Our first stop in Italy was Rome, a city with no shortage of awesome landmarks and ancient architecture. If you wanted to see everything, you could easily spend a week or more here, depending on how much you want to take in at each site. We only had a couple days, so we were only able to see the main landmarks.
We landed at Dubai International around 11am, so we had a good amount of the day left to do some exploring and settling in. After picking up a pair of data sim cards at the airport (we purchased two Tourist Plans from Du), we proceeded to the taxi stands to get a ride to our hotel. As we approached, the attendant immediately guided us towards a black cab. Little did we know that the black cabs are actually VIP taxis, and charge about double the rate of a regular taxi, which are cream-colored with red accents.
Since we had a few days in Dubai, we decided to visit the neighbouring city, Abu Dhabi. We managed to book a day tour to Abu Dhabi with a tour company called Arabian Adventures, a well known tour operator in the UAE. The tour included a free hotel pick-up and drop off, so we were shuttled from our hotel to a designated meeting point, where we boarded the coach for the one and a half hour drive to Abu Dhabi. During the drive, our tour guide, Mohammed, gave us a an overview of the history of the United Arab Emirates and Abu Dhabi. He was really engaging and gave us a glimpse into the culture and daily lifestyle of the Emirati people.
Upon arriving at the YVR domestic terminal, we checked our bags in, and grabbed a quick bite before heading to the gate. Our short flight was on a Bombardier Q400, which cannot park at an actual gate with a jet bridge, so we were required to board the plane from out on the tarmac. Unluckily, it was pouring rain that morning. As we sprinted for the boarding stairs, we saw that our plane was sporting the University of Washington special livery.
This past May, Peterson and I took a 2-week long trip to the United Arab Emirates and Italy, and it was perhaps the biggest trip we’ve been on so far, for several reasons. It was the first time we were able to book every segment of our flights in business class. It was our first time flying Emirates. It was also our first time flying on the Airbus A380, which is the only fully double-decker plane, and the largest passenger jet currently in service. Having been total Emirates fanboys for the past year, it’s no surprise we were both really excited for this trip.