Text size:

  • Small
  • Normal
  • Large
A scene from The Disquiet by director Ali Cherri, part of the Toronto Film Festival, 2013 CREDIT: courtesy Toronto Film Festival
A scene from The Disquiet by director Ali Cherri, part of the Toronto Film Festival, 2013

CREDIT: courtesy Toronto Film Festival

Much awaited holiday abroad helps focus on what lies within

There was a time in my life where I couldn't wait to get out of my country and experience a new world. I do not hate my country; in fact, I love it here, but I was yearning to meet different people, see different sights (not shopping malls) and try out different things

There was a time in my life where I couldn't wait to get out of my country and experience a new world. I do not hate my country; in fact, I love it here, but I was yearning to meet different people, see different sights (not shopping malls) and try out different things.

I used to hate summer holidays because my family did not travel. It's been one of my wishes to fly to Europe, particularly London and Paris, since many of my friends have spoken highly of these cities.

The magical moment happened when my siblings suggested that we take a month's break from the UAE and travel to four countries: Austria, Switzerland, England and France (now you know why I haven't blogged for so long). Before I left, I had high expectations based on the flowery guidebooks I came across, online pictures and other travellers' tales.

I was not disappointed.

In Austria, I found the country's history and culture fascinating. We went to a few palaces and were amazed at how the country has been able to preserve its past. My favourite place is the Sisi Museum at the Imperial Palace, where there was a giant room that showcased a comprehensive range of tableware and other utensils used at the Imperial Court.

When we left Austria to go to Switzerland by train, I was stunned by the views I got to witness on the way. Switzerland is heaven on Earth. When we arrived at Interlaken, I couldn't believe my eyes - the snowy mountains, waterfalls, flowers, the exquisite colour of the water and the small villages scattered all over the place. Best of all, everyone we met friendly and social.

It was raining when we landed in London, but we were so happy to be in that type of weather. Of course, we had our ups and downs in all the countries, particularly with language and cultural barriers, which is normal when visiting a new country.

We came across some rude people. Some areas were smelly and dirty, with a lack of public toilets, which we didn't expect.

Not all the countries lived up to my expectations. But, as I learnt, expectations can be dangerous. I guess at times, the higher your expectations, the greater the chance you'll be disappointed.

I also learnt not to get overwhelmed by other travellers' experiences and stories. There's something special about experiencing things yourself.

But I really discovered how much I love my own country. It is clean, the people are respectful towards women and I really missed being home.

Asmaa Al Hameli co-writes the My Year at The National blog, where this piece was originally published. Visit the blog to read the full version

aalhameli@thenational.ae

Back to the top

More articles


Editor's Picks

 An Egyptian Orthodox Christian priest give communion during the Palm Sunday service inCairo, Egypt. Mohamed El-Shahed / AFP

Region in focus - April 18, 2014

The best images of the last seven days from around the Gulf and across the Middle East.

 Above, the private pool of Ocean Heights' five-bedroom penthouse flat. Courtesy Christie’s International Real Estate

In pictures: Penthouse flat is height of Dubai luxury living

A five-bedroom penthouse in Ocean Heights in Dubai Marina is on sale for Dh25 million and comes with a private pool and an unparalleled view of Dubai.

Video: Local reactions to a national fishing ban

A federal fishing ban has been imposed by the UAE federal government, but local authorities are taking diiferent approaches to implementing the ban. Two fishermen tell two very different sides of the story. Produced by Paul O'Driscoll

 Hamburg players leave the field after the match against Borussia Moenchengladbach on March 30, 2014. AFP

Hamburg the dinosaur’s time may be up in Bundesliga

Ever-present for 51 years in the German top-flight, Hamburg face the prospect of relegation, writes Ian Hawkey.

 The new Bentley GT Speed convertible on display at a press event of the New York International Auto Show. Jason Szenes / EPA

In pictures: Hot cars at New York International Auto Show

With more than 1 million visitors annually, the New York International Auto Show is one of the most important shows for the US car industry. Here are some of the vehicles to be shown in this year’s edition.

 The cast of Fast & Furious 7, including Michelle Rodriguez and Vin Diesel, centre, on set at Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Fast & Furious 7 filming in full swing at Emirates Palace

Filming for Fast & Furious 7 has started and we have the first photos of the cast and crew on set at Emirates Palace hotel this morning. Visitors staying at Emirates Palace say they have been kept away from certain areas in the grounds.

Events

To add your event to The National listings, click here

Get the most from The National