First day - Monday
After breakfast at Mutrah in Naseem Hotel we took a taxi and drove to Holiday Inn Hotel in order to pick up the Toyota Prado what we have ordered from Europecar in advance. The car was ready and tank full. First we drove to the hypermarket Lulu to buy bottled water and take out some cash from ATM. 1,5 litre bottle of water cost 200 baisa almost everywhere we bought it.
The day was hot (35 degrees Celsius) and after short walk at cornice we decided to go find swimming possibilities. The only map we had was the one in LP Arabian Peninsula guidebook. We found from there Qurm beach. The beach was long sandy stretch, but the water was not as clean as we expected and there was almost no people in the. Because of that we sunbathed for half a hour and went then to a city walk to walled city Muscat.
We found easily Sultan’s Palace. This was huge and gorgeous. The Sultan spends most of his time at the Palace in Salalah in the south. This palace is used primarily to meet with visiting dignitaries.
The current Sultan Qaboos (قابوس بن سعيد آل سعيد) is famous for easing the country into modernity. Nowadays it is hard to believe that in 1970 Oman had only 10 kilometers of sealed roads, only two primary schools, no secondary schools an only two hospitals. Since 1970, Sultan Qaboos took power, Oman has caught up with its more affluent neighbors, we were especially amazed by the infrastructure of roads.
It is unfortunate that it is not possible to visit Sultan’s palace, but the glory can also be seen then walking around. After walking around we found a small and beautiful mosque near to the gates of Sultan’s Palace. We asked from the gardener whether we can enter and he said that we only need to take of shoes. It was beautiful also inside – all marble. We also used there a opportunity to drink cold water and wash legs in order to cool ourselves.
We also wanted to see Al Bustan Palace, which was promised to be more palace than hotel. Unfortunately the hotel was under renovation and it was not possible to drive through the gates.
We had a dinner at Gulf Fast food Coffee shop, next to the gates of Mutrah Souq. There are two coffee shops and then the waiters realized that we are looking for food, both were very aggressive to crab us to their coffee shop. We ate kebabs and mutton tikka (a’ 2 OMR), both tasted very good. Fresh juices (big glass for 1,500 OMR) were exactly what we needed after hot day and dinner.
After dinner we walked on the famous Mutrah Souq. We found it very interesting; although it seems that nowadays genuineness has gone a bit. In addition to expected crafts, fruits, herbs, clothes, shoes, perfumes and jewelry we also saw plastic toys and household items on sale. In my opinion those things ruin the atmosphere of the Mutrah Souq.