Tuesday, February 15, 2011


At the end of January we drove from Abu Dhabi to Muscat to meet up with our Swiss friends, Marcel and Anina, who had been touring Oman the week prior. We spent a couple of days there, appreciating the laid-back atmosphere of this coastal town and surrounding mountainous regions.

The view from our room at the Naseem Hotel in the port district of Muttrah

Our first task was to take a leisurely stroll along the Muttrah Corniche at sunset, most welcome after our long drive-

Photo by Marcel

After our walk, we literally stumbled upon the Oman Heritage and Cultural Village at Qurum Park, one of the venues for the month-long Muscat Festival, while driving in search for a place to eat dinner. The park was full of dancing troupes (men and women dancing together in some!), displays demonstrating skills in traditional trades like silver-works, date-candying, weaving and looming, and most of all, large numbers of locals enjoying the festival.

Photo by Marcel

It had a similar feel to the cultural pride we witnessed on UAE National Day (with fewer cars and minus the silly string), and though it felt a bit like a tourist trap we were actually some of the only Western visitors in the park. In fact, we were photographed by the Arabic newspaper, likely because we stood out like sore thumbs.

Photo by Marcel
Famished after the bustle of the festival, we enjoyed a traditional Moroccan dinner of lamb and couscous at Meknes in Al Khuwair District.

Photo by Marcel

The next day we visited Sultan Qaboos Mosque, Oman's equivalent to the Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi. Our impression was that it is equally beautiful but more organic in its delivery than the Sheikh Zayed Mosque.

After a bit more driving we made it to the huge Nakhal Fort, north of Muscat, which was great fun to explore-

Photo by Marcel

Afterwards, we stopped to dip our feet in the warm natural springs at a nearby oasis...

...and were attacked  tickled by flesh-eating fish! People actually pay for this treatment in upscale spas around the world, but Sam enjoyed the pedicure free of charge.

Later, we returned the favor by eating a lovely fish dinner at Turkish House, which was somewhat hard to find but worth the effort (look for the neon blue signs).

Photo by Marcel

Our final morning we spent wandering and practicing our haggling skills in the famous Old Muttrah Souk.

It's not as large of a complex as the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, but still pretty intricate and impressive.

Muscat is a great place to spend a relaxed long weekend away from the high rises and shopping malls of Abu Dhabi, and was a good start to our weeklong visit with Marcel and Anina. Next stop...Fujairah.


  1. Hi I came across your blog -- wondering if you and your husband are still in Abu Dhabi. We're always looking for other young American couples!


  2. Hi Tami! We actually moved back to the states this past summer, and are now living in Tallahassee, FL, but who knows how long we'll be here. Perhaps we'll find ourselves back in AUH in the near future; if so, we can connect then!