Checking out Old Muscat.
Muscat Travel Blog› entry 6 of 8 › view all entries
I headed into the Ruwi section of Muscat to check out the Sultan Qaboos Mosque and look for some food. The was very nice, but did not have alot of character to it. I took a few photographs and walked around looking for food. I'm not sure if it was the time I was searching, but I could not find a restaurant or coffee shop with one person eating inside. It was right around noon, and Sunday isn't the weekend in Oman so I don't get it.
I got back in the car and tried a few other places with the same result. I may have tried one of the deserted restaurants, but they all seemed to feature Indian food, which is not what I was really looking for. The parking in Muscat so far seems to be strangely easy.
I give up on the Ruwi area, and head down to the more touristy Mutrah area. Again parking is quite easy, and the Mutrah area is chock full of tourist attractions. Opposite the port area is the Mutrah Corniche seawalk. And across from the port is a series of five restaurants with ample outdoor seating... and not a single open table between them. Can I find something in the middle here?
I give up on eating temporarily and walk through the Mutrah Souk. The Souk is a criss-crossing covered shopping area which features all sorts of merchants hawking their wares. Attentive, mostly German, tourists are eating up the sales pitches.
I backtrack and find an open table at one of the sidewalk restaurants. I actually find something Arabic on the menu way down at the bottom (well below the burgers), and I order a Schwarma with all of the fixings and a Mango Juice. I ask a local man sitting nearby if the area is always this busy, and he points out the huge cruise ship in the harbor and informs me it is full of German tourists. Well that certainly explains things.
The rest of Mutrah, and the nearby Old Muscat area of town are amazing.
Another highlight of the city tour is the Sultan's Palace, which covers an awful lot of real estate. It occurs to me that I have now visited the only two independant sultanates in the world, having visited Brunei back in 2006. Then again, I have now visited every country in the world that starts with "O" and "Q". What a claim to fame.
I head back to the hotel to do some blogging, drink some rum, and make plans for tomorrow. I can't decide whether to visit Nizwa or Sur, both of which a within day-trip driving distance of Muscat. We'll see what happens in the morning.