With the fall of Afghanistan, I am reflecting my travel experience there as a 23-year-old backpacker on the “hippie trail” from Istanbul to Kathmandu. Yesterday and today, it is a poor yet powerful land that foreign powers misunderstand and insist on devaluing.

In this 1978 journal entry, stay away from me when I travel 500 miles across Afghanistan and tour the capital city Kabul.

Tuesday, August 1, 1978: From Herat to Kabul

At 4:00, we woke up and it was dead night. At that time no one was awake but I sat on the edge of the bed. We ate a watermelon and caught the Qaderi bus in Kabul.

The bus was organized, punctual, and we were moving. People sleeping on the sidewalk were breaking the dawn as soon as it started to shake. Our overbearing bus honked loudly as if it was preparing itself for the 800-kilometer journey that was ahead. The road was good and we maintained a good speed, stopping all morning for just a quick coke. The countryside was desolate, hot, and unpredictable. A herd of camels, a stray nomadic or quiet bunch of tents, the ruins of mud bricks melting like sand castles in a wave, and the secluded power line with narrow, but wide, US and USSR-built roads. Across the deserts of Afghanistan. It wasn’t really a natural ride, but at the end of the 14-hour ride I gained an appreciation for the vastness of this country of 10 million people.

We had a short lunch stop where gin and I had a fanta and some peanuts and I used some from my zoom lens and then we ran. This was the biggest ride. Our driver actually wanted to keep a good tempo. The countryside has not changed all day. The cities of the same lazy, stupid camels and sleeping gray-brown earthen forts are lined with dirty mounds in the background. In the afternoon we had three stops to pray in Makkah and as darkness fell we entered Kabul. Jean was not feeling well so we took a cab to the tourist “Chicken Street” and found the most beautiful hotel available to us – not very nice, but okay, Sina Hotel.

Jean went straight to sleep while I had a bad dinner with a friendly student from Philadelphia who came here to study the language. I’m ruined after our great Herat Hotel.

Oh, I’m in Kabul. Imagine – very close to my dream – Khyber Pass and India. I believe I’m from Seattle more than half the world. I need to check a globe. I hope Jean is well – and I’m still well – in the morning.

Wednesday, August 2, 1978: Kabul

It is wrong to go to bed without a watch. I went to bed but got up very early. Jean was in a very miserable condition so he lay down on the bed. For breakfast I ate a watermelon, a large carrot and two boiled eggs and tea in the courtyard of the Sina Hotel. I was behind from the beginning today because I knew we had two days in Kabul and there was nothing to be excited about. I spoke to a German girl who was recovering from an eight-day battle with “Tehran Pete” and who wanted to go home. Home is a very nice thought when you are traveling to India. It’s more heavenly when you’re sick.

Going down to business, I went to a bus company in Pakistan and took a ticket to Pakistan through Khyber Pass on Friday morning. Then, with some incredibly incredibly persistent shoe-shin boys tailing me, I entered the Pakistani embassy and was glad to know that Americans do not need a visa to travel through Pakistan. We were set. Wow – Khyber Pass, Pakistan, then India!

Back at the hotel, I checked the gin. She was still feeling very rough. I brought her special magic tea and two boiled eggs and hung her for a while. His tendency was to fast and sleep.

It was so hot when I set out to cover Kabul, what an irresistible job. I had no maps or information. I really couldn’t turn to this blobby, hodgepodge capital. The city is like a giant village spread over several valleys that come together. It seems to love its sadly dried up river, which has very little water with a wide and rocky bed. It was hot and dusty, the shadows were sparse, and I felt very clear being alone and wearing my shorts. Still, I covered a good portion of Kabul on foot.

I walked through some very seedbeds, searched in vain for tourist information, and caught a taxi to the Kabul Museum. It was a long journey and he vehemently resisted the 40 afghani I gave him. He wanted 60. I thought 40 was too fair and finally, to lose him, I paid 50 bucks. Then I found out that the museum I had visited was closed. I was a little disappointed and for the people gathered around me, I got on a crowded bus and got to the end of it where I wanted to stay. It was a busy place. The only original city in Afghanistan and it had several large buildings and fancy establishments. But tribal chaos is everywhere. In the vicinity of a modern department store, old men donkeys with tomatoes, little girls selling little lime, piles of honeydew watermelons, a man sitting on top, sleeping and smoking.

I checked out a fancy hotel and sat in the cool bar sipping a coke and eating a pretty girl’s bread and then I climbed to the top of the “Afghan Store” which is the closest thing to a western department store and found a beautiful restaurant with a beautiful view of ugly Kabul .

An old man sat me down next to him and said, “I am Professor So-and-so. What’s your name and reputation? “He was excited about eating with an American but I’m afraid I wasn’t really in the right mood and I wasn’t talking much. He told me that he was” Mr. Rick “. I taught him the do-ri-me scale and what a radish. That was the only thing on my plate that stopped him. He left and I finished my meal with the silent gaze of the other diners and then I headed home.

Evidence of the recent revolution is everywhere. Upon entering Kabul our bus was checked (I guess for guns), copies of the headlines were seen posted on the day of the change, there is an 11:00 curfew and soldiers are armed with bayonets everywhere. On the street I saw what was left of a tank key, blown up in bits and left as a reminder that the old government was dead.

Later we entered our cozy little Cena Hotel courtyard for a light dinner. I worked on a honeydew watermelon, we both ate boiled eggs and tea. Jin had tea with some of Sina’s special sick people. The rest of the evening was lazy and dull. I wasn’t looking forward to another day in Kabul but there was no bus before and it would be good for Jean.

Thursday, August 3, 1978: Kabul

Today was Malaria Pill Day and our third weekend on the road. We were on the doorstep of India, most of our work was behind, and most of our adventures were ahead. Our health was at its worst but we were both determined that nothing could stop us now. I swallowed my super vitamins with zinc pills with black tea and ate toast and eggs before going out for a walk. I had no big plans for today – just to spend time and enjoy myself.

I walked down Afghanistan’s tourist high-pressure point “Chicken Street”, countless “Come to my store Mister, just look” and realized that out of all the rubbish everyone wants to see, I’m actually nothing. Wanted

I went down to the American Center to read a little and escape the midday sun and then I joined Jean with me. This is the first time in almost two days that he has left the hotel. We just read the loose and old news. The latest Time magazine was censored by the new government here. They censor any issues with USSR related articles. It leaves old news for us to read. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s better than nothing. Reading an American magazine on the street is like going to an American movie on the street – it takes you home as long as you’re immersed in it.

After lying around the hotel for a while, I grabbed Jean’s bag, white Afghan pants, grabbed my camera, and grabbed a bus on the outskirts of town. It is better not to know where you are going or not to care. I got on any old bus, paid an afghani, and drove as long as I wanted – which was the end of the line. The bus driver invited me for tea, which I accepted, and the party gathered to look around. Boy, can I really be a friend to these people who look really weird – they can look endless. Last night I wrote a poem called “Afghan Eyes” about a little girl who stared at me for five hours on our bus ride from Herat.

I put on my zoom lens and walked around in a tent where an entire community lived. It’s really sad that they were camera-shy. I was able to find a lot of Afghans, however, who were dying to take pictures of them and I tried my best to keep them. By bus I soon returned to the tourist world of “Chicken Street”.

Jean was tired of being knocked up and finally had an appetite. I myself was suffering from a little loose bowel problem and, after taking several alternate turns to the toilet, we slowly walked down the street looking for dinner.

The “steak house” caught my eye when we first arrived in Kabul, and now we’ll try it. I wasn’t counting on anything great – just hoping. In fact, I got a very good steak and vegetable dinner for less than a dollar, complete with soup and a pot of tea. That stains both of us wonderfully. After the meal, we exchanged a little money – our release from Iranian and Turkish rupees and 50 Pakistani rupees.

After that good meal we felt good and went back home. I spent the evening in the yard catching this journal, repairing a strap on my pack, and enjoying tea and a Fleetwood Mac tape. It would be great if we could move again tomorrow.

Being so rich (even as a humble backpacker) and being so white in this poor and struggling corner of our world puts me in a strange quandary as a traveler if I can change that. It’s kind of sad, but I realized today that I want to build a wall between me and any potential friends in the world. In Europe I love talking to people and making friends. This is one of the main reasons for me to travel there, but there are some obstacles. I think a lot of it is doubt, lack of understanding and fatigue. Also, most of the people I meet around here speak English, seemingly speaking it to make money from tourists. I want to speak the local language, but I don’t.

(This is a five-part series journal entry # 4. Stay tuned for another episode tomorrow, as I am 23 years old and traveling from Kabul to Pakistan via the Khyber Pass.)

With the fall of Afghanistan, I am reflecting my travel experience there as a 23-year-old backpacker on the “hippie trail” from Istanbul to Kathmandu. Yesterday and today, it is a poor yet powerful land that foreign powers misunderstand and insist on devaluing.

In this final journal entry of 1978, stay away from me as I travel from Kabul along the fictional Khyber Pass in Pakistan.

Friday, August 4, 1978: From Kabul to Rawalpindi, Pakistan

I was mentally for this morning. I don’t think I could have woken up feeling bad and I didn’t. Jean and I both felt good. We had breakfast at the last big Sina hotel and caught our small 8:30 bus to Pakistan.

On this bus I wanted to pass Khyber. I dreamed of crossing this romantic wild and historically dangerous pass year after year and it was too much on my to-do list – definitely in the top five. Now I was sitting next to this kinky old bright, but poorly painted, wonderful open window that leaned out half of my body if I wanted to. Our seats were big and high but crowded and the bus was full of Pakistani and “Road to India” passengers.

I was glad to get out of Kabul and almost immediately we were on a beautiful mountain pass. From here to the border, although nothing was up to the Pacific Northwest standard, it was the closest thing we saw in Afghanistan. We even crossed a lake, but I didn’t see any boats. I wondered how many, or how few, Afghans were ever on the boat.

Hastily stopping at Jalalabad for lunch break, we got back on the road in 20 minutes. We were close to the border and the fears kept growing. We hoped it wouldn’t be too much of a hassle but so far nothing has surprised us.

Afghanistan border station, time consuming, was easy. We just sat down to eat a watermelon and asked for money from us for a coke. In fact, we neatly planned to save our cash and leave without any Afghans. We waited our turn to search, filled out the form, stamped our passports – the normal process, and reloaded to stop after 100 yards for our acquaintance with Pakistan.

This place was pretty random. We entered a room and were called to our desk one by one. The customs officer “hunts and picks” our important statistics in his register and stamps our passports.

Passports in hand, we knew we were halfway through the process, but we weren’t sure where to go next. We walked around and entered a building, and in a dark room, two men jumped out of two beds and welcomed us to bed. No thanks! We get out of there and get crushed by dope dealers and black market money chargers. Everything was so open and clear that it seemed almost legal. We bought 10 10 or Pakistani Rupees and then tried to search our bags to finish our work. Disappointed by the chaos, we got on the bus and avoided the luggage check. At our window we were entertained by lots of hash sellers and especially with a steady guy with a small bottle of cocaine – 4 grams for $ 30. I took a picture of him and told him to get lost.

We were finally loaded and ready to do it – to cross the Khyber Pass. I was thrilled. Physically, it was like any other rocky mountain pass, but when you think, dream and think about something for many years, it becomes special. I got on the bus. Hanging out the window, I tried to take everything – every wild bend in the road, every castle-crowned hill, every stray goat, every colorful truck that passed us, and every mud hut. I looked at the rude people living near this treacherous pass and wondered who they were, how they lived, what story they could tell. In the dry, rocky graveyard, flags fluttered in the wind, hovering over the hillside. The cloud threatened. We were heading out of the arid Arab side of South Asia to the wet Indian subcontinent. From now on we will feel mild – but enjoy the green countryside.

We crossed the Khyber Pass and passed through a tribal village to pay the toll for convenience. I could see the bus with rifles around, ignoring the bus, and gathered in a circle doing business with both the product and the story.

Within minutes we were in Peshawar and saw that the direct train to Lahore was leaving within an hour. We didn’t see anything to hold us in Peshawar and India’s magnetism was getting stronger and stronger as we got closer. We’ve had trouble trying to decide how, what, and where to buy our tickets. It was a new experience – learning how to operate the Pakistani train system. A little upset and not sure what our best move was, we bought a 50 3.50 ticket (first class) for a 12-hour ride, quickly got off at 60 cents dinner, and found a place in a non-standard first-class car.

The difference between the first and second class was the padded seats and 1.50. We thought for 12 hours it would be nice to have pads. Our car was very crowded. I was happy to be by a window that was blowing in the warm, gentle breeze. We got out at about 5:50 just in time, and I tasted the wind.

The countryside was flat, gorgeous and attractive. After a while, I started reading Orwell’s Animal Farm. It was good and the time passed nicely. Then it got dark, and the bugs came. The lights work just like my old bikes – the faster you go, the brighter they become. It was not a very bright train. The bugs went so far as to talk to me and I made a bloody proclamation “From now on any bugs will come upon me and die by ruthless squash”. I decided that what I really needed to do was learn how to do it right, with my thumb or forefinger, and rub it on my arm and toe until they disappeared – either rubbing or rubbing.

The ride continues to pull. We decided to stop the trip to Lahore in Rawalpindi, a half way place, catch a train in the morning to finish the trip.

It was almost midnight when we set foot on the waterlogged road in Rawalpindi. The morning train to Lahore was at 5:15 so we could catch a hotel and get four hours of good sleep. It seemed so bad – everyone was full and everyone else looking for a place was disappointed. Luckily, I found a guy with an open door and a shower in the side door (Jean didn’t tell me about the lizard later). Otherwise, the 10 rupees ($ 1) we paid was just a hole. But it has served its purpose. I took a cool shower and found a comfortable place between the bumps and curves of my bed and soon I got to work sleeping. Today was a good day – covered many miles, a new country and I crossed the Khyber Pass.

(This is a five-part series journal entry # 5. If you miss anything along the way, go back to my Facebook page on Tuesday, August 17th.)

As recent events in Afghanistan unfolded in the headlines, I wondered how important it was to humanize distant tragedies – and the unique ability of artists to do so.

Picasso’s commemorative painting “Guernica” – more than 25 feet wide – is a powerful example of this. It is not only a part of art but also a part of history, capturing the horrors of modern warfare in a modern style.

The painting (which has been recreated, in this photograph, on a wall in the Basque market town of Guernica) depicts a specific event. On April 26, 1937, Guernica was the target of the world’s first saturated air-bomb attack on civilians. Spain was in the midst of the bitter Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), which pitted its democratically elected government against the fascist General Francisco Franco. In order to suppress the hostile Basques, Franco allowed his fascist Confederate Adolf Hitler to use the city as a guinea pig to test Germany’s new air force. The expedition flattened the city, causing destruction that was unheard of at the time (although by 1944, it would be commonplace).

News of the bombing reached Pablo Picasso, a Spaniard living in Paris. Terrified by what was happening in his own country, Picasso immediately began sketching a scene of destruction as he imagined …

Bombs are falling, lonely villages are being destroyed. A woman screams in the sky, a horse screams, and a man falls to the ground and dies. A bull – the symbol of Spain – thinks it all, keeps an eye on a mother and her dead baby … a modern “pieta.”

Picasso’s abstract, Cubist style reinforces the message. It looks like he picked up the bombs and pasted them on a canvas. The black-and-white tones are as disgusting as the newspaper pictures that reported the bombing, creating a depressing, unhealthy mood.

Picasso chose universal symbols, making the work an all-war commentary. The horse with the spear on its back is a symbol of suicidal humanity to the brutal forces. The fallen rider’s arm is severed and his sword is broken, further symbolizing defeat. The bull, usually a proud symbol of strength, is masculine and fearless. The dove, afraid of peace, can do nothing but cry. The whole scene is illuminated from above in the intense light of an empty bulb. Picasso’s paintings shed light on the brutality of Hitler and Franco. And, suddenly, the whole world was watching.

The painting debuted at the 1937 Paris Exhibition and created an instant sensation. For the first time, the world sees the destructive power of a growing fascist movement – a role in World War II.

Eventually, Franco won the Spanish Civil War and ruled the country with an iron fist for the next 36 years. Picasso vowed that Franco would never return to Spain. So “Guernica” appeared in New York until Franco’s death (1975), when it ended his decades of exile. Picasso’s masterpieces now stand in Madrid as Spain’s national art.

With each passing year, the canvas seems more predictable – honoring not only the thousands who died in Guernica, but also the 500,000 victims of Spain’s bitter civil war, 55 million in World War II, and countless others in the recent war. Picasso has a human face that we now call “collateral damage.”

I’m booking a four night stay Westin Memphis Biel Street Time to join TravelCon 2022, which was taking place in the city that weekend.

Josh, a member of the Prince of Travel team, will join me for this stay. In fact, my own stay was only three nights, when Josh would spend an extra night at the hotel to see some of the sights of Memphis before returning.

Westin Memphis Bill Street – Booking

We booked our stay using the cheapest available cash rate, which was at the time US $ 197 per night.

Despite the decent height and size of Memphis, the city’s hotels were relatively busy this weekend with Travelcon, a music festival, and NBA playoffs.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Exotic

For this reason, hotel rates on mid-range properties were relatively good across the city, and we felt comfortable arranging our four-night stay in a North American city for a very reasonable cash rate.

As Marriott Forest Fear property, redemption points between 30,000-40,000 Forest Fear points per night on this property. 0.9 cents / point (CAD) According to our point valuation, paying cash was a slightly better deal.

Since I’m already on the verge of retaining the Marriott Bonavoy Titanium Elite status on 75 qualifying nights this year, I’m glad I let Josh win a total of eight qualifying nights from his account thanks to Double Elite. Night promotion that was going on then.

Book the Marriott Hotel with the Prince of Travel

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Location

Westin Memphis is located in the heart of downtown Memphis, with the front entrance to George W. Lee Ave, on the corner of George W. Lee Ave and Bibi King Street.

FedExForum right next to the hotel. Many events are hosted here, so it can be quite busy in this area, especially when playing basketball. The road is often closed at this time, making it difficult for cars to enter the hotel.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Exotic

In addition to this slight inconvenience, Westin Memphis has a major location, as it is just one block away from Bill Street, one of the main attractions of Memphis. With the city’s best bars, blues music and BBQ food trucks centered on this main drag, you’ll reach the famous street in just a few minutes.

Other popular stops within walking distance include the Memphis Rock n ‘Soul Museum and the National Civil Rights Museum, both within a 15-minute walk.

If you’re exploring further, Memphis Zoo and Graceland – home of Elvis Presley – are both within a 15-minute drive.

You can also navigate the city via local transport. The 2nd bus station is just a two-minute walk from the Westin, and the Downtown Memphis Trolley is easily accessible. Bird scooters offer one more fun and convenient, if relatively expensive, means hiking.

Finally, the 18-minute drive from the Memphis International Airport Hotel. Uber and Lyft work in the city, although there are not many vehicles, so you may have to wait a while for your ride and you may be prepared to face higher prices than you are accustomed to elsewhere.

Overall, Westin’s central location is one of its main features, making it one of the best places to stay in town for all the exploration and experience Memphis has to offer.

Westin Memphis Bill Street – Check-in

After renovations in 2021, the hotel lobby has got a fresh look with a simple but elegant design. As you enter, there are three check-in desks at the back, while on the left is a waiting area with long plush couches and armchairs.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Lobby

Upon our arrival we were greeted by a friendly colleague who embodied the Tennessee warmth, helping us with a smooth and quick check-in process.

Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to “suite-talk” no suite upgrade was imminent, as the hotel was really full with all the events that took place in town that weekend.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Lobby Lounge

Our breakfast vouchers were offered as part of the welcome facility: four separate vouchers for four mornings at the hotel’s Blue Restaurant, each priced at US $ 30.

With that, we grabbed our key and went to our room on the eighth floor.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Lift

Westin Memphis Biel Street – a traditional guest room with two queen beds

We booked a traditional guest room with two queen beds for this stay, and the room certainly lived up to its “traditional” moniker in terms of overall design identity.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Traditional room with two queen beds

There were metallic accents, patterned floors and a handful of wooden furniture with warm tones with blue touches, creating a business-like and functional look.

In the middle of the two queen-sized beds was a single night table with two lamps. Each side of the night table was equipped with a USB charging port.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Queen Bed

There was a flat-screen TV on the wall opposite the bed and a storage console at the bottom. On the right was a chair with an ergonomic work desk and a large gold feature mirror.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – desk and television

There was a reading chair, desk and lamp in the corner of the room by the window.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – reading chair

The bathroom was fairly spacious compared to the rest of the room, with a single vanity and mirror, a bathtub and shower, with good water pressure.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Bathroom
Westin Memphis Biel Street – Bathtub
Westin Memphis Biel Street – Fountain

Our views from the room overlook outside FedExForum, so we’ve seen a flurry of out-of-the-box basketball fans after at least one play-off game this weekend.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – View of the FedEx Forum

On the other side of the building in Westin are rooms overlooking the Mississippi River, and if you’re here I would suggest trying to secure one of those rooms with a better view.

This traditional guest room with two queen beds was good enough for Josh and I to share the room, especially for a weekend conference where we wouldn’t spend much time in the room.

Most importantly for our stay, things like desks, chairs and charging ports were reliable and worked well for both of our productivity needs.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Breakfast

Each breakfast is entitled to a US $ 30 daily allowance with voucher tax and tip. Once they have been factored in, a main and side allowance from the A-la Carte menu with coffee and juice is good.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Breakfast Voucher
Westin Memphis Biel Street – Blue Restaurant

During our four nights we helped ourselves to several breakfast items. Some of the breakfast items were great, others were a bit lazy.

Chicken and waffles, a southerner, were certainly a highlight – although it was fairly heavy except for all the gas fried chicken in our Memphis.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Chicken and Waffles

Crescent sandwiches and omelettes were also quite tasty. However, some items like avocado toast fell flat and looked as if the avocado had been squeezed out of a tube.

Overall, the breakfast offer was still quite generous, especially for a chain hotel in North America where you often do not know what kind of breakfast you will get.

Many hotels have reduced their breakfast offers, but in this case, the Westin Memphis Marriott Forest has continued to provide a solid morning meal for the elite.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Other amenities

The hotel bar and lounge are located in the lobby, and there must have been buzzing at night as we walked through, sometimes with live music performances.

Westin Memphis Bill Street – Lobby Bar
Westin Memphis Bill Street – Lobby Bar

The gym facility with cardio equipment facing the large window is open 24 hours. Free weights and power tools available.

Westin Memphis Biel Street – Fitness Center
Westin Memphis Biel Street – Fitness Center

Finally, the hotel also offers an exciting guitar check-out program in keeping with Memphis’ strong musical tradition. Guests can borrow a guitar from the hotel’s display case and return it at the end of their stay.

Although we haven’t used it to sing with ourselves, it looks like it will create a fun way that would otherwise be a fairly cookie-cutter hotel experience.


While in Memphis, it is difficult to make a mistake in choosing Westin for your stay, especially because of its convenient location on Bill Street. Although the rooms are not overly luxurious, they will probably be enough for your needs, whether you are in town for pleasure or business.

Seeing what I needed to see during the Memphis trip, I don’t see myself in a hurry to come back. However, if I stayed in Memphis again and wanted to be closer to Bill Street, Westin would continue to be my favorite hotel.

I believe a regular dose of travel dreaming can be good for the soul. Move away with me to Siena, Italy in this excerpt from my book For the love of EuropeA collection of 100 stories of my favorite places, people, and European travel life.

Spread across a Tuscan hill, Siena offers perhaps the best medieval experience in Italy. The courtyards are flower-decorated wells, the churches humbly share their art, and the alleys turn into red-tiled roof panoramas. It is a city made for walking. Its rocky skylines and rustic brick alleys roll by any means, the city is a time of architecture, where pedestrians rule and the present feels like the past.

Today, the self-confident Sienis proudly recalls their century-old achievements. In the 1300s, Siena was one of the largest cities in Europe and a major military power in a class including Florence, Venice and Genoa. But weakened by a catastrophic plague and conquered by her Florentine rivals, Siena became a backwater – and it has been ever since. Siena’s loss becomes a gain for travelers because its political and economic irrelevance preserves its Gothic identity.

This is most notable in Il Campo, where I started my walk. In the city center, this great shell-shaped piazza, featuring a sloping red-brick floor from the City Hall tower, is designed for people, providing the perfect invitation for the lottery. El Campo plunges you into a world where troubadors stroke the guitar, lovers stroke each other’s hair, and belly pillows. It got my vote for the best pizza in all of Europe.

Most Italian cities have a church on their main square, but El Campo gathers the citizens of Siena around City Hall, including its skyscraper municipal tower. Holding my breath as I climbed to the top of the 100-yard-long bell tower, I surveyed the scene and thought about the statement that Campanile had made. In Siena, the king and the popes took a back seat to the people, as it was all about secular government, civil society and humanism.

The public is welcomed inside the City Hall where, for seven centuries, educational frescoes have reminded us of all the effects of good and bad government. A fresco shows a utopian republic, happily in peace; Another fresco depicts a city in ruins, engulfed in greed and oppression.

But the church still has its place. If El Campo is the heart of Sienna, then Duomo is his soul – and my next destination. Sitting a few blocks from the main square, above the highest point of Siena, and visible for miles around, this white- and dark-green-striped cathedral is as ornate as Gothic. Inside and outside, it is filled with statues and mosaics. The stone heads of nearly 2,000-year-old popes – more than 170 so far – ring inside, peeking from top to bottom as they enter.

Great art, including carvings by Michelangelo and Bernini, complements the interior of the church. Nicola Pisano carved the magnificent marble pulpit in 1268. It is crammed with subtle Gothic storytelling. I get closer to studying the scenes of the life and final judgment of Christ.

Trying to escape the crowds at the cathedral and main courtyard, I walked away from the city center. I get purposefully lost in the curious back street of Siena, wrapped in iron rings to tether the horse and lined up with colorful flags. Those flags represent the city Districts (Neighborhood), whose fervent loyalty is demonstrated twice a summer during Palio, a wild bareback horse race that turns Il Campo into an exciting and crowded racetrack.

While wandering around the city, I was fascinated by the street shops featuring cyanide specialties: gourmet pasta, vintage chianti, Boer prosciutto and city favorite food: Panforte.

Sienna demands for calorie fame in Panfort. This rich, chewy mix of nuts, honey and candied fruit fascinates even fruitcake haters. Local bakeries claim that their recipe dates back to the 13th century. Some even force employees to sign an undisclosed contract so that they do not reveal the special spice blend that tastes like their version of this favorite – and very dense – cake.

One of the keys to enjoying Siena is to imagine it in the good old days of the 14th century while taking advantage of today’s modern scene. After chewing on some of that panfort, I decided to stay here until the evening when the tour groups left the city on their buses. I duck in a bar for Hungry (Happy Hour), which includes a free buffet and now I’m primed and ready to join Walking – An evening walk. When I return to El Campo to enjoy that beautiful twilight moment when the sky is brighter than a rich blue dome, the proud Siena Tower that seems to hold it high.

From Kells Book

For me, one of the great joys of traveling is meeting the great art personally – which I have collected in a book. Top 100 Masterpieces in Europe. Here’s my favorite one:

Jesus Christ sits on a throne and rocks something very important – a book, the holy word of God. She has curly flaxen hair and a lush head with a thoughtful expression. Sitting under an arch, he is surrounded by a maze of colorful, intricately woven designs.

This old biblical parable tells the story of Jesus. This particular drawing came at the very moment in the story (Matthew 1:18) where this heavenly Jesus is about to be born on earth as a humble mortal.

This is just a page of the 1,200-year-old gospel known as the Book of Kells. Perhaps the best work of art in the so-called Dark Ages, this book is a rare work of art from those turbulent times.

This is 800 years. The Roman Empire collapsed, leaving Europe in disarray. The Vikings were raping and looting. The Christian faith – which was officially embraced in the last years of the empire – is now weakened as Europe returns to its pagan and illiterate path. In the midst of the turmoil, on the outskirts of Europe, lived a group of scholarly Irish monks dedicated to indulging in the embers of civilization.

These monks worked hard to preserve God’s Word in the book of Kells. They slaughtered 185 calves and dried the skin to make 680 cream-colored leaves called Velam. Then the Tonsard monks picked up their swan-quill pens and went to work. They carefully wrote the words in Latin, embellished the letters with elaborate caricatures, and interspersed the text with full-page illustrations – creating this “enlightened” manuscript. The project was thwarted in 806 when the Vikings brutally looted the monastery and killed 68 monks. But the survivors fled to Abbey (near Dublin) in Kells and finished their precious Bible.

Christ Anthrone is just one page – 1/680M – This wonderful book. On closer inspection, the incredible detail-work of the page comes alive. On either side of Christ are two mysterious male costumes, and two strange-looking angels, with their wings folded in front of them. The head of Christ is the peacock (symbol of Christ’s resurrection), their feet are stuck in the vine (symbol of his Israeli roots). Of course, Christ is not terribly realistic: he poses as a Byzantine icon with brown eyes, strange ears, and ET fingers.

Real beauty lies in intricate designs. It’s a jungle of spiral, rolling and bound snakes – yes, they are snakes, their little heads rising here and there. The monks mixed Christian symbols (cross, peacock, shrub) with the pagan Celtic motifs of the world around them (circles, spirals and interwoven patterns). It is all done in bright colors – blue, purple, red, green, yellow and black – carefully carved with a quill pen. Of the 680 pages of the book, only two have no illustrations.

As Christianity regained its footprint in Europe, monasteries everywhere began to produce the same monastic-script – albeit rarely like the Book of Kells. In 1455, Johann Gutenberg invented the printing press, books were mass-produced … and thousands of monks were freed from being the authors of civilization.

In a recent lever at New York Liberty International Airport in New York, I spent some time. United Club Lounge I used the space for light lunches and some work.

There aren’t many lounge options in Newark – the Priority Pass app shows La Guardia as the nearest lounge! I would appreciate a commuter, unless the pedestrian is released from a miserable Terminal A concourse.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Access

Newark has three United Club Lounge. I went to the lounge at Terminal A, from where the Air Canada flight departed. The lounge is open daily from 5:00 to 9:15.

The lounge is located right in the middle of the three circular concourse of Terminal A. Entrance has been blocked along a narrow corridor running alongside security checkpoints.

If you continue beyond that, you will reach the lower number of gates, which are currently under construction. There, you’ll see the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge, which is currently closed during construction.

The lounge is framed by automatic sliding glass doors, United’s signature blue tones.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Entrance

In the foyer, there is a small seating table under a picture of a United aircraft from many decades ago. The space has cream, tan and light gray tones, a palette you will notice throughout the bright lounge.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Foyer

As soon as you enter you will check in at the desk to your right.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Front Desk

Accidentally booking a lever through a terminal with a few lounges, I was pleasantly surprised that I deserved complimentary access. I was able to enter the lounge because I had an International Departing Boarding Pass in the business class cabin of the partner Star Alliance Airlines.

I was flying an airplane award ticket in latitude fare class, successfully upgraded to business class. Arriving on a United-operated route from Memphis, my next segment was Air Canada from New York to Toronto – in fact business class cabins, despite being technically an economy rental, thus giving me access to the lounge.

You can also get entry to United Club with Star Alliance Gold status, which will have your Airplane 50K members or above. Alternatively, if you have purchased an Air Canada Maple Leaf Club membership, you can enter the United Club Lounge, although I do not believe that this is equivalent to the benefits you would get with a premium airplane credit card.

If you do not have access to the complimentary lounge, you can pay US $ 59 plus tax – a reasonable use of any funds you have at United Travelbank if not used for your paid airfare.

In addition, you can head to Terminal C, one of United’s main hubs, where you’ll find two United Club Lounge. Terminal C offers a United Polaris Lounge with more limited access.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Seats

The lounge is arranged in a rectangular layout, with three separate rooms. There is a tarmac view of A gate from each seating area.

As you enter, there is a full lounge seating area to your left. Most seats have separate armchairs, end table lamps and multiple power outlets in between.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Lounge seating
United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Lounge seating

Set to add some seating by the window, the two lounge chairs across a small coffee table face each other, but without any power outlet.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – window seat

With a few large tables, chairs and a banquet on the back wall. (In the absence of a sleeping room inside the lounge, I did not take any pictures out of respect for the people who used benches for sleeping.)

To your right, there are two phone booths with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, where you can call with some acoustic privacy. Each room has an empty desk and a swivel chair.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Phone Booth

Upon entering the lounge you will head to the main dining and bar area. The bar is lined with some high-top stools and dining chairs are arranged around a medium-sized table for a group of three.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Dining Room

Finally, in the third room, there is more seating in the lounge than in the first room. There are two high-top tables with large power banks for groups of eight, so you can eat or work as a group.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Extra lounge seating
United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Group seating

In the back corner, there is a small table surrounded by the same executive-style conference chairs in the foyer. This would be a really comfortable conversation place, as the table is too small and away from the chair to eat or work comfortably.

I split my time into a standard lounge chair with a dining room table, a phone booth and a private power outlet. I found them all to be reasonably comfortable for their intended purpose.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Dining

Featuring a self-service buffet in the main dining room across from United Club Bar. The food is protected by a sneeze guard.

I went to the lounge from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., as lunch was being served.

All options were served cold except for a lemon chicken arjo soup.

I tried soup, a honey turkey wrapper, a grilled pesto panini, a vegan couscous salad and a chocolate chip brownie. Everybody was perfect for a varied light lunch and none was different in any way, Panini was my favorite.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Lunch sandwiches, salads and snacks
United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Lunch dessert

Other options available include oats, a green salad and a snack box with cheese, grapes and pretzels.

I’m not sure if this is a COVID-19 service reduction, but the food presentation didn’t impress. Paper plates and bowls are provided. Plastic cutlery is wrapped separately. Some foods are packaged in plastic containers. Spices are available in single serving.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Cutlery and spices

The selection seemed a bit thin and unimaginable, although I wonder if this impression is further enhanced by the presentation. The buffet had some empty space with an induction cooktop, which I guess was used for hot meals as part of a more elaborate dinner service.

All foods display a prominent allergy / food alert, which I thought was a significant touch.

In the third room, there is a snack bar behind the main buffet, with fresh fruit, chips and eli coffee.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Bar

Bar service was also limited during my visit.

Most notably, the bar had a very small selection of complementary drinks. You can order a peroni, a Sam Adams, or a Brooklyn lager, a house red or white wine, or good spirits.

United Club Newark (Terminal A) – Bar & Dining Area

All other drinks had a significant upcharge, which in my view was a huge loss for the price of airport lounge access. Most importantly, the bartender does not seem to be incredibly enthusiastic about serving guests. Charging those who expected free drinks is definitely a bit awkward and frustrating, which I feel has affected the quality of service.

The selection was not very extensive, either. I didn’t look at a cocktail menu, but I didn’t realize they featured any signature recipes. A handful of premium spirits like Gray Goose Vodka, Tankere Jean, Jakapa Ram and Jim Beam Bourbon are available. There is also a selection of red and white wines.

They weren’t brewing beer for some reason, which dropped a good portion of the beer list that appealed to me. I settled for a bottle of Brooklyn lager with my lunch.


For a place that charges a hefty entry fee for non-members, I hope United Club will offer a little more. I guess most of the lounges are returning to full service level with the expiration of the COVID-19 policy, but perhaps the time of day I visited enhanced the limited experience.

Overall, however, I found the food to be more of a favorite than the one I visited at Maple Leaf Lounge (albeit to a lesser extent, a lesser one). For me, it surpassed the trivial bar service offered during my visit.

It looks like United has broadened its offerings between Club Lounge and Polaris Lounge, just as Air Canada does with the Maple Leaf Lounge and Signature Suites in Toronto and Vancouver. I would like to go to a Polaris lounge soon for comparison.

Although I would never again go out of my way to the United Club at Newark’s Terminal A, I was glad to find a peaceful place to relax and do some work. It was a long lever saving grace during which the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge was closed, which will reopen shortly after construction is completed.

More United Lounge reviews

Earlier this autumn, four of us – total newcomers on long-distance trekking – walked around Europe’s highest mountain. (On the first day, the big birds of prey hovered over my head. My guess is: they were vultures just waiting for one of us to come down.)

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 100-mile, ten-day hike – but we cheated a bit, hiking the best 60 miles in six days from Mountain Lodge to Mountain Lodge, catching a local bus through less exciting parts and a “Sherpa service” in France, Italy. And run our bags every day from Chamonix to Chamonix via Switzerland.

The Tour du Mont Blanc is a 160 km (100 mi) perimeter of Europe’s highest mountain. We have made 100 km (60 miles) the most efficient way to connect parts with public buses
I prefer the Sherpa service at Mont Blanc: you leave your big bag in the hotel lobby or in your mountain shelter and rely on the shuttle bus to pick it up and deliver it safely and safely to your next accommodation. Every day, our bags were happily waiting for us at check-in.
The Tour du Mont Blanc has an array of buses and mountain lifts available to assist travelers as they choose. The season is short, however, and most elevators and buses are closed from mid-September.

This is the first time I enjoyed a piece of Europe with my girlfriend Shelley and we were joined by Sue and David from Minnesota. (I worked with David Preston for 20 years at TPT – Twin Cities PBS. In the world of public television, he is considered a “please drive guru”.)

Everyone seems to have hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc counterclockwise, starting from the official start point in the village of Les Houches just outside the Chamonix. And this arch is always good for a happy, pre-blister group shot.

Each day, we would take a five-hour hike to what the trail signs said – which took us six or seven. Our motto: “Take your time. That’s why we’re here.” Typically, the day begins with a 3,000-foot climb (or “call”) 8,000 feet above sea level.

Part of our pre-trip training was taking steep hikes near the house. On a typical day’s climb of a thousand meters (or about 3,000 feet) at TMB, I would recommend choosing a practice hike with a 3,000-foot altitude gain so you can use it as a reference point. In the state of Washington we had the Mount Sea Trail. We even had a word for a 3,000-foot elevation: “A Mount Sea.”

Every morning at Mont Blanc, we will do our hard work, usually climbing to a height of 3,000-feet. It seemed to last forever … but it didn’t. And reaching the pass (usually about 8,000 feet above sea level) was always a celebration of lunch.

This week, Bloomberg broke the hot news that Star Alliance, the world’s largest airline alliance, will launch a co-branded credit card.

The advantage of this product? A unique personal loan solution that will allow you to earn points and redeem Star Alliance has 26 airlinesPlus at least one non-airline partner.

Let’s dissect the news and see what might be included in the upcoming Star Alliance credit card.

What is a Star Alliance Credit Card?

The announcement of the Star Alliance credit card has been confirmed by Jeffrey Goh, CEO of Star Alliance. Although the key issues of the product and its general capabilities have been revealed to the public, it is a bit difficult to ascertain exactly what its capabilities might be.

First, the good news. Star Alliance has confirmed that it will allow credit card users to earn and redeem points on any one of their partner airlines.

Even better, it looks like all the airlines will be transfer partners, which means that the points earned on the credit card can be transferred to one of the airlines in question.

That’s pretty big news, and one that will launch any over-the-top aviation enthusiast like me into speculation overdrive. This decision indicates that a potential Pan-Star Alliance could be created.

Such a decision has significant implications, as it would mean that all of a sudden each point program would now have some sort of “base” exchange rate with the Star Alliance program.

More importantly, it will allow international customers to start earning from some of Star Alliance’s more secretive carriers. For example, I haven’t had the opportunity to consider exploring Japan as a result of the epidemic (despite having the same first name as their biggest brand of beer) and thus there is no reason for everyone to make money. The Mileage Club of Nippon Airways, though ANA offers one of the best business class products on the market.

With this credit card, I am able to suddenly redeem points within the ANA Mileage Club, which will make it easier to book one of their elusive first class flights or the ANA Round-the-World Awards.

On top of these benefits, Mr Goh has confirmed that at least one “non-airline partner” has been added to the credit card facility network, and so far it is speculated that this will point to one of Europe’s railways.

Since Europe is leaning towards green energy, and indeed many carriers (such as Lufthansa and Switzerland) offer train travel as part of their transportation services, this would probably seem to me.

That being said, I also think it is possible to name other partners, such as Uber, which has a co-branded credit card in the United States.

If I were an adventurer, it might even refer to a cruise line partner, although I think the most contrary to me is that it is very unlikely.

When and where will the Star Alliance credit card be launched?

For those of you who have been waiting, Star Alliance has confirmed that their first co-branded credit card will be launched. By 2022.

I hope there would have been a more specific date for this announcement, but given such a vague benchmark it is hard to imagine that this card would be available before Q3 or even Q4.

While the wait will be unfortunate, it is clear that a lot of thought has been given to the design of this credit card and the price offer to potential customers. It also appears that the product’s first voyage will be in an indefinite “regional market”, which I believe will exclude the United States.

With a population of less than 40 million and a distinct lack of strong “non-airline partners”, I think it is unlikely that this card would be as good as expected to be launched in the Canadian market.

My personal theory is that the initial offer for this product will be somewhere in Europe or East Asia, where heavy payment cards and the presence of Star Alliance such as Germany and Singapore have strong testing grounds.

A huge chunk of me would be happy, though, if the company throws us a huge carbball and decides to launch its initial test product somewhere with huge potential, which is rarely served by either the credit card issuer or the airline loyalty program, such as Ethiopia.

In the end, only time will tell but you can bet that we will follow every update here in Prince of Travel. Personally, I can’t help but hope that this card was introduced in the United States and then gradually made available around the world, giving us access to our US credit cards here in Canada.

Star Alliance Point: A Variable Currency?

While I’ve talked at length about how the introduction of the Star Alliance currency could allow Canadians to earn points that were previously difficult to access, I would also like to highlight the possibility that this could offer another benefit: Exchange from one program to another.

If member program points, such as airplane points, could be transferred to the Star Alliance currency, this would be Actually Then allow them to be transferred to other programs, such as Swiss Air’s infamous inaccessible Miles and more.

Then I will be able to book the world-famous first-class Swiss product without having to worry about being unilaterally canceled!

I’m hopeful that the introduction of the Star Alliance credit card, wherever it may be, will make the most sought-after aviation experience more accessible for those dedicated enough to follow the new product.


Creating a Pan-Alliance co-branded credit card should be exciting for every Miles and Points enthusiast. In fact, I think it’s a positive development for anyone interested in aviation, as it indicates that airline alliances are taking their post-epidemic cooperation more seriously.

Whatever happens with the Star Alliance credit card, I hope its bonuses and benefits are accessible to all Canadians and help make all the ambitious, once-in-a-lifetime bookings easier.

Until next time, check out your newsfeeds.

Think fast, the best city in the world! Perhaps you dream of Paris, London, and New York.

Yet in the first quarter of 2022, about 2.2 million tourists visited Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Thousands of Americans visited the city and saw sights they had never seen before. You can too, unless you know some important facts about Dubai.

Interesting facts about Dubai

How is the history and climate of Dubai? What are the biggest tourist attractions of Dubai? How can you respect local customs and stay safe in the city? Answer this question and you can make the most of this spectacular destination. Here are 19 facts you should know.

1. 20 years ago, Dubai was a desert

Information about the Dubai Desert

People have been living in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for 125,000 years. Yet the city we know today as Dubai before the 18th century was not established.

At first, the town was a small fishing village with only a few hundred people. It was small and compact, most modern day cities were desert. Farmers would not even use the land to grow plants or raise livestock because it was habitable.

The United Arab Emirates was established in 1971. The UAE has become a virtually rich country overnight due to its abundant supply of oil.

Oil has been found off the coast of Dubai, so traders are flocking to the city to start businesses. Although many traders left because of the Gulf War, they returned when oil prices rose. Starting in the 2000s, they invested in the development of Dubai, which continues to this day.

2. Don’t confuse the city with the emirate

Information about Dubai Emirates

When people think of Dubai, they think of the city of Dubai. But there is also an emirate in Dubai. Read more: 25 Best Things to Do in Dubai

The city of Dubai is the capital of the emirate, but the emirate also has small communities and underdeveloped areas. When you are asking for directions or travel advice, make sure you are talking about the city.

3. Foreigners love Dubai

Information about Dubai foreigners

Dubai’s population is just three million people. Despite the importance of Dubai to the UAE, only 15% of the population is made up of local UAE residents.

Dubai has a large population of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi residents. Many of these residents are businessmen who have moved to Dubai in search of different opportunities. You can find Indian and Pakistani communities and businesses across the city, especially in high-income areas.

The largest population of Western expatriates is made up of British people. But you can find a lot of people from Africa, especially Somalia, as well as Americans.

4. But rain does not cloud

Information about Dubai Rain

The climate in Dubai is similar to the one you will find across the Middle East. On an average, it rains only 25 days throughout the year. February is the month of average rainfall, yet the city receives only 1.4 inches of rain that month.

Despite the lack of rain, there is not much sun in Dubai. There is 12 hours of daylight every day in June and only eight hours in January. You should expect to use street lights to navigate the city, especially if you are out late.

Read more interesting information from around the world

5. Be sure to go in the colder months

Information about Dubai Cool Month

Dubai fills the lack of sunlight with heat. In spring and summer, average temperatures can exceed 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

But in other parts of the year the temperature drops significantly. In January, you may have days where temperatures hover around 75 degrees. Since you are planning a vacation in Dubai, you should try to go to the city during winter or autumn.

6. Weekly holidays are not Saturday and Sunday

Information about Dubai Weekend

Year after year, the weekend in Dubai is Friday and Saturday. In January 2022, Dubai changed its official weekend to better align with the international financial markets.

However, their weekly holidays and vacations are still a little different. Dubai traders work Monday to Thursday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. They work until noon on Friday and their weekly holiday lasts until Monday morning.

7. Address system up and running

Interesting information about Dubai address system

When asked about interesting information about Dubai, many say that the city has no official address system. That used to be true. When residents sent packages to each other, they wrote instructions on how to find the recipient instead of writing the address.

In the last few years, Dubai local government has created an address system. They have allocated codes on roads and buildings, so that people can send packages with written address.

However, many residents remain unfamiliar with the system. You should be able to provide instructions on how to get to the locations you want to go to.

8. You can use many languages

Interesting facts about Dubai language

Arabic is the official language of the United Arab Emirates. If you are talking to a government official or important businessman, you should try to use Arabic. Even a basic greeting can help break the ice.

But Dubai is a multicultural city, and many people are familiar with English. You can also speak Hindi, Chinese and Urdu, especially with Indian and Pakistani residents.

9. You can have luxury

Information about Dubai Luxury

Dubai is probably the biggest city in the world for luxury hotels. Even if you travel on a budget, you can stay in a position with great facilities and personal services.

There are thousands of five-star reviews on Burj Al Arab’s TripAdvisor, yet you can stay at the hotel for as little as 200 per night. You can use the free high-speed internet, enjoy a massage and manicure at the hotel spa, and have breakfast at the buffet. We were at JW Marriott Dubai and The Habitat Grand Dubai they were both great and quite affordable.

10. Burj Khalifa is the king of buildings

Interesting facts about Dubai Burj Khalifa

Ask someone about the information in Dubai, and they will talk to you about Burj Khalifa. At 2,722 feet, it is the largest building in the world.

The building is multi-purpose, so you can find various attractions inside. You can take one of the fastest lifts in the world up to an observation deck about 1,500 feet from the ground. When you are hungry, you can eat at the atmosphere Burj Khalifa, the highest restaurant in the world.

11. Miracle Garden is the largest flower garden in the world

The Dubai Miracle Garden has more than 50 million flowers spread over an area of ​​780,000 square feet. It is the largest natural flower garden in the world, and inside the garden you will find flowers of virtually every species.

The garden also has the world’s largest flower installation, a life-size version of the Emirates A380 made entirely of flowers. When you need to rest, you can sit under a flower canopy in the seating area and look out over the fountain.

12. You can find wildlife in Dubai

Information about Dubai Wildlife

Despite the rapid development of Dubai, you can find many different animals in and around the city. You can imagine, you can see camels and even run on them. However, you can see falcons, wolves, leopards and Arabian orcs in their natural habitat.

You can also visit conservation centers outside the city, including the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary. If you prefer to stay within the city limits, you can visit Green Planet, which has a complete tropical rainforest inside a bio-dome.

Interesting facts about Dubai shopping

One of the best things about shopping in Dubai. With an area of ​​more than five million square feet, Dubai Mall is one of the largest malls in the world. You can buy luxury items from retailers like Louis Vuitton as well as electronics and home furniture.

If you want to shop and then see some attractions, you should visit the Emirates Mall. The mall offers a variety of clothing and fashion stores, as well as a theater and VR experience.

14. Dubai loves New Year’s Eve

Funny information on the eve of Dubai New Year

If you want to go to Dubai on holiday, you should schedule your trip on New Year’s Eve. Dubai is one of the largest fireworks displays in the world surrounding the Burj Khalifa.

If you prefer something a little more comfortable, you can go on dinner cruises and desert safaris. You can see live bands and dancers performing their work. You can also listen to live music at the Dubai Opera and dance to the latest tunes on your own.

15. Don’t worry about your safety

Information about Dubai security

Dubai is a safe area, including for women traveling alone and for families. You may encounter similar travel scams in other cities, including bump-and-grab. You should follow the same security precautions that you take elsewhere, but you should not worry too much.

If you plan to worship or visit the mosque, you should keep an eye on your departure. Many mosques in Dubai can accommodate thousands of people at once and can be trampled in an emergency. Avoid the crowds and move to the exit in a straight line.

16. Do not show affection in public

Information about showing affection in Dubai

Dubai is notorious for its strict rules. Regardless of whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, you must respect local rules and deal with some cultural shocks.

Dubai takes public affection very seriously. Kissing your significant other in public can lead to fines or deportation. You may be able to hold hands with them in a restaurant, but you should not walk down the street holding hands.

LGBTQ people can be imprisoned or executed for any romantic or sexual activity in the UAE or even in Dubai. If you are an LGBTQ person traveling through the city, be very careful. There is no official spot for LGBTQ people to hang out and the police have used dating apps to trap people.

17. See what you are saying

Interesting information about Dubai local customs

There are also restrictions on freedom of speech in the UAE. You cannot criticize the government, the police or the royal family in any way. Foreign nationals have been jailed for making sarcastic videos and tweets about the government.

The government regulates internet usage. Although social media sites are free, you cannot access dating, LGBTQ or isolated websites.

18. Prioritize hygiene at the dinner table

Interesting facts about Dubai Hygiene

UAE dining etiquette revolves around food and keeping oneself clean. You have to wash your hands before eating.

You should pick up glasses and finger food with your right hand, even if you are left-handed. Many people in the UAE use their left hand to clean themselves, so the food you eat with your left hand will be seen as dirty.

Don’t leave personal items like your cellphone on the table. This will free up space for the plates and prevent you from dropping things. If you run a business or need to show someone something, you can leave paperwork on the table.

19. Be humble in Ramadan

Information about Dubai Ramadan

Ramadan is the holiest month in the Muslim calendar. Observer Muslims fast during the day and perform prayers while awake.

It is a criminal offense to eat food in public during Ramadan. When you can eat at home, you should avoid doing it in front of other people so that you do not disturb anyone.

You should avoid playing music or dancing in the street during the month as well. Try to dress conservatively and avoid the house of worship unless you are going to pray.

Learn the most important information about Dubai

Interesting facts about Dubai

There is no doubt that some information about Dubai will surprise you. Dubai is a very young and arid city. Yet it is a center of culture, money and religion.

You can enjoy various attractions like Burj Khalifa and Dubai Miracle Garden and at the same time you can have a lot of fun with beautiful architecture and exotic animals.

However, you must pay attention to etiquette. In Ramadan, you should avoid showing affection, criticizing the government and avoiding provocative behavior.

We are lucky enough to visit Dubai and experience everything the city has to offer. Hopefully, this information about Dubai will help you understand the city better and encourage you to plan a trip to this unique city in the UAE.

Read more about Dubai here