Saturday 21 April 2012

Abu Dhabi - UAE

The ever-changing skylines in the UAE are some of the most surreal you will see
One word of advice - Pack your sunscreen! I was here on a flying visit for New Years Eve which is the low season in UAE, but it was incredibly hot. In the 30Cs each of the 3 days, although it drops rapidly after the sunsets. 

The heat aside, despite the fact there is a lot of construction taking places, it is a beautiful area. Around a couple of hours from Dubai, Abu Dhabi has all of the ambition of its neighbour but a touch more class and elegance.

I was staying to the north in the Tourist Club Area near to As Suwwah Island so a little bit out of the way. I decided to head west to Corniche as I had heard it was a nice quieter part of the city. Also much like Dubai, very few of the roads in Abu Dhabi have pavements, so I wanted to get off the sand as quickly as possible.

I set off north west along 10th Street and then left at the roundabout south west on Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street, edging nearer towards the waterfront. At the large intersection, take a right and follow 6th Street west all the way until you reach Formal Park. To this point is 3.2km and you will now have great views out across the water to Lulu Island.

The terminal building at the Airport sets the tone on what is to come

The park as you would expect is immaculately kept, with grand gardens and fountains. Corniche Road seperates the Park from the water's edge so I exited north and crossed over the road to pick up the bike track that runs parallel to the shoreline.
Along path, with the water to your right, a nice breeze cools you down slightly and there are some exceptionally clean beaches running alongside. The great thing about Abu Dhabi, similar to Dubai, is that very few if any of the locals actually use the outside space to exercise.

I imagine this is due to the heat and that most hotels have huge state of the art gyms. The result of which is there is a sense of freedom while running simply because it feels like you are the only one here.
Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque bears more than a passing resemblance with the Taj Mahal in India
I continued along the path 2.8km until I reached Family Park (It seems as though I am obsessed with Parks I know!). At this point, it dawned on me that it was now very hot and the whole time I had been running away from my hotel!
After completing a lap of the park, which by now won't you be surprised to know was immaculately maintained and completely empty, I exited through the north east corner and picked up Al Nasr Street to take a more direct inland route home.

After turning right (north)  on to Electra Street at the crossroads, I just continued along Electra Street for 3.3km until I reached my hotel. Along the route, not the most exciting I must say, it seemed like a scene out of the Fast and the Furious with the amount of high performance cars that passed me.

The New Years Eve Fireworks at the Heritage Village, the venue for the start of the Volvo Ocean Race
Back at my hotel I was able to then kick back, relax and take in New Year's Eve at the official start of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Quite a nice run, around 12km all in taking in the sea wall, a couple of parks and a chance to take the surreal nature of what is a state of the art metropolis, like New York on LSD, in the middle of a desert!
Be warned....this place is hot and not cheap!
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Start - Abu Dhabi Mall, 10th Street, Tourist Club Area
Journey - Head north west along 10th Street, south west on Hamdan Bin Mohammed Street and west on 6th Street to Formal Park. Exit north and cross Cornice Road to pick up the bike track. Follow for just under 3km until you reach Family Park. Exit through north east gates and head north along Al Nasr St and then Electra St  
Finish - Le Meridien, 10th Street, Tourist Club Area


  1. The park as you would expect is immaculately kept, with grand gardens and fountains.

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  2. I would love to be in that restaurant eating my lunch while watching fast cars racing around the circuit.

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