Yesterday we discovered my favourite place in Doha to date, a little spot tucked away from the hustle and bustle, overlooking the bright blue sea and the city beyond. I would love to say that this place was all our own, a private little hideaway belonging just to me and Rich, but unfortunately quite a few people had already been exploring and discovered it before us.
Despite having to share it, it was still a peaceful place to while away an afternoon chatting about upcoming plans while gazing out over the sparkling Persian Gulf laid out in front of us.
Let me take you on a little tour of our spot.
We start our journey at the Museum of Islamic Art, a beautiful building that we have visited many times before. With its boxy angles and interesting shadows, it looks beautiful in any light and from any angle. Designed by architect I. M. Pei, and drawing on influences from all over the Islamic world, Rich and I agree that this is one of our favourite buildings in the whole world.
Here’s a selection of the best photos we’ve taken of the MIA so far:
As you walk away from the building, with the sea on your left, you come to quite a rare sight in Doha. Grass! The MIA Park is one of Doha’s finest, and at weekends it’s usually filled with stalls and packed with people. If you’re lucky, there may be an event taking place, and there’s nearly always a few makeshift food stalls selling BBQ wraps and home-made falafel.
Yesterday however, it was even more buzzing than usual as a children’s reading fair had come to town. Rich took the opportunity to make friends with an extra smiley chap who reminded him a little of one summer back in 2004…
As you walk further along the park, you’ll notice it begins to bend to the left, and soon you find yourself walking along a man-made bit of land which curves out into the sea. To the right, pretty old Dhow boats are docked in the shelter of the bay.
And ahead of you is an even rarer sight this side of the wild open desert…a hill. A small hill, OK, but a hill all the same.
Delighted at seeing such a proper expanse of green again, we practically ran to the top, and puffing, looked out at the view. I give you Doha’s answer to Parliament Hill ladies and gentlemen:
Children milled about on bikes and with balls while their mums sat and chatted while they took in the sight in front of them. See, we’re all the same the world over really!
I never get tired of looking out over Doha’s West Bay
But we were getting hungry. Luckily, we spotted a little cafe tucked behind the hill just at the right time, and settled down with some lamb kofta, chicken tikka and shish taouk.
We sat back into the comfiest wicker sofa and munched down our lunch, our hungry silence punctuated only by the odd dad joke (“Shish, this taouk my breath away!”, “This tikka every box” – yes, we really are very sad) while looking out at the view.
Afterwards, we lay on the grass at the bottom of the hill and chatted about the week just gone as we watched the sun set over the boats floating in and out of the harbour.
It had been a busy one. It was my first week at work. And Steph had come to visit.
It was so good to have someone from home here. Not just for the bagload of English goodies that she brought with her from home…
But because a week with Stephanie is always a lot of fun.
Had some wine on the balcony.
And the beach.
And the Souq, where we had to tear ourselves away from this little heartbreaker.
While I was at work, Steph had some chill time.
And had to fight off all of Doha’s eligible batchelors that were falling over themselves to take her out.
Thanks for looking after my girl for me chaps!
In the evenings, I was shattered and we mainly snuggled in the flat.
Steph starts her new, swanky job in a law firm in Covent Garden tomorrow so I hope it was a relaxing enough stay to prepare her for what’s to come!
Sometimes a bit of sea air, a new place and a fresh perspective is all you need.
UPDATE: Rich is disappointed that his ‘happily ever kofta’ joke didn’t make it into the blog. I don’t think it’s quiiiite as punny as mine, but I’ll let you guys judge! X