KINGDOMS OF THE SUN: A MIDDLE EAST DIARY

Travels to the Middle East - Traveler and photographer Carol Santora

*Photo: The Wailing Wall, Jerusalem. Photo by Carol Santora

We almost did not go….

Trying to visit Israel, Jordan and other Middle Eastern countries has been a challenge with the amount of unrest over the past few years.

We decided to just go for it and to take a Regent Seven Seas Cruise with my sister and her husband. The Cruise was lengthy, 21 days, but we loved the itinerary – from Doha, Qatar to Barcelona, Spain. “Days at Sea” were fun because there were sanctioned bridge tournaments and other games and events.

Doha is growing like Dubai into a business/pleasure center with spectacular skyscrapers alongside souks, falcons and Muslim art. The Museum of Islamic Art was exciting, the building an architectural delight with fascinating exhibits on Qajar Women and “Marvelous Creatures” picturing Animal Fables in Islamic Art. The Souk Waqif and the Falcon Market were also unique, educational visits. We embarked upon the cruise ship in Dubai. You have heard about this city, “Disney World on Steroids,” but it presents some interesting sites like the Mall of the Emirates with an actual ski slope and the Burj Khalifa ascending to 828 meters!  We reserved the sunset time for this and witnessed unparalleled views!

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