Sheikh Zayed Mosque, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Sheikh Zayed Mosque has 22 412 m² and can accommodate up to 40,000 visitors, considered the largest mosque in the UAE and one of the largest in the world; located in Abu Dhabi. It is the only mosque that allows the visit of tourists. Its name comes from Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan who made built the edifice in Carrara marble, with the largest chandelier that weighs around 12 tons and the largest carpet in the world that consists of 9 pieces. He died before the end of the construction and his son Khalifa continued the work and gave his father’s name to the mosque. The construction took 12 years (1995-2007) and several international engineers and craftsmen worked there. It has many columns (1048), arches topped by domes (82) and four minarets of 107 meters in height. The domes are topped spiers covered in gilded mosaic glass. In its interior, it is decorated with floral motifs that have been made by a graphic arts company in Milan, Italy and we also find semi-precious stones of Austria. As it was built on a desert terrain, the structure is based on more than 6,000 steel pillars treated to resist corrosion caused by the salt environment. The land was raised from 9 meters to allow more impressive vision. The tomb of Sultan is located at the entrance, outside the mosque; there are two men who read the Koran all the time. Around the mosque there are 22 laps each provided with ten projectors that link to the mosque.

Tips

To make the visit, women should wear long skirts or pants that cover completely the legs below the ankle, they must have long sleeves and cover all the head; they can wear sandals and the entrance to the mosque is done barefoot so if you prefer you can wear stockings.
Be careful with the marble floor as it is slippery especially if there is water. We have had the experience of a lady who fell by aching ankle and was immediately transported to the medical clinic on site, in wheelchair, where she received care without spending a penny.
You can take pictures everywhere except at the tomb of Sultan.
The visit is free and it can not be visited on Friday morning.

Les Jardins Gamelin, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Émilie-Gamelin Square is a public square in the Latin Quarter of Montreal, better known as Les Jardins Gamelin; located just opposite an exit of the Berri-UQUAM metro station. The park is one of the busiest in downtown even though its size is small. It is surrounded by Berri St, St-Hubert St, Ste-Catherine St and Boulevard De Maisonneuve. It has a grassy slope, ideal for relaxing; terraces; another part covered with red gravel where you can play petanque and you can also install a stage or play giant chess. The site was inaugurated on the occasion of the 350th anniversary celebrations in Montreal (May 17th , 1992). There is a monument to Émilie Gamelin (1.9 meters high), among the passers-by. There is also another monument 17 meters high by 32 meters wide, 3 towers supporting an inclined plane; from each tower flows a curtain of water which pours into a basin at the base of the towers. There is also a snack bar that offers a varied menu inspired by the diversity of cultures that live together in Montreal.

Tips

The park offers many events, this year they will take place between May, 19th and October, 15th, 2017.

You can subscribe to their newsletter to receive their news or to be part of their facebook page.

Every Saturday and Sunday, you can have lunch on the grass in a picnic box, thanks to the gardens snack bar.

You can also visit the Bibliothèque et Archives Nationales du Québec, Place Dupuis and all the shops and other institutions in the area.

The Breakers, Newport, Vermont, United States

The Breakers is the grandest of Newport’s summer cottages and a symbol of the Vanderbilt family’s social and financial preeminence. Cornelius Vanderbilt II bought a wooden house called The Breakers in Newport in 1885, some years later he asked architect Richard Morris Hunt to design a villa and replace the framed house which had been destoyed by fire a year before. He built a 70 room house, in Renaissance Italian style inspired in 16th century palaces of Genoa and Turin. He had important collaborators from different countries. Gladys, the youngest daughter of the family inherited the house. She opened the house to the public in 1948 to raise funds for The Preservation Society of Newport County, in 1972 the association bought the house and designed it as a National Historic Landmark. We also found a stable and carriage house about half a mile from the house.
Tips
You can buy the tickets on line before your visit; you’ll find different combinations to save many if you take more than a visit for different houses.
You can have an audio guided visit too.
There’s also a shop to buy souvenirs.