Off ship first thing with our excursion buddies Bill and Joan, great couple, 82 years old and like 60 year olds, met our tour guide, as per instructions outside the port gate, took a shuttle bus out and met Valentina, a gorgeous Russian lady, what a fantastic day! She took us all around Muscat in her a Toyoto Landcruiser. She has lived in Oman for 4 years after having lived in the UAE for 16 years, I had booked her online for a private tour for the four of us and we were not disappointed. The most unlikely places sometimes turn out to be wonderful! Valentina says she really feels at home here in Oman, men and women are equal and it is a very safe country….and as we found out throughout our 6 hour tour the people are friendly and welcoming! First stop was the Grand Mosque, a stunning structure, the third largest in the world, it just oozed opulence and so elegant and tastefully done! It sits on a huge piece of land and after spending some time there were invited into the little visitors centre for dates, coffee and cold water….very delicious and the cold water was very
welcome 40 degrees here today and very humid! The women here were very funny and wanted to know how to say some Aussie sayings and slang, so funny, they just laughed and laughed, so friendly and warm towards us, even said you can take off your scarves here in the visitors centre! The landscape here is very harsh but also very beautiful…can’t believe they only had dirt tracks up until 1972..so much building has gone on since then..some magnificent buildings! The Opera House was our next stop, so beautiful…I guess when you are a Sultan money is no object and it again oozed class! The pipe organ was one out of the box to see..they just have one major organ concert per year. There are screens in the back of the seats so that you can have the opera translated into several different languages. The Opera House is all marble and wood. We drove on to the local fish market and it was very busy as everyone was buying up goods for Ramadan which starts tomorrow, we were lucky to dock before Ramadan, could still get drinks and eats around town. We drove out of town to look at some
different scenery, to the Shangri La Resort and as she called them the Shangri La Fiords, great waters in between the hills for diving, fishing, water sports was a great view, then to the Ritz Carlton Hotel to check that out, then to the Royal Palace and a couple of photo stops on the way. We think we would love to come back and do a road trip with Valentina through more of Oman. When I don’t know but we will see!
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