“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro
I should have written this blog post long ago (in 2013 December). But due to my laziness in the last couple of months, I am sharing it now. I was invited to attend the DOHA GOALS 2013 which took place between 9-11 December 2013 in Doha, Qatar.
I spent 3 days in Doha with a very mixed group of conference participants coming from all around the world. The conference took place in “Aspire Dome” which (I later found out that) is credited as the world’s largest indoor multi-purpose dome (Aspire Academy for Sports Excellence).
Conference speakers included CEOs, government officials, athletes, NGOs, federation heads, urban developers, coaches, managers, and medical experts.
Although most of my time was spent in the conference inside the Aspire Dome, still we had some time to explore Doha and it’s main highlights.
Museum of Islamic Art
The museum (opened in 2008) includes world’s finest collection of Persian rugs, Turkish mosaics, artworks and wood carvings. The Museum also contains artifact, manuscripts and precious materials that showcase the historical culture, excellence and intellectual aspects of Islamic Culture.
During my time of the visit, the museum had a special exhibition, “Hajj: The Journey Through Art“. I had a detailed look at this section of this section examining the history of pilgrimage through the centuries, focusing on the rituals of Hajj, the routes taken and the experiences of pilgrims upon their return.
Souq Waqif (Old Souq)
Located in the heart of Doha this place is the top shopping destination in the city. You can find traditional garments, spices, handicrafts, and souvenirs in this market. It is considered to be the top tourist destination in Doha.
What is interesting with this market is that although it dates back at least a hundred years, it was recently torn down and rebuilt in traditional architectural styles. The Souq included an “Animal Market” where all sorts of animals from turtles to dogs, rabbits, birds, reptiles were sold were sold. To tell the truth, I found this market a bit unpleasant.
The Torch Doha
This fancy iconic hotel is located in the Aspire Zone. At 300 meters high, with 360° panoramic views across Doha, and with 51 floors, “The Torch” is currently the tallest Hotel in Doha.
Unfortunately, I was not staying in The Torch during my visit. (Although my hotel was also fancy enough!) However, since The Torch was just near the Conference area, I was able to sneak in this iconic hotel and enjoy the view from the top floor. If you ever go near this hotel, make sure you do the same =)
Umm Ali (Om Ali) – Ali’s Mother
Blog post without even mentioning food! No! Of course no! Throughout my stay in Doha, I had great food. But yes, I had one favorite. Something which I tasted for the first time.
Umm Ali – dessert originated from Egypt. It is similar to the bread pudding which I used to eat in United Kingdom last year. However, this one was richer in pistachios, nuts and almonds. And that made it even more delicious! I came across one blog post explaining this sweet and referring to it as “Bread pudding meets baklava – Umm Ali dessert”. Yepp, I agree!
The story behind this dessert goes like this “…Om Ali was the first wife of the sultan Ezz El Din Aybek. When the sultan died, his second wife had a dispute with Om Ali, resulting in the second wife’s death. To celebrate, Om Ali made this dessert and distributed it among the people of the land.”
Doha in three words – rich (oil and natural gas wealth), dazzling and fast developing!