Day 10: MSC Lirica Arabian Cruise

DOHA, QATAR

I think Doha might just be my favorite stop on this cruise.  A free shuttle took me thru the industrial port to the main road, which was the corniche that extended all along the harbor of Doha.  All that I wished to see was on the corniche and within walking distance so off I set!

I had no guide to advise me so I can only assume that Qatar has freshwater supplies too as the corniche was lined with wide grassy boulevards, tall palm trees and lovely scented petunias.  It was a glorious day, sunny but not really hot, and a cool breeze was blowing.  It was a great relaxing pleasure to amble along enjoying the views.

I walked past the impressive looking Museum of Islamic Art, and past the dhow harbor which was chocker block full of boats, waiting for tourists to hire them for a cruise.  I walked further still until I came to the most beautiful underpass I’ve ever seen to the Souq Waqif.  Another souq.  More shopping.  But this one was really quite enjoyable – the shopkeepers weren’t aggressive, they didn’t harangue me to look/buy/come in, some just smiled or asked where I was from.  And the Souq was huge, blocks and blocks long.  I entered through the spice section, asked directions from 3 ladies in abayas with full face-coverings how to find the falcon souq (they looked it up on Google on their smartphones!), the textile souq, and the bird souq.  Again, all I took away with me were a magnet and photographs.

From there I strolled the mile back to the museum.  It’s very impressive.  I.M. Pei designed it and it has a premier position at the edge of a beautiful park, nudging out into the harbor.  It resembles a mosque both on the exterior and interior, in a very modern way.  By that time my poor legs were aching a bit, 6.5 miles on the hard concrete, so I didn’t spend long in the museum.  It apparently displays over 1400 years of middle eastern art but to me it was the building that was the star attraction.  It was magnificent.  I went up to the second floor just so I could descend the lovely staircase.  I was tempted to visit the Alain Ducasse restaurant on the 5th floor as a special treat but I thought if I sat down for too long I might not get back up again!

I plodded back to the shuttle stop and returned to the ship with still an hour left for lunch in the main dining room.  I’ve been taking my main meals there, either by buffet or table service at lunch, and the full 3 courses at dinner.  It’s a far more genteel atmosphere and the portions are much smaller versus fighting the crowds at the upstairs buffet!

We moved our clocks ahead a couple of nights ago so we left Doha in the dark at 6pm, the downtown buildings joyfully lit up in colorful lights.  And yes, Andrea Bocelli did serenade our casting off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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