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A two day trip to Qatar

Day One

I have actually lost count of how many times we have been to Qatar, but, despite a multitude of visits, I have only just added it to my countries I have visited list. Why? Because we have just constantly transited its airport, until our last visit when we finally ventured to the world outside. I have been nagging my husband to do this for some time, but with the recent removal of visa restrictions for many nationalities, we finally managed it.

We flew to Doha from Athens - a fairly short flight, around four hours - which took place at night. Thus, we arrived at an ungodly hour of the morning, shattered from very little sleep, but with hours until we could check in to our hotel.

Doha Hamad International Airport.

Doha Hamad International Airport.

Doha Hamad International Airport.

Doha Hamad International Airport.

Doha Hamad International Airport.

Doha Hamad International Airport.

As we had luggage (we had just arrived from a week in Athens), we did not want to wander around until hotel check in time, so we spent a few hours still in the airport, though this time on the arrivals rather than transit side. We particularly liked the oryx statues on this side of the airport. The oryx is a type of deer and the symbol of Qatar and its airline. We changed money, an experience in itself, and drank coffee and waited until we felt it was finally a reasonable time to take a Karwa taxi cab to our hotel, The Grand Mercure, Doha. The drive to the hotel was not very inspiring. My first impression was of dusty, nearly empty streets, a few men, not a woman in sight. My impression got worse later, then better and better.

The oryx, Doha Hamad International Airport.

The oryx, Doha Hamad International Airport.

Check in was friendly and although we were early, we had no problems at all getting into our room. Our room was comfortable, clean and cosy. We had free water, free teas and coffees, a safe, a balcony, a bath and a shower.

Our Room, The Grand Mercure, Doha.

Our Room, The Grand Mercure, Doha.

We had a look around the hotel. It had a lovely pool, though when I used it, I must admit it was freezing, a British style pub/restaurant, The Old Manor Steakhouse, on the roof and more Christmas decorations in the lobby than we had seen in the whole of Greece.

Swimming pool.

Swimming pool.

View from the pool.

View from the pool.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

Christmas decorations.

We spent the few remaining daylight hours of our first afternoon exploring the Souq Waqif market area. When we left the hotel, we realised that the hotel was in the centre of a huge construction site. I think this is because a metro is being built here. The construction workers stared at us as if we had just flown in from a different planet. Personally, I decided the best course of action was to block them out as if they did not exist. It is hardly my fault they have never seen westerners before. I was dressed in a long skirt and long sleeved jacket, not exactly skimpy attire. I am pleased to say the actual Qataris themselves do not stare and are perfectly friendly.

We wandered around the Souq Waqif on both days of our stay and kept finding more and more interesting things. It is a delightful place to visit with lots of restaurants and shops and lovely old style buildings. It merges with other souqs, too, such as, the Gold Souq and the Falcon Souq. Before we reached the market, we passed quite an attractive mosque. I think it was Al Bukhari Mosque, though I am not certain that is the right name.

Al Bukhari Mosque.

Al Bukhari Mosque.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

Souq Waqif.

After exploring the market, we returned to the hotel to eat. I would have liked to eat in the market, but we wanted beer with our meal and that necessitated a hotel as by Qatari law only hotels can sell alcohol. our hotel had several restaurants, but we ate in the Old Manor Steak House, the bar staff here were very nice and the food was good, too. On our first night I had a plate of lamb chops. My husband had shepherd's pie. We were given crisps, popcorn and bread to tide us over till the food came.

The Old Manor Steak House.

The Old Manor Steak House.

Posted by irenevt 00:17 Archived in Qatar Tagged qatar

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Comments

What an interesting place to have visited! I love your photos of the souk - just the sort of area I love to wander in and photograph :)

by ToonSarah

Hi Sarah, Happy New Year to you. Wishing you lots of great travel experiences in 2018. Yes, the souq was very photogenic. We enjoyed wandering around it very much.

by irenevt

Happy New Year to you too Irene :)

by ToonSarah

Happy New Year!

by ADAMYAMEY

Happy New Year, Adam. Hope 2018 brings you lots of happy travels.

by irenevt

Thanks! And you too!

by ADAMYAMEY

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