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Bahla – Mud Fortress

Bahla Castle or Hisn Tamah, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Bahla Castle or Hisn Tamah, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Taking a wrong turn can be rewarding. In our case it took us straight to the gigantic Fortress of Bahla, Oman’s oldest Fort. Its renovation has been going for decades, since only hand made clay bricks are used, to get as close to the original as possible. Despite such immense efforts to make it look authentic, it comes across a bit too neat, like most castles in Oman. Continue Reading →

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Tombs Of Al Ayn – The Journey Was The Reward

Archaeological Sites of Al-Ayn, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Archaeological Sites of Al-Ayn, a UNESCO World Heritage site, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

You would expect a minimum of protection for tombs built 3000 BC, in prehistory times, during the Bronze Age, wouldn’t you? Well, not even as much as a fence there was! We are talking about structures that are older than the Great Pyramids… You might also expect at least a sign, helping the clueless tourist find its way there. Well, there is simply none! We could see the tombs in the distance, neatly lined up on the ridge of a small hill, but found no access road, not even after an elderly man pointed in a direction. Continue Reading →

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Wadi Ghul

The “Grand Canyon” Of Oman’s Alps

Spectacular hiking at Wadi Ghul, Oman's Grand Canyon, Jebel Shams, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Spectacular hiking at Wadi Ghul, Oman’s Grand Canyon, Jebel Shams, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Cold it was up there when we finally pulled into Jebel Shams Resort, at almost 2.000 meters above sea level. For 150 € (half board) the large room was very cozy and warm, but the restaurant reminded more of a cheap buffet of a high-school cafeteria. From our room we could see the lights of the military base high up on top of Jebel Shams. We were not envying the soldiers up in their chilly barracks. Guarding what? Continue Reading →

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Oman’s Death Road

Crossing the Jebel Akhdar, or Jabal Akhdar or Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Crossing the Jebel Akhdar, or Jabal Akhdar or Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

This dusty, windy, steep and narrow road across the Hajer Mountains brought back great memories – biking down Bolivia’s “Death Road” (La Carratera de la Muerte) from La Paz to Coroico in 2007. Equally picturesque, but biking this road we would never consider! The incline was sometimes so steep that we could see nothing but the hood of our car. We could only hope that we were not going over a cliff or run head on into a car. Wannabe daredevils as we are, we had saved the 300 Euros for renting a GPS. It showed as soon as we headed straight into the mountains from the coastal road: immediately after the tarred road ended, we got lost. Continue Reading →

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Nakhal And Rustaq

Nakhal Fort, Nakhal, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Nakhal Fort, Nakhal, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

The fortress of Nakhal was the perfect start for our “fortress hoping” in Oman. Its hilltop location makes it the perfect photo opportunity, probably the best of all Omani fortresses and we should know – we visited eight out the 500 in total! Sitting majestically on a small hill is one thing, but this superbly renovated fortress brings its past back to life. Rooms full of old furniture and tools put the visitors hundreds of years back in time. Construction started in the 9th century, but extensions and renovation only ended in 1990. Continue Reading →

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Muscat – The Myth

City of Muscat, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

City of Muscat, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Are we in Muscat? We kept asking ourselves repeatedly while gliding along on the palm tree-lined highway. It seemed an endless journey along neat buildings without ever getting to a center. Why the confusion? Muscat is basically a 40-kilometer longish stretch along the coast, including smaller and bigger towns. Continue Reading →

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Scuba Diving In Oman

GrandEscapades-Oman180Ras Al Sawadi, an hour drive north of Muscat, was not really worth all the hassle. After fighting our way through a serious traffic jam coming from Muscat, we were rushed on a boat. Another hour we spent racing towards Daymaniyat Islands Nature Reserve for very little to see, literally. Continue Reading →

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Muscat Alien Arrival

Street in Muscat, Sultanat of Oman, Arabic Peninsula

Street in Muscat

A lavishly decorated Xmas tree greeted us at Muscat Airport at 02:00 am. We found this rather irritating! Didn’t we come to Oman to get away from exactly this? And now, the same ole “Jingle Bells” ambience? Continue Reading →

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Istanbul – A Selection Of 27 Pictures

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul, Turkey

Istanbul definitely deserves more time than just an extended weekend. Of course, the Blue Mosque (Sultanamet Camii), the Aya Sofya (Church of Divine Wisdom), the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar are high on anybody’s list. These impressive sights could easily be visited in a few days, but there is much more to explore. Continue Reading →

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A City Full Of Historic Highlights

Aya Sofya, Istnabul, Turkey

Aya Sofya, Istnabul, Turkey

Istanbul definitely deserves more time than just an extended weekend. Of course, the Blue Mosque (Sultanamet Camii), the Aya Sofya (Church of Divine Wisdom), the Topkapi Palace and the Grand Bazaar are high on anybody’s list. These impressive sights could easily be visited in a few days, but there is much more to explore. Continue Reading →

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