|| Part 7: Salalah,
24.12: Munich -> Istanbul
27.12: Muscat -> Rustaq
28.12: Sohar -> Ibri
29.12: Ibri, Al Ayn, Jabrin
30.12: Ibri -> Bahla
-> Misfat -> Ibra
31.12: Ibra, Al Qabil, Wadi Bani
01.01: Al Qabil -> Wahiba
02.01: Wahiba desert ->
03.01: Sur, Ras Al Hadd
04.01: Sur -> Muscat
05.01: Muscat -> Salalah
06.01: Salalah, Taqah, Mirbat
07.01: Salalah, Wadi Dawkah,
08.01: Salalah, Mughsail
09.01: Muscat -> Istanbul
10.01: Istanbul -> Munich
Salalah -> Mughsail -> Salalah
Hamdan Plaza, Salalah.
sunny, blue sky, warm.
finish breakfast at 10am, then short discussion about what to do. I
tell Shirley that I'm planning to visit the Al Baleed archaeological
park and then the city, total time two hours, leaving immediately. I
can bring Alissia with me, Shirley could go to the Centrepoint shopping
centre with Natasha for some shopping. Some discussion and with the
Centrepoint closing at 12pm (only reopening at 4pm), Shirley decides to
So at 11am we drive to the Al Baleed
park. With some stop in between, we arrive at 11:30am. There is a
museum about the region which we visit. Kids under 6 years of age not
allowed in, so Natasha has to stay out. We joke with the guard if he
would like to take care of her, while we are in. The halls contain high
quality exhibits, which probably a small kid might damage. Quite
Then we walk to the archaeological
site. This is an
open air area, with ruins and stones lying around. Quite poor
preservation status, very few structures are left. I end up spending
just 10 minutes at the site, also because Shirley is not following me
and just waiting for me somewhere in the shadow.
back, and on the way back into town, at 12 something pm we briefly stop
at at a fruit stall where we buy some bananas and drink some coconut
At 12:40pm we briefly stop at the incense souk
photos, then drive back to the hotel.
On the way
back Shirley spots a
Pizza Hut restaurant. We have a lunch there between 1 and 2pm. I'll
probably try to avoid Pizza Hut restaurants for a while - have eaten
too many times in a Pizza Hut restaurant here in Oman.
something pm we are back in the hotel. Now the idea would be to rest
for one hour or so, then drive around 3pm to Mughsail and enjoy the
beach there. The guidebook lists Mughsail as a special place to visit
(nice beach, bird sanctuary) and the boy I met on the beach
yesterday mentioned that it is
easy to spot dolphins there.
At 3:20pm Natasha is
Shirley is not in the mode to go to some place. But Alissia is
enthusiastic and full of energy and wants to go to the beach. So I
leave together with Alissia for Mughsail at 3:45pm.
is just 40km
from Salalah and the road is mostly motorway or a straight empty road
with few curves, allowing high speeds. However for some reason we only
arrive at 4:25pm. Since there are no shops or cafes or anything at all,
except for some houses, we drive to a petrol station and buy some
drinks and food there.
Mughsail is mainly a very
long beach (6km
according to the guidebook). White coral sand, clear seawater. We only
see some fisherboats on the beach and perhaps 2-3 people. It's a very
empty and peaceful place.
The beach is not as nice as the
Salalah, because it is less wide mainly because there are
mountain cliffs very close to the sea. The socalled bird sanctuary is
missing (or perhaps we can't find it). There are just some birds along
the beach in a number of spots. If I knew the place was like this, I
probably would not have driven the 40km from Salalah to get here.
are on the beach until sunset (6pm). Alissia plays in the sand and in
the sea. The sea water is not cold - swimming would be no problem.
While there I see no dolphins.
After sunset we drive
Salalah and have a dinner at 7pm. Alissia only goes sleeping at 11pm.
She woke up at 9am, didn't sleep the whole day.
Salalah -> Muscat -> Istanbul
Ibis, Muscat. 34 Rial for a double room. This time they give us a
standard size double room. High quality place, good value for Omani
standards. The only problem is that this time the WLAN connection does
inside the room.
It turns out that this hotel is very far away
everything. The nearest beach is the Qurum beach and getting there by
taxi costs 5 OR one way. The hotel is in the middle of a
commercial/business area, which somehow explains the low price.
It is therefore nor really suitable for tourists visiting Muscat, and
not for tourists who have no car.
sunny, blue sky, warm. A bit
fresher in Muscat.
the breakfast we return to the room and pack our stuff. When I get the
bill there is an unpleasant surprise. The price that the booking portal
venere.com gave us for the room (45 OR/day) does not include the taxes
(17%), so in reality the total price of the room is 52.65
At 12pm we drive to the airport. There we
return the car
and proceed to the check-in counter. Everything proceeds smoothly. The
Oman Air plane takes off shortly after 1:30pm and lands in Muscat
shortly before 3pm.
We retrieve the luggage, go to
the exit and
jump into a taxi to the hotel Ibis. Despite the distance being half of
the distance to the hotel Mutrah, the taxi costs 7 OR (vs. 8 OR for the
trip to Mutrah).
After checking in the hotel I ask
reception if there is anything interesting near the hotel. There is
nothing near the hotel, everything is quite far away. So I just stay in
the room until 6 something pm (while Shirley and the kids take a rest),
then take a walk in the area around the hotel.
find a place
with many shops and restaurants, right along the main street near the
Shell petrol station. There are western style places (McDonalds,
Subway) but also local restaurants run by Pakistanis and Indians.
the room at 7:30pm Shirley wakes up the kids. At 8pm we get out of the
hotel and walk to this Pakistani restaurant I spotted. There we have a
delicious dinner with Pakistani/Indian dishes, spending just 5.3 OR for
the four of us.
something pm we
walk back to the hotel and stop briefly in the shops area, in the
bakery I spotted before. There Shirley buys some local cookies - we'll
eat them in Germany.
It's almost 10pm when we are
back in the hotel. In the reception I arrange for a taxi to pick us up
at 1am. Cost will be 7 OR.
1am we leave the hotel and drive to the airport. At the gate we buy
some drinks in the duty-free shop. Surprise, two bottles of water and
one can of sprite cost only 0.40 OR (=80 Euro cents).
Turkish airlines plane takes off on time. We are in row 25, the second
last row of this A320 plane. My seat does not recline. Great, how to
sleep like this. In addition, the hostesses are using the overhead
compartments for all kind of stuff: newspapers, bread etc. This space
should be available for passengers. The Turkish airlines hostess even
puts my bag with the computer, the camera and the harddisks very close
to the edge to make space for the newspapers.
in Munich: some snowfall, overcast, temperature probably slightly above
land in Istanbul shortly after 6am local time, then it takes a while
until the plane reaches the parking position. Outside we retrieve the
baby stroller and get on the bus which will bring us to the gate. It's
quite fresh in the early morning in Istanbul.
the terminal, it takes some time to get through the transit gate (they
check if you have a valid boarding card) due to the large number of
passengers. It's 6:55am when we finally make it to the departures area
and we are right next to the food area. It could be an idea to have a
small thing before proceeding to the gate. But the prices for
everything are absurd - sandwiches for 16 TL (8 Euro), soft drinks for
7 TL (3.50 Euro) - and in any case there is almost no time. So we just
proceed to the gate.
The flight to Munich (Turkish
sharing with Lufthansa) is on a bigger A321 plane. It takes off with a
delay of 15 minutes. The flight and the rest of the return trip proceed
smoothly. We reach home a bit before 12pm noon.