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THURSDAY: A seafood feast, and a sunset treat for the senses at the harbour.
Already it's Thursday, day 6. After breakfast, we head out to Bahrain Fort, the biggest and most spectacular of Bahrain's forts. A wonderful job has been done in restoration work here and I never fail to be impressed by its mighty walls, moat and formidable turrets.
It's been interesting to visit at least three times over the past few years to see the progress made and once again I have to say it is a "must see" on anybody's list. Of course it's great for photography too. You can find some great angles all around the fort, at different times of day as well, with the changing shadows and lighting effects especially in early morning or later afternoon when the sun is not too high. That makes it definitely one for the photographer's "must-take" list as well!
Not far from the fort is Barbar Temple, an excavated complex dating back to the third millennium BC. Not far from Barbar is the textile weaving village of Bani Jamra. Famous for its cloth weavers, the looms are very unusual in that the weaver sits in a small hollowed out area inside a shack drawing the yarn into the loom from a wooden post 8 to 10 metres away. It is excellent for photographs although flash will likely be required. This is no problem for the locals who are well used to visitors.
We head off from here to Adliya, to visit Akram Al Samaei, the son of Yemeni silver merchant Ahmed who we met in Yemen earlier in the year. Akram has his own silver shop in Bahrain, Shibam Silver, which has some exquisite traditional Yemeni jewellery that you will not find elsewhere on the island.
From here we drive back to the east coast for lunch at The Fish Market at Al Bandar Hotel. This has to be one of the best seafood restaurants on the island. Like me you will probably want to photograph the amazing display of seafood on the counter before you sit down to enjoy the feast. That excellent meal warrants a little relaxation at the hotel, which is a beach and boating resort. After a welcome swim, we head off again to Manama, this time for a sunset and to see the dhows leaving from Manama harbour. It's a similar scene to the dhows leaving from Sitra, but made more dramatic as they sail off into a dusk coloured sky.
Ali arranges for us to take a small boat from the harbour, allowing us to photograph the scene from sea level, beneath the bridge between the city and Muharraq.
Dinner that night is at Lanterns, an Indian restaurant, before we head for the nightclubs. Since it is my last but one day here, it makes sense to have a late night out tonight rather than tomorrow when a good night's sleep will be needed before the flight home the following day.
There are plenty of bars, discos and clubs to choose from in Bahrain, and the disco I know best is Barnaby Joe's or, as it's usually known, BJ's. It's very popular with the young folk of the island and the crowd is a complete mix of locals, expats and visitors. I must admit to being of an age now where discos are more for a brief visit than staying on all night long, especially with the volume turned well up as it usually is! I leave the place a little earlier than most as I don't want to be too tired for Friday, my final day on the island.