Stuck in the Middle – Day Two

I was still very apprehensive as I woke up this morning. Hubby still wasn’t feeling that well. I was ravenously hungry but didn’t want to go out on my own.

After a little while hubby had a shower and felt well enough to explore the hotel with me, to see if there was somewhere we could get breakfast.

We ended up at the hotel restaurant where they were serving a buffet breakfast for 49 Qatari Riyal which is about $18.34 AUD.
We hadn’t eaten since about late morning the day before so we were very hungry!

They had such a great selection of food! I don’t know why but I felt uncomfortable taking photos in there so I didn’t. Everyone there was so helpful. They just couldn’t do enough for us, asking us if we wanted coffees and bringing it to us even though we were in a buffet restaurant.


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After breakfast we went to the top floor to check out the pool and the views.

Pretty nice views!
We were told there was an indoor pool here but there are no walls around/no roof above the pool and I’m pretty sure that’s what indoor means.

This is the sign outside the spa room. Separate times for men and women! Although, outside of those times, both men and women can be in there together.

Hubby and I walked outside despite the fact that it was almost 40 degrees Celsius at 9am. We went down to the water and snapped some pictures. NOBODY else was about. They’re smart here these people.


We started walking in the direction of the Souq Waqif markets when a cab driver stopped and asked if we wanted a driver. We said no. He then said the markets were closed and not due to open again until 4pm, and he offered to drive us around. He was very very persistent and it was HOT, so when he said “just hop in the cab and I’ll show you where I can take you and for what price”.
So we went in and he convinced us to be our driver for the next three hours. He already had a “tour” planned so off we went.
He wanted 350 Riyal for his time. We talked him down to 280 but I still think that was too much. In any case we were in and he seemed like a really nice guy.

I took a couple of pics as we drove.

That’s his cab there bottom right. It was comfortable.
He stopped here and there for me to take some pictures. He was very informative about DoHa but most of the information he said I haven’t retained.


This is a VERY impressive place!! Very new. Everything is new and more and more is being built.  You can see that there is no one around. It’s just too hot.

I thought it was funny how he and hubby both talked with their hands. I was sitting at the back and watched as they mirrored each other.


At one place there was a board up with references to the signs of the zodiac. I was surprised to see that in such a religious place.

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There is a lot of references to Italy here and I also noticed a lot of programs on tv in Italian. The driver said there is a “little Venice” section of DoHa and it is so pretty!! So colourful and has little canals through it.
Not a soul to be seen on the streets though!

I can’t remember the name of this next place that the taxi driver took us too. Honestly, he had told us about a mall – Villaggio Mall – that I really wanted to go to. I could have easily missed this next stop and had him take us to the mall but I think he really didn’t want to go there. If you hover over “Villaggio Mall” it will take you to the website and you can see the cool pictures of it.

In any case he didn’t take us there, he took us to some cultural place. I think that’s what he said. I honestly can’t remember. There’s a mosque there which is quite distinctive and I took a picture of the front of it. There’s also a pretty cool looking auditorium. Everything looks like it’s come out of The Flintstones.


IMG_7675We were supposed to meet the driver back in 30 minutes but we kind of lost our way.

There were golf carts that were driving people around and the driver said these were free so we approached one and I showed him a picture of the mosque and said
“Can you take us back there?”

Thank you Mr Nice Man.

Next stop was a famous mosque. Our driver wanted us to go and take pictures inside. He said I needed to go around the back to the women’s entrance and I would have to change my clothes into what they wear (forgot the name sorry) but then it would be ok to go in and take pictures.

It was really too hot to think about getting changed into anything and I don’t know how I feel about the whole male/female thing so we just went up and took some pictures of the mosque and the city from the mosque, then came down again.


IMG_7677If you can see it, that last picture is the one showing the way to the women’s entrance.

Oh look (pic right), these signs are all over the place showing you where it’s safer to cross the road.

After all this, our driver said for another 70 Riyal, he would take us to the Villagio Mall and leave us there. We’d have to make our own way back and a taxi back from there he estimated would be about 40 Riyal.  So he wanted about $26 AUD on top of the $105 AUD we’ve already given him, to be left at a mall far from our place.

We decided then we’d get him to take us to City Centre Mall which is closer to where we’re staying. He kept telling us it wasn’t worth going there but that’s where we insisted we wanted to be left so we went. He dropped us there, took our money, and went.

Later on, when we got a taxi back from there to our place, the driver said that most drivers can be hired for about 65 Riyal an hour. That’s about $25 AUD an hour. We had our guy for 2 1/2 hours at $110AUD. We got ripped! Ah well..

And turns out City Centre Mall was quite ok! With an ice skating rink in it too.


They even had a Tim Hortons there.
We cooled off, had something to eat, and had a look around.

Once we were back in the room, we decided to use the pool facilities. YES both of us went in the pool!! Because we left our phones behind there is no photographic evidence.

We were hoping it had cooled down a bit (insert laughter here) and walked down to the Souq Waqif markets at about 7pm. It was still stifling hot. Even though it was “only” 32 degrees, it was really humid. The air was thick and heavy and there was a strong smell of spice in the air.

The stuff there was so interesting! But the second you look at something, the owner of the stall comes out super excited that he’s going to make a sale. And sometimes you just want to look! And they just seem so desperate to want to make a sale. I feel bad! I can’t buy from every one so I bought from none.

I loved those dresses in the bottom pic!!
Some of these style dresses were expensive but others were really cheap. I was tempted to buy one but where would I wear it?

Hubby and I had some food at a local place – that is – a place full of locals. The food was so cheap we were worried there was something wrong with it but it was so tasty!! And as always, I ordered better than hubby!! Look how big my noodle plate is compared to his little kebab wrap thingie.

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It was just so tasty!

I’m glad we spent today here in Doha. We’ve seen a lot of new things and seen an incredibly different culture.

Tonight will be our last night in a strange bed. I’m looking forward to being home.
Love seeing new things but there’s no place like home.

Stuck in the Middle – Day Three

Our last day away and I can assure you, there will be no “surprises” after today. The next bed I’m going to sleep in will be my own!

I wanted to share another photo from last night. This was taken from the top of our hotel.

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Very nice views from up there!

Oh and a few other things from yesterday, we were talking to one of the servers in the restaurant here about the weather. He was saying they get temperatures of 50-55 degrees Celsius in the Summer!!! Then he added “It’s not too bad now, 42/43”
What?? That’s crazy! Who could ever say that 42/43 Celsius is not too bad!

And we asked our driver yesterday what the haze over the city was. Was it smog? Sand? He said no, they don’t really get sandstorms here. He thought it might be “something from the sea” which sounded pretty vague. I had a quick google and found out that DoHa is one of the most polluted cities in the world. This was one site I clicked on
http://aqicn.org/country/qatar/

Some other observations, even though everyone says there is no dress code for Westerners, I felt uncomfortable as a woman. Sometimes I think they say what they hope to be true, rather than what is true.
I was mostly covered up while I was here but you’re walking among people who are really covered up, and being white and blonde, I felt like I stuck out even more.
Just knowing people usually dress a different way made me feel uncomfortable. I know I’m not articulating this correctly and this is no reflection on the people here, everyone we interacted with was very nice but some of the looks we got made me uncomfortable at times.

Oh and there is a metal detector at the entrance of our hotel. Every time we have to go in or out, we need to go through it.

This morning we had breakfast at our hotel restaurant again and this time I took a few pictures.

 


We found out that there is a man there cooking up eggs the way you want them as you order them. They were so nice! I felt like we were eating so much and that everyone was looking at the gluttonous westerners. We wanted to make it last though as we weren’t eating again until late afternoon at the airport.

Everyone has been recommending the Museum of Islamic Art and it’s free and very close to our hotel so we went there this morning. You need to walk through a security scanning thing similar to what is at the airport to enter.
Again, no one on the streets!! Just a few workers as we approached the building.
The building itself is quite impressive!

 


Equally impressive inside.

 

 

They brought out these little sesame seed biscuit things with the coffee. They were so good!!

I took a few pictures of some of the exhibits inside. Not sure you can read the sign explaining what the exhibit is.

 

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Our shuttle back to the airport is booked for 3pm and as it’s too hot to do anything, we went back to the hotel and relaxed.

 


Our flight was not until 8pm though so we had a lot of time at the airport to wander around and see what’s here.
Again, this is an impressive building. It just seems like they’ve got money to throw around here at anything!

And I finally got to take a picture of the teddy bear! I think that’s what it is.It’s not the only large thing here either.

 

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I also took a pic while we were in the shuttle.

I realised later it didn’t take us very far and we could have easily walked it.

 

I just wanted to share a few more pictures from our plane. We were able to view outside of it via some camera and it made for some pretty interesting viewing during the landing!


That brings this vacation to an end.

Thank you for reading about our adventures and I welcome any comments you may have.

Kalinychta

Buona Notte

Tusbih ealaa khayr

Roman Around – Day Five

Today is our last full day in Rome.

img_2649.jpgIt’s taken me a while to realise that the letters on the taps here are different.
In Australia, there’s either a colour marker, or a “c” and “h” to let you know if that is a cold or hot water tap.

I kept turning towards the “c” one here and was wondering why it wasn’t getting any colder and then I realised “c” is for caldo – which means hot. The other tap has an “f” on there for freddo – cold.  Argh!

The beggars can be quite aggressive here. I don’t like walking around at night on my own. Most try to “do” something for your money. For example, one guy was sweeping the footpath yesterday. As we walked past he said “Could you spare some change for me. I’ve been making these footpaths nice and clear for you”. Something like that. We said we had no money. Which is actually true because we’ve been using credit cards, so we don’t have a lot of spare cash on hand.
The guy countered “yes you do” right away! Hubby then said “no, we only use credit card, we don’t have cash”
The guy said again “yes you do, you do have cash!” He wanted an argument!!

Twice I’ve seen little, very old, bent over ladies in black walking with a hand held out in front of them, asking for money then lashing out if you don’t give.
One asked hubby yesterday and he said “non ho moneta” or something like that and she started swearing!!

I took a few snaps of the streets as we walked. I’m going to miss this. Could you ever get used to it? So much history!! Old buildings, old roads… we just walk in amazement!

 

 

We walked back to Fontana di Trevi this morning because we STILL hadn’t thrown a coin over our shoulder into it. Tradition says, throwing a coin into the fountain over your shoulder means you will return. We will be back!

 

We stopped into a shopping centre that doesn’t have much in the way of shops. Well, nothing out of the ordinary that is, but it is a very interesting building.

 

Soon we were starting to get hungry and decided to go over the bridge into Trevestere again.
It’s so pretty to walk along the river.

 

 


The place we chose seemed to have cheap meals but the serves were pretty small and believe it or not, this selection of food we chose to share, cost us more than probably anything else we’ve eaten here.

 


That food plus a can of coke was 28 Euro. About $47 AUD. Although the food was good, I can’t say it was worth it.

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I’ve been drinking a lot of Monster Energy cans while I’ve been here and just today noticed the writing in Italian on the can.

 

 

When I’m back in Australia I’m going to have to check the cans there to see if they have the same message.

 


We were back at the Vatican again because we found out that you can enter the church for free so we thought that would be worth a look. What we didn’t realise is that there was a line for that too! That’s because they have to do a security check on you…. So we didn’t go inside. What a shame. I can’t remember it being this busy last time I was here. You can see from the pics how many people there are around. It’s just crazy!!! And everywhere you turn someone is trying to sell you something.

We walked back to our apartment late afternoon for a little siesta. There was NO Limoncello drunk, I can assure you of that!

Later this evening we took a walk to the Termini to check where the bus was going to come and get us to take us to the airport tomorrow. We’re going to have a very early start!
That area near the Termini is not good to say the least. So many unfortunate people. I couldn’t take photos because it’s just too sad.

Tomorrow a new adventure awaits.

Arriverderci Roma!

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Greece is the Word – Day Eleven

I feel we are staying at the perfect location. Not in the centre of Naxos city but close enough and with enough restaurants and stores to keep us fed and occupied. The rest of our party is just loving the sea which is just metres from our rooms.

Hubby and I went for an early stroll along the water. It’s so peaceful and calm at that time.

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We stopped to get some coffee and pastries.

The ordering system sometimes confuses me a bit.
In any case we got a spinach pie and what we thought was a sausage and cheese pie. When we bit into it, we realised the “sausage” was a hot dog type sausage.
It was still ok, just not what we were expecting.

After checkout we headed into Naxos. We were wanting to see the older part of the city and of course, Apollo’s temple which are doorlike ruins of an ancient temple standing on a scenic point looking over the city and sea.
Here are a few pics I took on the way to and at the Temple ruins.

 

 

 

It was a very warm day and the walk up to the top of the older part/castle was challenging at times but it was really interesting to see the white buildings and the stairs going up and up and up, draped by colourful bougainvillea.

 


View from the top was breathtaking

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We started to wonder about the population here and if most of the homes are holiday homes or if there is a resident population. It would be interesting to see what it’s like in the off season.

We haven’t had pizza since we’ve been here and today was as good a day as any. I really enjoyed what we had. It was pretty cheesy!! But apparently it was not “Greek” style. We’ve got that to look forward to yet..

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Before we got back on the ferry for Athens, we stocked up on snacks like the smart people do. Next time we’ll try to remember to bring a deck of cards too!! It’s a long trip back. I was eating some of the spanokopita we’d bought, mostly out of boredom, and said to hubby “eat some too!” and he replied “why? because if I don’t eat it now there won’t be any left for me?”
He knows me well.

Oh, and both on this trip, and the trip over, I was surprised to find children begging on the boat. How do they even get on there? Do adults sneak them on to do the begging? Has someone bought them a ticket so they can beg? It’s sad to see and hard to resist. That’s probably why they do it. Who can say no to a kid saying “do you have any money so I can have something to eat?” or something similar.

The bathrooms on the ferry had an sea view by the way! I was going to take a photo but unfortunately, I fell asleep and by the time I went back there, it was already dark.

I was dreading this long trip back but actually it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. Sleeping through most of it probably helped.
Sadly, our time is almost to an end here in this gorgeous historical country but there may be a surprise coming up…. stay tuned!

Schnithouse – Norwood

Today on the Dining Diaries…

We come across a wings deal we just can’t say “no” to. 
We find a place where good atmosphere and good prices entice and
Good tastes all round ensure we’re definitely going to be coming back!

0f6ad1c4c201ce76c4f527edda5168b6 (1)Diners today hubby and I happened to walk into Schnithouse on the Norwood Parade at Norwood.

The building itself is pretty magnificent and about 148 years old. It was previously a Baptist church and if you walk past it, you’ll see photos of the church as it was in the past.

I’d never been in the building before and didn’t know it used to be a church. I was overwhelmed by the size of the interior as we walked in. I just love the way they’ve decorated it! It just makes you want to stay and spend your money.

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Although the interior is nice, it was a warm Autumn’s day and hubby and I couldn’t decide if we wanted to be seated inside or out so we chose what we called the atrium.


It was nice in that it felt private yet we still had full view of everything that was going on outside.

I’d never even seen a menu for this place and if you are going to visit, I’d recommend going for lunch time where you can get some pretty amazing meals for $10! I thought for sure I hadn’t seen that correctly but it was! Hubby also noticed wings were half price on Wednesday and once he saw that, he really didn’t need to see any more of the menu.
There were a choice of three dry rubs with the Wings and hubby chose “Hot to Trot”

The Prawn and Crabmeat Linguine – Blue swimmer crabmeat, onions, chilli, garlic and prawns in a rose sauce – really caught my eye!

We also noticed this intriguing dessert option
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Sounds pretty good right? We decided to forgo an entree and try to leave room for this dessert!

The meals were out pretty quickly

Hubby was happy with how his wings looked. The server even specified “Hot to Trot” as she placed it down before him.

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Unfortunately, there was nothing “hot” about these wings. They tasted good! No doubt about that, but hubby said they were more like chicken fingers than wings. Although it’s not the end of the world, it’s a little disappointing when you expect to get something and it’s not what it’s advertised to be.

I was really looking forward to my pasta.

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I wasn’t offered any cheese which I thought was a little surprising but that’s ok.
I had to look at the menu again because I was sure there was meant to be more than just three prawns in my pasta. Didn’t it say Blue Swimmer Crabmeat? There was definitely none of that in my pasta.
The prawns I did have were succulent and beautiful to eat. I had no complaints. The sauce was rich and a little creamy and it had quite a nice amount of heat to it!
I ended up letting hubby dip his wings in there.
Although it might not look like a large serve, you have to remember it was only $10 and it did taste pretty good even if there wasn’t any crab meat in there.

So we ate at the Schnithouse and neither of us actually had a schnitzel! Well there’s always next time. I did notice on the menu that there was an eggplant schnitzel and I’d really love to try that…

After we’d eaten our mains we definitely had room for dessert so I went to order us the Dessert parmi.

I’m not sure what happened but twenty minutes after I’d ordered I had to ask if it was going to be much longer (we had another engagement). Our mains had come out quicker than this!

The server said she’d check and was back in five or so minutes with our dessert but not an apology or explanation.
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It probably looks a little better than it ended up tasting. I think we were enticed by the idea of it.
The “donut” was quite large and the amount of custard or whatever it was on top of it didn’t compensate for the dryness. If the donut had been a little smaller it might have worked… or maybe they could have put more custard on top? I’m not sure.
The banana was quite raw and not enjoyable to eat at all. The icecream was nice. A few grapes and apple pieces don’t really make a dessert do they? I mean there was no sauce/syrup or anything on them and it just looked a bit disappointing.

The icecream was nice but again, was not enough to cover for the dryness of the waffles.
I guess this dessert would have been a whole lot better if there was  a dipping sauce of some kind that we could have put the waffles and perhaps some of the donut and fruit into.

All in all, despite my complaints, I did enjoy our time here and yes I would definitely go back.

Have you been to the Schnithouse?
What did you think?
Let me know in the comments below!!!

Till next we chow….