One good thing about doing this exploration trip on my own is that I can meander anywhere I like, stop take 100 photos at numerous spots, without upsetting anybody. On my way to Nakhil I spotted a lush oasis with some old buildings dotted here and there. On this occasion I didn’t go in to explore, but this would make a great walk in the winter and is marked on my garmin for a return visit.
I’ve visited quite a few Omani forts and castles over the last five years; as I’m not really a history buff they all look much the same to me, apart from the wonderful settings. Nakhal Fort breaks the mould, here is a stunning building in the foothills of the Hajar mountains, overlooking the town and date planatations. At one time the Wily (the governor) of the region resided here and met with the townspeople to discuss business, mediate in disputes, and conduct marriages.
It is a huge multi-level fort with lots of stairs; everywhere you look there is a photo opportunity. They have 200-300 visitors every day, including busloads of mainly European tourists, who pay the entry fee of 500 baizas (90p) each. An attraction such as this in the UK would cost about 10 times the price to visit!
There’s loads of spyholes all over the fort; it would be difficult to approach without someone seeing you
Another highly decorated ceiling – note the verse from the Koran to the right of the centre.
My lovely guide Adel asked if I wanted to climb up there! My regular readers will know the answer!
He was a dab hand with my camera too!
and felt the cold somewhat more than I did!
He showed me the nearby hot springs at Ain Al Thuwaraya
which seems to be a popular place with locals
After this we went for lunch in a nearby cafe, and enjoyed a feast of rice, chicken and lamb while we talked about our families,our lives and our interests. Adel Al Awadi is a well known poet in Oman, and showed me one of his videos on his blackberry. I only understood one or two words but there was no mistaking the passion and talent this young man has for his craft.
Once back in Muscat I had a late siesta – I’ve been missing my regular afternoon sleep as I wanted to make the most of every hour I have in Oman – although I had begun to “run out of steam” by this point! I made it down to the shore at “beach o’clock”, just in time to get some more lovely sunset photos.
And so endeth another beautiful, interesting and memorable day in Oman!
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