
Argentina is a massive South American nation with terrain encompassing Andes mountains, glacial lakes and Pampas grassland, the traditional grazing ground of its famed beef cattle. The country is known for tango, steak and soccer…and I experienced all three!