Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, UAE, with Zeb the Duck

We are approaching a huge white building.

Front of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Photo from Wikipedia.

Front of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. Photo from Wikipedia.

The main entrance to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is very impressive.   This photo came from Wikipedia.   This, the largest mosque in the United Arab Emirates, is also the eighth largest in the world.   Let’s go inside.

Let's go in

Let’s go in

This massive courtyard covers 17,400 square meters.   We love this view with the minarets.

Courtyard

Courtyard

Security is tight here.   There are several security men to prevent tourists from walking in the courtyard.   The floor has colored marble and floral decorations that are twisted and coiled in stunning patterns.

Courtyard

Courtyard

Around the courtyard, we admired the more than one thousand columns.

Columns

Columns

Each column was inspired by the palm tree, and decorated with marble and inlaid with floral designs and semi precious stones from around the world.   Construction for this mosque began in 1996 and was completed in 2007.   Before entering the main prayer hall, shoes must be removed and we passed through this smaller room.   The clock here shows the prayer times for the day.

Prayer times for today

Prayer times for today

We admired one of the seven chandeliers in the mosque.

Chandelier hanging from dome

Chandelier hanging from dome

The seven chandeliers inside the mosque hang from some of the Grand Mosque’s largest domes.   There are 82 domes, the largest with a diameter of 326 meters.   Entering the main prayer hall, the chandeliers catch your attention.

Huge chandelier

Huge chandelier

Here is the largest chandelier in the world, weighing about 12 tonnes.   Made of gilded brass, stainless steel and glass panels, the glass panels are studded with Swarovski crystals.   It is beautiful.   Next we see the Mihrab, the place in a mosque where the Imam leads worshippers in prayer.   This always faces the direction of Mecca.

For Imam

For Imam

This one is gold color and covered with gold glass mosaics.   The Minbar, or pulpit, seen here, is the place the Imam stands to address the worshippers during Friday prayers.   On the wall, in traditional Kufic calligraphy, are the 99 attributes of Allah.   Covering the floor of the main prayer hall we admired the world’s largest hand knotted carpet.

Largest hand knotted carpet

Largest hand knotted carpet

This carpet was  2 year project.   Designed by a third generation carpet maker, Dr. Ali Khaliqi, the hand crafted carpet required 1,200 artisans to complete.    In the main prayer hall there are 96 columns clad with marble and inlaid with mother of pearl.  Leaving the main prayer hall, we put our shoes on and wandered the halls around the courtyard.    We loved the detail on the columns throughout the mosque.

Great details

Great details

You may have missed seeing me, Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear in these photos.   We were there, but we stayed in our traveling bags.   In many holy places, we are not allowed to sit on things.   But, as you can see, mom did let me sit here, outside the mosque for one photo.

I, Zeb the Duck, was here. So was Chanel the Bear.

I, Zeb the Duck, was here.  So was Chanel the Bear.

And one last photo of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi.

Beautiful

Beautiful

This is one of a few mosques where non Muslims are allowed inside.   We thoroughly enjoyed seeing this beautiful building.

Happy Chocolate Covered Nut Day from the Colorado Traveling Ducks

Chocolate covered nuts!   We love chocolate covered nuts.   Especially with a little caramel.   First people ate chocolate covered peanuts.   They are really good.   We love them and we loved what we call Turtles.   Pecans, with caramel and then covered in chocolate.   And, of course, macadamia nuts are also delicious prepared this way.   And chocolate covered almonds are always a treat.   OK mom.

These look delicious!

These look delicious!

Let’s eat some chocolate covered nuts today.

Zeb the Duck Flies to New Places

We left Denver International Airport, changed planes in Los Angeles International Airport, and now learning about our new plane.

What???

What???

I, Zeb the Duck, can only read part of this sign.   Now a picture of our airplane appears.

Over 15 hours??

Over 15 hours??

Mom, does that say 15 hours and 15 minutes to our destination??  This is a long flight!   But the seats were big enough.   The plane was not full.   I am seeing the mountain peaks of California.

California's mountains

California’s mountains

And so much food.

That's a lot of food. And tasty chicken.

That’s a lot of food. And tasty chicken.

We received three meals and many beverages.   All delicious.  A long, but comfortable flight, and we were in the economy class seats.   This was nice.   Out the plane window, I see the lights of Dubai.

Approaching Dubai

Approaching Dubai

This is a huge airport.   We are in the United Arab Emirates, and this country was created December 2, 1971.   Everything is new and very big.   So much shopping here, but no time now.

Always places to shop

Always places to shop

We must clear customs and immigration, get our luggage and meet our tour guide.   We are touring with SmarTours of New York.   We meet Tariq, our guide, get on the bus and head for Abu Dhabi.   From the bus we see this mosque, with green lights.

Mosque at night

Mosque at night

Sheikh Zayed Road leads us from Dubai to Abu Dhabi.

Sheikh Zayed Road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi

Sheikh Zayed Road between Dubai and Abu Dhabi

About 2 hours driving through the desert will bring us to Abu Dhabi.   This highway is huge.   We see 5-6 lanes in each direction.   I don’t see much traffic now, but they say sometimes there are many vehicles.   We will stay in Abu Dhabi three nights, at the Southern Sun Hotel.

Southern Sun. Our home for 3 nights

Southern Sun. Our home for 3 nights

The lights move on the front of our hotel.   We have a nice, bright lobby.

Lobby of Southern Sun. Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear

Lobby of Southern Sun. Zeb the Duck and Chanel the Bear

And you can now see who is here with us!   Chanel the Bear, my good friend, and her mom are in Abu Dhabi.   We will have so much fun traveling together.  I, Zeb the Duck, wanted to find the swimming pool.   It is an outdoor pool on the top floor of the Southern Sun.

Southern Sun pool

Southern Sun pool

A little chilly now, so I won’t stay in here long.   Looking through the glass wall, it is a long way down.

From top of Southern Sun Hotel

From top of Southern Sun Hotel

Chanel and I, Zeb, take our moms for a walk around our neighborhood.   We saw many new things, several small shops and restaurants.   Even a money exchange office to change US dollars into United Arab Emirates dirhams.   We receive about 3.65 dirhams for each US dollar. Carefully sitting on the railing, we wanted to show you how wide the highways are in Abu Dhabi.

Wide highways through Abu Dhabi

Wide highways through Abu Dhabi

We love wide streets.   Walking on side streets, we are happy that most countries in the world use the same type of stop sign.

Stop sign

Stop sign

Isn’t this fun to see?   It is exciting to see new things.   Chanel and I, Zeb, want to show you so many things about our trip to the United Arab Emirates.   We hope you keep reading.

Breckenridge Snow Sculptures with Zeb and Soapy Smith Duck

400 tons of snow??   Really?  And we are going to see it?   Back to Breckenridge, Colorado we happily view these entries for the 27th annual International Snow Sculpture Championships.

Breckenridge, Colorado

Breckenridge, Colorado

We love this event.   First place was awarded to Team China for Mermaid.

Team China

Team China

These mermaids look like they are underwater.   Second place belongs to Team Sweden.

Team Sweden

Team Sweden

Titled:  4 (Ever) Wheels Reflection.   Team Sweden wrote  “This sculpture is a reflection of the car as a cultural tool and an extension of our bodies.   The car constitutes the duality of freedom and dependency.”    OK, so how did all this snow get here?   Breckenridge is a ski resort and they made the snow.   The City of Breckenridge hauled snow, in dump trucks, to the sculpturing area.   The snow, dumped into forms, is packed by humans jumping on it.   Each block of snow is 10’x10’x12′.   Each of the 16 blocks weighs 50,000 pounds.   That is 400 tons of snow!   Third place went to Team Mongolia for We are One Family.

Team Mongolia

Team Mongolia

This seems to be the front of the sculpture.   But, the back and sides were a bit different, and Zeb and Soapy want you to see this view also.

Team Mongolia

Team Mongolia

Also awarded is People’s Choice award.   Spectators vote by placing one dollar bills in the voting boxes in the Thaw Lounge.   This year was the first time there was a tie vote.   And, the two winners were Team Mongolia for We are One Family (also third place winner), and another Team Mongolia for Before It’s Too Late Protect Earth From Today!

Team Mongolia

Team Mongolia

Team Mongolia’s sign says  “This lizard on a human palm represents the intertwindedness of humans with nature.”   This was our favorite sculpture this year also.   We really liked all 16 of these entries.    Team Iceland’s, Ancestry In Ice was great.

Team Iceland

Team Iceland

The Viking ship was perhaps the greatest technical and artistic achievement of its time, they say.   Team Italy names this STOP!

Team Italy

Team Italy

They believe our worst enemies are within ourselves:  They are our own fears.  Team Breckenridge, the host city, entered Life Saver.

Team Breckenridge

Team Breckenridge

This is a tribute to the National Ski Patrol, established in 1938.   The National Ski Patrol provides eduction and emergency care and safety eduction.  They also are the main Search and Rescue group for the mountains.   We thank the over 28,000 members, serving over 650 patrols.   But not all snow was entered in the competition.   This one is for fun.

Just for fun

Just for fun

At first, kids could play and climb here, but then the weather got warmer, a little thawing, more freezing, and now it is covered with a layer of ice.   Still climb inside, but outside is too slippery now.  This year there is a new sponsor.

Sponsored by Toyota

Sponsored by Toyota

Toyota sponsored this 27th International Snow Sculpture Championships.   For the competition, no power tools are allowed, only small hand tools.   The sculpting began Tuesday at noon and the ended Saturday at 9:00 a.m.   Then the judging begins.   Many teams work through the nights to finish these masterpieces.   But, remember this is a mountain town, a resort town, a ski area, and a great place to visit.   On main street we like this Colorado Store.

Breckenridge Main Street

Breckenridge Main Street

And we especially love the benches made of old skis.   Breckenridge received a lot of snow the week before this competition.

Snow

Snow

Much of it is still here, in town and thankfully on the mountains.   Looks like it was windy also.

Crazy icicles

Crazy icicles

The icicles look like they were blown as they froze.      We love Breckenridge.   They have many festivals during the year, but it is fun even without festivals, any time of the year.   We hope you visit soon.

Happy President’s Day 2017

Today, February 20, 2017 is President’s Day in the United States.   This is a federal holiday so many schools will be closed.   The post office also closes, so no mail will be delivered today.   Banks also close as do all federal offices.   On Mt Rushmore in South Dakota, the heads of four presidents are carved.

Mount Rushmore honors our democracy

Mount Rushmore honors our democracy

Here we honor former US Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln.     In 1885 a holiday was declared on February 22, to celebrate the birthday of George Washington, our first president.   In 1971, the holiday was changed to the 3rd Monday in February and now honors all US Presidents.   We wish you a very happy holiday today.

Today is National Battery Day

Can you believe this?   There is a national day for batteries!   Today, February 18, is the day to appreciate the convenience batteries provide to our everyday lives.   We need batteries in so many things.   Cars and other motor vehicles need batteries.   Also computers, cell phones, security alarms, cameras, flashlights, watches, clocks, toothbrushes, toys, and so much more.    We even have stores dedicated to batteries.   Battery Plus sells so many different types of batteries and other accessories, such as chargers, adapters and more.   To celebrate National Battery Day the Colorado Traveling Ducks recommend checking and perhaps replacing the batteries in smoke alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors.     Have a safe and happy National Battery Day.

We Visit Denver’s First Church

Trinity United Methodist Church, organized in 1859 claims to be Denver’s First Church.   I, Zeb the Duck, with Chanel the Bear, visited this beautiful church at 1820 Broadway in Denver, Colorado.

Trinity United Methodist Church

Trinity United Methodist Church

Known today as Trinity United Methodist Church, is was first known as Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church.

Originally Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church

Originally Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church

We went inside.   From the front this is the view looking toward the balcony.

Looking to balcony

Looking to balcony

We love stained glass windows, so we were happy.   Isn’t this a great wooden Nativity display.

Nativity Scene with Zeb and Chanel

Nativity Scene with Zeb and Chanel

Chanel and I fit right into this scene.   Climbing the stairs to the balcony, we had an impressive view of the organ.

From balcony to organ

From balcony to organ

Completed in 1888, under the supervision of Frank Roosevelt of the Roosevelt Organ Works of New York, this organ has been carefully maintained.   In 1888 electricity was not dependable.  A water wheel was connected to an artesian well in the sub-basement of the building.   Thus in an emergency, there would be electricity to power the organ.    This organ has 4,275 pipes.  That is a lot!  Looking around the balcony, there are a lot of seats in this church.

Inside Trinity United Methodist Church

Inside Trinity United Methodist Church

We liked this sculpture.

He Shall Gather The Lambs

He Shall Gather The Lambs

The inscription says “He Shall Gather the Lambs”.   This church has many symbols of the Holy Trinity (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit).   There are three arches over the Broadway Street entrance and three sections of the steeple.

Trinity United Methodist Church

Trinity United Methodist Church

Also within the proscenium arch above the organ’s pipes, there are 66 lights.   Each light represents a book of the Bible.

From balcony toward organ

From balcony toward organ

This Roosevelt organ is so large.   Doesn’t the organist look small?   When you are downtown Denver, we recommend that you visit this church.   The church is beautiful and the organ is fantastic.   Even when the weather is not perfect for outdoor activities, remember to visit special buildings, museums and other great indoor exhibits.