My plan for a second day in beautiful Muscat was the old town, beach, Mutrah Souq and Omani restaurant, but we were so fascinated by the mountains yesterday that we had to walk there and climb up first.
So we went out of the hotel and looked around, we were looking for a way up. Mutrah is amazing! People live in small white houses built one by one on each other and there is only a tiny path between them. They can let their doors open and are not afraid of neighbours or even of us – two strangers. We also passed some groceries with empty shelves with only 2 -3 items to choose of. Amazing!!! At the top of the hill there was a small mosque, where we wanted to go. We were looking for a way but when we found it, it was sooo tiny and small that my small claustrophobia told me: No way! Anyway we found another hill/ mountain, where we climbed up and was treat by a beautiful view of the city.
We spent whole morning by climbing and walking in the mountains and exploring Omani culture and people. Nice relax for someone living in busy city like Dubai. Since it was very hot and I took dressing and covering arms and legs too serious I went out in a long trousers and sweater, after a few minutes I was literally sweat and have to change my clothes, so that I could be able to continue.
Thanks we had a car we were able to reach farer places. Our first stop was Qantab. Qantab is said to be very nice place with clean beach and nice rocks. It’s true that it’s nice place with marvellous nature, but the beach?? To be honest – water is green and trash is everywhere. So you might not be swimming or sunbathing at the beach there, but you can find a peaceful silent with sea sounds only. Beach is inhabited by small crabs, that have their holes/homes spread everywhere at the beach.
There is also a possibility to rent a small wooden boat that takes you around the coast and to famous ‘cave’. I think, Qantab lives only from ships, snorkling etc. I don’t remember the amount for the boat trip, but it was aprox. 10 OMR/1 hour.
When we were coming back through Qantab, we saw sheeps coming across the street, then after we turned right there were cows lying in the shadow. It was really hot and we wanted to move and see more of amazing Omani culture. It’s good to have a car, you can stop at any nice place you find, we stopped at the beach, mountains, hotel, palace… I appreciated our car many times!
Al Alam Royal Palace
Second bigger stop was at Al Alam Royal Palace. Sultan Qaboos Palace is believed to be Buckingham Palace of Oman. You may know it from pictures. It is that small blue and yellow building of strange shape. In reality it is large complex. Al Alam Palace has already celebrated its 200 anniversary. Since it is not the youngest, there is a new one right next to this old one. The new one is not so different, but also nice and large. The old one is used as a meeting place for Royal visitors. But nowadays Sultan lives in a new one, that is only 10 years old.
You can find small forts around the palace at the top of rocks. It is a relic of Portuguese occupation. Need to say, the forts look different, they don’t fit into that Omani style. There were very nice and kind guards who joyfully told us more about the history and about the place.
Bait Al Luban
the next stop was a traditional Omani Restaurant Bait Al Luban, just next to the fish market in the old town center. We were sitting at the floor, seated into the pillows – amazing! The best was a dates bread, but all food was good. We finished our lunch with Arabic coffee and sweet dates. I am not a big fan of Arabic coffee and dates, but we were really please, because it perfectly suits into the old Omani atmosphere in the restaurant. It was awesome! I can only recommend this restaurant.
Later we headed to the old Souq, which is just next to this restaurant and near a fish market, which is under a construction now. Mutrah Souq is large and you can find there anything from traditional dresses, handbags, timepieces to Arabic food and fruit. It is very similar to our Souq in Dubai, who knows what it it about, it won’t surprise him.
A rain hit us in the evening, therefore we had to spend the evening in our hotel restaurant and we also went to a bed very early after a long busy day.
One day to go…