Our last big travel day for Remote Year was a 3 day, epic-long, exhausting journey from Europe to Asia. RY did a great job of breaking up the journey into digestible chunks with a sweet 7 hour layover in Doha, Qatar---which turned out to be a completely fascinating experience!
We spent the night in a Zagreb hotel. Pootee the Explorer and I found a 4.5 star TripAdvisor restaurant: Lari & Penati, which did not disappoint! Here is a shot of the decor at the restaurant. Pots attached to the walls:
Got up early to take the 5 hour flight from Zagreb to Doha, Qatar. The timing worked out where we were able to see a sick sunset coming into Doha---chalk another one up for RY's timing and Ma Nature for comin' through in the clutch:
We then had a hotel in Doha for 7 hours before our overnight flight to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Before this trip, I had no idea what a Zagreb was, or a Doha, or a Qatar. I may have assumed they were creatures from Willy Wonka's World. But, now I know Qatar is a country in the Persian Gulf and Doha is its capital.
You may recognize Qatar from watching the best soccer player in the world---Lionel Messi's team FC Barcelona is sponsored by Qatar Airways.
OR, you may know Qatar as the country that will host the World Cup in 2022. (you also may have heard about the controversial accusations that they bribed the World Cup committee to get the games?)
Doha, Qatar is very grand!! Vegas-esque. The city skyline is most impressive. Sadly, I did not have time to do any night photography, so this image is courtesy of MrWallpaper.com
Doha (like Vegas) is built in an extremely arid desert climate, has a ton of tourism and has a ton of big, fancy, modern hotels that are lit up like Christmas trees. BUT, (unlike Vegas) it is a Muslim city and thus, almost exclusively dry. You can drink alcohol in only some of the hotels and residents can purchase alcohol to drink in their homes only. Oh, and it is an incredibly CLEAN city. Pristine sidewalks.
Doha is recognized as one of the New 7 Wonders Cities. (BTW, 2 of the other cities are La Paz, Bolivia, RY month 3, and Kuala Lumpur, which we are currently living in).
One of the main attractions in Doha is an outdoor shopping center called the Souq-Waqif (translated = standing market). After checking into one of the fancy hotels, we only had a few hours so we headed to Souq.
First order of business---food. The travel was making us hangry. Waltzed into this phenomenally fancy Persian restaurant Isfahan Gardens, which is designed to resemble the Iranian Palace with the same name:
After eating delicious Persian dishes, we explored the Souq market. There is a labyrinth of alleyways with rug shops and lamp shops and random trinket shops. Reminded me of the markets in the movie Aladdin---only way more modern!
One highlight in the Souq Market was the Turkish Ice Cream guy. He messes with the customers and puts on a show! I asked him what flavors he had and he said Tomato. I ordered the Tomato ice cream and it was actually strawberry.
Turkish ice cream is DELISH. It's got a more gelatinous texture. Chewy almost. I'd give anything to have some right now!
After ice cream, we stopped at a hookah bar, because that's what you do in Doha.
After spending time at the Souq Market, we went back to the Doha Airport for our 7 hour overnight flight to Kuala Lumpur.
One sweet surprise was finding Lay's Salt & Vinegar chips at the Doha Airport. I wrote about my love of these chips and not being able to find them in the beginning of Remote Year (click here to read). But, I found them for the first time in 9 months, and the romance was still real. This bag did not stand a chance.
The Salt & Vinegar chips were a great way to kick off the 7 hour flight. Finding Dory helped pass the time too. And starting the TV series Fargo. And a few Zzzz's...
After arriving in Kuala Lumpur, we then took an hour long bus ride from the KL airport to our new home, the Maple Suites.
~51 hours of travel from Europe to Asia.
It was nice to break the trip up with a couple hotel stays and visiting Zagreb and Doha.
A month ago, I had never even heard of Zagreb, Doha or Qatar. But, Doha especially was such a rich, cultural experience and a huge added bonus on our Asian adventure! Wish I had longer to take pics, because the architecture is incredible.
Thank you, Remote Year for the 7 hour layover in Qatar!