This morning we arrived at Port Sultan Qaboos in Oman and our first sight was very surprising as we came on deck this morning. We were expecting flat dessert country however the port was surrounded by tall craggy rock faced mountains.
We boarded the shuttle bus for the short one mile ride to the Mutrah Souk (market) which is one of Muscat’s oldest souks and attraction.
We spent some time exploring the market stalls along the maze of pathways in this ancient market taking in the various smells, sights and sounds. The scent of frankincense hung in the air, reminding Steven of his childhood visits to the Catholic Church. We purchased three different types of incense to take home with us. Bartering for various goods was all part of the fun and our time here was well spent. In the maze of pathways we found the Gold Souk where locals and tourists examined pieces of intricately designed fine gold and precious stone jewellery.
We caught up with the cruise ship tour coaches and the many passengers, near the gates of the Al Alam Palace which is the official residence of Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Visitors are not allowed inside but the exterior gold and blue pillars made for a good photo shot.
After exploring the city we walked back out along the coastal pathway which wound along for a considerable distance through towns which lie between the sea and high craggy rocked faced mountains.
After about 5-6k now the only tourists in these parts and no sign of a short cut through the hills back to the ship we decided to hail a taxi, bartering for a fare of US$20 back to the market as the day was getting away too quickly for us to do the 9km or so walk back.
Arriving back at the markets we waited for the shuttle bus to transport us back to the ship. Passengers are not permitted to walk through the port as it is a busy working port. Back aboard, weary from the long walk, we made our way to the Conservatory Restaurant for some afternoon tea and a snack and await the sail-a-away from the coast of Oman.
Muscat is the capital of the Sultanate of Oman located on the Arabian Peninsula and was a thriving and strategically located port of the Arabian Peninsula. It is now the capital of modern Oman. Picturesque, medieval structures co-exist with contemporary, commercial and residential quarters.
Muscat is the meeting place of Asian, African and Arabic civilizations and this unique blend of cultures makes Oman a special place to visit and explore. The different cultures can be seen in the colourful wares in the markets.