Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Day 4: The Free Day

1st April 2012 
by Gina Scott, dancer of Semperoper Ballett

Gina Scott

Everyone was super excited we really couldn't wait. It took approximately 30 minutes to get to the desert. Once we arrived our drivers took us on an amazing ride in the desert, it was like a roller coaster but even better, it was absolutely fantastic, it felt like we were travelling at a considerable speed. We stopped off and had a look at some of the wild camels, it was totally unbelievable, I have never seen so many in one place, everyone felt the same as they were all taking photographs.

Jeeps in desert (photo by Virna Toppi)
After getting back really late last night or should I say very early this morning at 4.00am. By the time everyone got organised for the day’s events it was very late, some of the company had about 35 minutes sleep before getting up again for our camel ride at 6.00am. We were all extremely tired and wishing we were still in bed, but kept telling ourselves it’s not every day you get to do these amazing things. We all met at the hotel reception where 4 jeeps were waiting to take us to the desert.

Camels (photo by Virna Toppi)
Virna Toppi and a camel (photo by Saverio Pescucci)
 Smile (photo by Virna Toppi)

We continued on our journey in the jeep, at which point many people started to feel unwell. On several occasions the drivers had to stop.

Many people started to feel unwell... (De Windstoot/The Gust by Willem van de Velde the Younger)
After a while we had another stop so that we could take photos of the desert, the sun had started to shine, this view was spectacular. We had the opportunity to run on the sand dunes, this encounter was truly amazing.
Abby Bushnell and Marianne Bassing (photo by Virna Toppi)

On the next part of the journey on our desert ride, we got some well deserved drinks, we were all so hot! Then the camels arrived, two people were able to fit on one camel. We were all fascinated by how the camels positioned themselves so that we could get on them and then how they stood back up with people on their backs.

 Camel Ride (photo by Virna Toppi)
This really was fascinating to watch and the experience was wonderful. We also did sand boarding down the sand dunes, this was great fun and at first a bit scary.

However, once we got our confidence we didn’t want to stop. This whole experience will definitely be something I will never forget, I was overwhelmed by the whole adventure, it was an experience of another world and something to remember. At the end of the expedition we got dropped off back at the hotel.  As it was our free time we wanted to take the opportunity to fit in as much as possible.We went to the beach and had some lunch and snacks, then on for a quick swim. A group of us headed to the Jets ski’s but made sure we put on our sun tan lotions and creams to protect our skin. I was bit scared at first as I didn't know what to expect. We all got on the jets, there was 8 of us in total with 4 jets.

Adventurers: Hannah McDonald, Marianne Bassing, Gina Scott, Marc Wandsleb, Abby Bushnell, Zarina Stahnke, Ian Whalen, Anisa Sinteral-Scott
This was another fantastic experience, I was on the back of the jet ski and could really see a stunning view of Abu Dhabi.  After riding around on the ski’s near the harbour we all decided to be a bit more adventurist and went in to the main ocean. The waves where really big so we felt as though we were getting thrown in the air by the waves.

It was so much fun! After about 30 minutes on the water, we swapped places on the ski’s and I was the driver. Really it was breath taking, driving around on the main ocean was pure freedom.  In total we were out for 1 hour, then we made our way back, another spectacular experience which I will never forgot.

On the way back to get a taxi we walked though the fish market. It was a strange feeling, the whole place was just watching us walking by. However, it was very interestin seeing the fish.

Fish Market (photo by Gina Scott)
We then split into two groups and got taxi's back to the hotel. We all got showered and went out again to the ‘Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque’ and that was something else!

The Grand Mosque (photo by Gina Scott)
When we got there we had to wear the traditional burkha.  It was really interesting to have the opportunity to wear the outfit.
 In Burkha: Gina Scott, Abby Bushnell, Hannah McDonald

Our Principal Dancer Jiří Bubeníček with Gina Scott and Abby Bushnell
We went on the tour through the Mosque and we got to see where the people pray.

Prayers (photo by Gina Scott)
The interior of the mosque was unique, the detail on the inside the walls, ceiling and the floors was extraordinary. Walking outside was so beautiful and a calming atmosphere, it made me feel very calm.

 Amazing carpet in the Mosque (photo by Gina Scott)
Chandelier in the Mosque (photo by Gina Scott)
After spending around 1 hour we headed back to the hotel for something to eat.  For dinner we sat outside at the restaurants looking at the amazing views of Abu Dhabi. By the time we had dinner it was starting to get a bit late, we paid the bill and went to our rooms to pack all our belongings.  After I had packed  and ensured I had not left anything behind, I checked out. I still had approximately 30 minute to wait before leaving, so I sat outside in the nice heat for the last time. At 9.00pm we all made sure our suits cases were on the coach and we said good bye to the Intercontinental Hotel and made our way to the Abu Dhabi Terminal 1 airport. Once we had checked in and got through customs, everyone did their own thing.  Some decided to look around the shops for other things they wanted to buy, others sat at the cafes.  Our flight left Abu Dhabi 12.30am and some people just slept as we were all so tired. About one hour before arriving into Frankfurt we had breakfast which was pancakes, they were really yummy. At Frankfurt we were split into two groups, one group were able to get the next flight within 30 minutes of arriving and the other group had to wait 4 hours. But it wasn’t too bad we just slept at the airport. We had a 1 hour flight from Frankfurt to Dresden, it was the strangest feeling arriving at Dresden, getting out of the plane was weird, as we had just come from hot stuffy air and now it is cold which was a bit of a shock.  But we have to come back to reality! My trip to Abu Dhabi really was such an incredibly experience, I have really learnt a lot from it. Spending quality time with the company members, enjoying the beauty of Abu Dhabi and culture, performing in a wonderful theater. There have been so many wonderful experiences during this tour and it is memories that will stay with me forever knowing that I went on tour with the Semperoper Ballett.
Last photo taken in Abu Dhabi (by Gina Scott)


  1. Thanks Gina for all your reviews about the tour to Abu Dhabi, I've read all of them!
    Amazing to know that the company had the chance to discover the beauty of Abu Dhabi and to enjoy the local life (beside working hard for making the performances unique esperiences).
    Seeing new places is always so interesting and having the chance to join work and fun just great!
    Congratulation for the success you gained in Abu Dhabi and you've brought back to Dresden, to the Semperoper Ballett Company and theather.

  2. Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.

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  4. This really was fascinating to watch and the experience was wonderful. We also did sand boarding down the sand dunes, this was great fun and at first a bit scary.

    Al Raha Gardens