I’ve never expected for Doha to be so friendly! When I returned from my trip to Asia, we had the best surprise ever: a 9-hour layover in the capital of Qatar. 9 hours of daylight! The travel agency applied for visas, so we had no worries! Just to catch the plane to Bucharest!
I didn’t have time to make a proper documentation about the city. So I checked a little on TripAdvisor and I decided: Souq and Museum of Islamic Art. I thought we could see the city center in few hours…
We landed in Doha at 6 in the morning. Still dark and foggy. We exit the airport and we went straight to the bus station to go in the center. We didn’t have time to exchange money so, we negotiated with the driver, begging him to accept our dollars. He accepted 🙂
So we were two women going in the traditional center of Doha. The driver recommended us to go in Falcon Souq. „It opens at 9 am. You’ll like it!” And he said nothing more about it. Ok! He let us at the seafront, opposite the famous place. But it was so early, we decided to have a morning walk…through the fog!
But we enjoyed the beautiful area, the flavor of basil that was planted by the walking path, the locals who made jogging. After 2 or 3 kilometers, we decided to cross the street. But surprise! We did not find a crosswalk as we continued to walk 1 km more! As we wanted to go in Falcon Souk, we returned right where the bus left us, there was a special place to cross! It seemed to us very strange that in more than 4 km you can’t safely cross the street.
On the other side, we entered the gate of Falcon Souq, at 9 o’clock! As we were hungry, we chose a traditional restaurant (Al Enna), with tables outside to observe the local atmosphere. Listening to the waiter’s advice, we sat on the table near the street: „This has the best view!” And it had, indeed.
We received the menu on smart tablets, which really impressed us. We decided to try Regan dish and the waiter recommended us the best coffee I’ve ever drunk! And it did not even look like a coffee! :))
As we were totally enjoying our delicacies, the old city began to come alive. Nice locals, dressed traditionally, were getting out with their falcons. Near us there was a kind of square, a space with sand, there they put their beautiful birds. It was like an exposition. But all of them were amazingly beautiful!
Falcons in Doha
The waiter told us that the falcons are so appreciated and loved birds there and it is a tradition to have one. Thus, there are shops of accessories for them. As we wanted to make some photos with one bird on our hands, our friend took us to one of this kind of stores. There we met hospitable locals, the patrons of the store.
– „From where are you?”, asked one of them
– „We’re from Romania!”, I replied.
– „Bună, ce faci?”, he asked (Hello, how are you? – in Romanian).
– „Bine!”, we answered laughing! It was unbelievable someone from Qatar knew Romanian! Then he explained he have been studying Medicine in Bucharest! Wow! 🙂 So he invited us to a coffee and we talked about the hawks there. So, we discovered that they are trained to haunt!
It was unbelievable someone from Qatar knew Romanian! Then he explained he have been studying Medicine in Bucharest! Wow! 🙂 So he invited us to a coffee and we talked about the hawks there. So, we discovered that they are trained to hunt!
Women in the beautiful Arab world
Let me tell you a nice occurrence. As the fog scattered, we get out of souq to take some great shots of the new city beyond the golf. On our left, a Jeep parked. Inside, a policeman from the public order made us a sign to come. He asked us from where were we. „Have you visited the camels farm? Or the stud?”
We had no idea about this places! So he sent us there to admire those beautiful animals! We said „Good bye!” and wanted to leave. He called us back! „Look, for you! Enjoy Doha!” And he gave us a carton glass with caramelized pistachios! Amazing!
As tourists, we forgot all the stereotypes and felt great!
Unfortunately, we ran out of time and we didn’t see the famous Museum.