Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Highlights of Muscat

 You saw our trips to the camel race, Wadi Shab, and Dubai.  This post will show you what we did in and around Muscat!  I tried hard not to make it look like another Holmes family photo album, but then I just gave up.  You are warned!

First day in Muscat.  We went for a drive around Muscat late in the morning.  This is our favorite Starbucks, on Shatti Qurum Road.  A little caffeine to help adjust to the 10-hour time difference!

We then had a late lunch at one of our favorite restaurants, The Turkish House.  Jared and Amanda got the cantaloupe drinks.  They were like a smoothie.  We had hummus, hot turkish bread, fried calamari, oven-cooked chicken, fatoush salad, and oven-cooked hammour fish fillets.  Yum!

The next day was a Sunday, which meant work for Joe and school for Austin and Savannah.  The rest of us headed to the souk!  The kids are at the corniche, the road that is along the harbor.  This whole harbor area is my favorite part of Muscat.

Amanda picked out some Turkish bowls for part of her Christmas present.

Someone was trying hard to make a sale.  Great picture, but Jared wasn't buying.  :)

Next, we  had lunch at Sliders, in Shatti Oasis.  Great views and good food.  We ended the afternoon with a trip to a local mall.  Nothing like a mall for great people-watching.

On for more fun.  On Monday, Joe was still working and the kids were still taking finals, so the four of us headed off to Nakhal Fort!  I love this place.  It was my second time to go and I have a whole blog post on this fort.  It is only an hour from Muscat, and such an amazing fort, location, and views!  There is also a pretty wadi nearby, but we didn't have time for that this day.

Oh, all the photos I didn't include.  After touring the fort, we went back home to pick up Austin and Savannah, who were done for the day.  We drove out to Shangri-La (the opposite direction), for their lunch buffet.

Beautiful place

This is a glimpse of  Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah resort. We ate at Al Tanoor for their fabulous lunch buffet.  My kids loved being able to try Omani, Indian, and other types of cuisine.

The view as you are leaving.  I promise Austin and Savannah were with us.  They just didn't get out of the car.

A few days later, after Dubai, everyone went on a hike.  I was home, in bed with a bad cold.  I sent them off to do an "Easy Hill and Wadi Walk", according to my book.  It was a beautiful hike, but definitely not easy.  Maybe they took the wrong path.  I don't know.

The path (in my book) starts from the parking lot at Riyam Park, close to the odd white sculpture you see in the far distance.  What a view!

Doesn't look easy.  I will blog about this hike later.  Too many outstanding pictures!

On my kids' last day here, we went to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque.  We got there fairly early, about 8:30, just ahead of the cruise ship crowds.

You must be well-covered to tour the mosque.

Inside the women's prayer hall.

Photo bombed!

This was actually Joe's first time to tour the mosque.  He was impressed!

Jared took this great panoramic photo of the inside of the men's prayer room.  The central chandelier is all Swarovski crystals and over 40 feet high!!

My handsome Jared

Amanda, Joe, Jared, me, and Savannah.  Austin is home, sleeping.

Savannah, wearing her abaya

After the mosque, we toured the Royal Opera House of Muscat.  Beautiful, but maybe it shouldn't be visited right after the Grand Mosque.  :)

Final afternoon in Oman, and the kids want to go back to the souk.  If you have visitors to Muscat, plan on going to the souk twice.  It is hard to take it all in the first time and such a neat place to go.  Jared took this great picture of the crashing waves.  And unusual stormy day in Muscat.

So ends the sightseeing in Oman!  There were a few things we would like to have done.  We actually rented a boat for snorkeling and dolphin-watching, but the seas were too rough, as seen above.  We had no time for desert camping, something I would really like to do.  And no beaches.  Just a little too cool for that.  But we did do a lot!

A couple of glimpses into our Christmas celebration throughout the week.  (No fireplaces in Oman!)

No matter how beautiful or exciting the outing, there is nothing like just hanging out at home with family.

Peace out, everybody, from the Holmes family!  Happy New Year!

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