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Published: October 5th 2018
Its been a good week and I feel rejuvenated after Bhutan. Krimeed arranged a night out at the Burj Al Arab, an icon of the UAE which surprisingly I have never been too. You must make a booking so that is probably the main reason I never went there; the interior is somewhat garish but considering the price of the cheapest room service was fantastic. We started with drinks on the deck on a very warm night the view cross the water to the Marina precinct was stunning but soon we headed up stairs to one of the bars to escape the evening heat. The bar was garish as well and the drinks frighteningly expensive, but it was a good experience.
Next day I was off on a road trip to Oman, but first I had to go pick up Chris and Rina who are terrible at giving directions. I got a damn speeding fine on the way back who would have thought there was sixty zone in Dubai. Anyway, I eventually I found my way onto the Al Ain road and we were on our way.
About an hour later we were winding our way through the streets
of Al Ain on or way to the border post in the shadow of Jebel Hafeet, at first, I thought the process would be efficient and painless, but land border crossings rarely are. We had to go into an office to get our passport stamped, lucky it was a quiet crossing otherwise we could have been there a long time.
The Omani desert is flat and rocky, although there is the odd dune here and there, and initially not very attractive but that soon changed as we moved closer to the craggy Al Hajar mountains. We drove through number of dusty one camel towns before arriving in the desert city of Ibri which has a great looking fortress and a historic mudbrick old town. Unfortunately, the fort was closed on a Friday, so we made our way out of town and headed out into the countryside in search of the village of Bat which is surrounded by a bronze age necropolis of beehive shaped stone-built towers built from dressed blocks of local limestone laid carefully with simple mud mortar. Built in the Late Umm an-Nar period (ca. 2200-2000) the towers are a striking sight marching down the craggy mountain
Nizwa was our next destination a desert city with a stunning old town, I selected a hotel located in some renovated traditional homes with in metres of the souq, probably the best place I have stayed in since St Petersburg. After settling in we wandered down to the town centre and found a traditional Omani restaurant which served wonderful food.
I returned to my rather comfortable room as I planned to rise with the sun and wander through the alleyways of the old town. The next morning dawned hot, I showered and wandered off into the old town, crawling around through half ruined houses and eventually circumnavigated the city’s impressive fortress and mosque before stopping at a small café in the souq for an orange juice. While I enjoyed my juice, a small cat visited me for a bit of petting session while I watched a man repair a very old sowing machine. I then returned to my room to pack up my gear and meet the guys for breakfast before we visited the fortress, it was a pretty awesome building which had an excellent museum. I walked the few streets back to the hotel and put
my bag in the car before sitting in reception until they returned around 11pm. We then hit the road heading first to see the ruins at Tanuf and then on to the Al Hoota Cave which was entered by a small train. The cave had some impressive curtain stalactites but they are no longer growing. We visited the town of Al Harmra next before continuing to Bahla which probably has the region’s biggest fortress. By now it was getting late in the day, so I began the long drive back to Dubai, again having to stop to be stamped back in to the UAE.
The mountains and desert cities of Oman are stunning, and we had a wonderful weekend.
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