Dubai: Two Emirati men are just back from a motorcycle expedition they undertook across Europe to mark the UAE’s Year of Tolerance where they spread its universal message.
Saeed Al Janahi, director of operations at the Dubai Film and Television Commission, who went on the trip with fellow Emirati Mobarak Obaid, told Gulf News, “We completed the #YearofTolerance Motorcycle Tour within 30 days. We had the privilege of visiting 21 cities in 12 countries where we held up the UAE flag at iconic locations and showcased our country’s rich and accommodative culture.”
The duo who first flew from Dubai to Hamburg on August 11 said they rode on their Honda Goldwings to Prague, Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Zagreb, Venice, Milan, Monte Carlo, Cannes, Barcelona, Lyon, Dijon, Paris Calais, London, Machester, Brighton, Bruges, London again, Amsterdam and Bremen before returning to Hamburg from where they flew back to Dubai.
They said the fact that they had UAE passports made things easy for them. “We didn’t have to make prior visa applications except in the UK. We received a very warm welcome everywhere we went. It was heartening to see how they knew so much about our country and were keen to learn more,” said Obaid, adding that the very mention of Dubai would get people all excited.
Al Janahi said meeting people from different cultures and backgrounds was a great experience. “There is so much we can all learn from each other. For example, in the UK it took us a while to get used to driving on the right, because we are used to driving on the left. In Italy, when an elderly woman saw us holding the UAE flags, she wanted to take pictures. She was also fascinated by our bikes. She later told us that she had also lived in Dubai.”
He said, “We felt proud of our passport which is No.1 in the world today. The moment we entered a new country, we would receive a welcome message from our embassy. It made us feel we were in safe hands.”
The duo spent a day or two in each country, assimilating whatever they could. “The memories we made we will always cherish,” said Obaid.
This is not the first time the two Emiratis went on a biking expedition. “Last year too we went to Europe to mark the Year of Zayed. Biking has been a passionate hobby for many years. But now we undertake our tours with a mission,” added Al Janahi.