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My Spanish Vida goes to Riyadh KSA

 

I heart Riyadh sign Riyadh Park Mall
~ Riyadh Park Mall ~


~ this post contains affiliate links, if you click on the link & purchase through the link the product won't cost you anymore, but it means I will receive a tiny percentage in return - see my disclaimer/contact page for more info ~


~ Welcome to a whole new chapter ~

My Spanish Vida goes to Riyadh!

This isn't just a one off trip either. It is for, well, the foreseeable future, for as long as they'll have us anyway. 

If you follow my social media, Instagram and Twitter you've probably picked up on the fact that we have relocated to Riyadh in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

The gist of the reason is that my husband was offered a fantastic position out there and to be honest after trying out semi-retirement and with the whole pandemic thing where we've (all) been extremely restricted we were itching for another adventure. We also never realised how much we missed the Middle East. 

Previously we had five years out in the UAE, living in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Ras al-Khaimah. We really didn't realise at the time how fortunate we were and looking back we may have taken it all slightly for granted. We really feel like we've been given a second chance of living the Arabian dream and are excited that it's a brand new destination for us both, but still being in the Middle East which we love. 

So Riyadh. I feel like we did have a little bit of preparation for living there because of our time in the UAE. Which I know they are completely different places, but I still think it helped having spent time in the UAE did kind of prep us for the move to Riyadh. Plus Mark has been to Saudi before so he knew what to expect too. 

And it didn't disappoint.

Our first week there certainly wasn't a holiday or the sightseeing, exploring trips you see on YouTube. We flew in on a Friday so by the time we arrived, queued at immigration and because of covid everything is taking so much longer. We got to the hotel quite late and then by the time we got to the room had a cup of tea and unpacked it was 5am in the morning. 

We slept till about 11am and knowing Mark was straight into his new job on the Sunday morning we didn't want to waste too much of the day and we had to go back to the airport as we had a hire car booked. 

Our first day was all a bit of a blur. After experiencing the crazy wild driving out there and trust me it is! We found a supermarket, Lulu (which they have these chains in the UAE too) and had a good old mooch. Mark and I do love a supermarket we always end up in multiple ones when we go away. Especially as we are going to be living there it's good to get to know who stocks what and what our go-to ones will be.

Throughout our week we did go to a few different supermarkets and to be honest they're all really good. They stock so much of everything. Lulu does have the edge though as it has pretty much all our American and British foods we like and it just seems to have a really good variety of everything. 

We visited many different compounds and have now secured a villa which is brilliant. I think I'm going to do a separate post about searching for compounds because I think we learnt quite a lot from our different tours throughout the week. As what we thought we would want from accommodation in Riyadh completely changed after seeing the different compounds in real life rather then just through the brochures online.

We stayed at the Ascott Rafal Olaya and we were really impressed. They are actually serviced apartments. We had a Studio executive which was basically an oversized hotel room with a kitchenette, fridge and a washer/dryer. Which when you're there for work and basically living at the hotel it comes in handy being able to do your washing and be able to have groceries in the fridge and to cook in the room too. 

Our first impressions of Riyadh are all good. We have seen on YouTube videos that people have said how friendly the Saudi people are and we found that to be 100% true. Everyone we've met so far have been friendly and pleasant and we have received good customer service everywhere we've been. Even in Starbucks the ladies working in there were really polite and seemed genuinely friendly and helpful too.

The city has already an abundance of modern malls with all the designer brands as well as all our favourite high street stores too. Of course Riyadh also has many cool skyscraper buildings as well. The architecture in the Middle East is incredible, which I love. I find the buildings really interesting. Riyadh is definitely a growing city, there's a lot of construction going on at the moment and I think it's going to be a really exciting time to be there. 

Obviously we still have a few hurdles to overcome. Marks fully into work now and I'm back and forth to Spain until we move into the new villa and sort out shipping the fur-babies out to Riyadh. If you're new to the blog and me, we have 7 cat's! Sounds a lot doesn't it. To be honest on a day to day basis 7 cat's really isn't a lot, but when you start getting quotes for flying them to Riyadh and stacking their travel crates, crumbs, 7 cat's all of sudden does seem a little crazy, haha. But they are our babies and there is no way we're leaving them behind. 

So that's where the whole new chapter of our life begins. It is so exciting and I know once we are all there, in the villa and starting our brand new life it's gonna be pretty good for sure ♥ and I hope you'll be sticking around for the ride and experiencing this journey with us too.


xx Heather 


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I've also started to save some Riyadh bit's to my Instagram highlights, 
so be sure to check them out too!

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