Simply again from: Bahrain

Tom Stainer holding a cat Tom making associates with among the locals © Tom Stainer

Tom Stainer, Vacation spot Editor for the Iberian Peninsula and Turkey, just lately returned from a visit to Bahrain.

Inform us extra… I spent three days in Bahrain, the one island nation within the Center East. It’s a small nation subsequent to Saudi Arabia, and an archipelago of 33 islands, so that you’re by no means far-off from the nice and cozy waters of the Arabian Gulf. The title Bahrain means ‘two seas’, and right now these two seas are stated to imply each the saltwater oceans and the recent water springs that exist beneath them.

I spent a few nights within the nation’s energetic capital, Manama, then the ultimate night time on close by Muharraq Island, the place I discovered a sleepier, extra conventional lifestyle.

A huge tray of colourful breakfast dishes at Haji Gahwa restaurant A breakfast of champions at Haji Gahwa © Tom Stainer

Good grub? I liked having breakfast at Haji Gahwa, an atmospheric cafe on the fringe of Manama Souq. We went to city on conventional objects like baydh tomat (scrambled eggs with tomatoes) and chai haleeb (milky cardamom-infused tea), in addition to countless flatbreads, salads, beans, dips and jams. Seize an alleyway desk or one indoors – it’s a superb Bahraini expertise both manner.

Fridge magnet or higher? In case you’re out there for spices, perfumes, material, sweets, jewelry, a brand new cellphone or just about something in any respect, Manama Souq is your home. It’s a busy warren of lanes and alleys, with distributors promoting a pleasant mixture of high-end and humdrum objects. I loved making an attempt piping scorching halwa, a ubiquitous Center Jap candy dish made out of tahini and honey.

In case you do one factor go to… Bahrain Fort. This entire nation is wealthy in historical past, and nowhere is that extra obvious than at this fortification overlooking the Gulf. It was the seat of the traditional empire of Dilmun in 2300BC, and though the present construction dates from the 16th century, it’s nonetheless wanting good right now. We watched the enjoyable light-and-sound present at sundown then explored the floodlit fort as night time was falling.

The beautiful facade of the Al Fatih Mosque © Tom Stainer The attractive facade of the Al Fatih Mosque © Tom Stainer

You’d be a muppet to overlook… Al Fatih Mosque. At 6500 sq. metres it’s the biggest mosque in Bahrain, inbuilt 1987 and named after Ahmed Al Fatih, the nation’s founder. I used to be actually taken with the peace and serenity of this place, away from the bustle of Manama. It’s a fantastic spot for quiet contemplation and gazing in marvel at some stunning Islamic design.

For a enjoyable night time out… Head to Block 338. It’s a pedestrian quarter in Manama crammed full of stylish bars, eating places, boutiques and galleries. My favorite spot was the Greek-inspired Attic, which has a stunning terrace the place you’ll be able to get pleasure from killer cocktails and fab views out over town.

Weird encounter? Jerome Flynn of Recreation of Thrones and Robson & Jerome fame was on my flights there and again!

Tom travelled to Bahrain with assist from Bahrain Tourism & Exhibitions Authority (BTEA), Gulf Air, ART Rotana and Downtown Rotana. Lonely Planet contributors don’t settle for freebies in trade for constructive protection.

Need extra behind-the-scenes adventures? Discover out what Lonely Planet’s Midwest Gross sales Director bought as much as on her latest journey to Los Angeles.

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