Friday, January 20, 2012

Oman Day 3- Nizwa, Riyam Park and more

We were planning again on being up early to drive out to the town of Nizwa and be there early for the Livestock Market/Souq. Nizwa is one of the oldest cities in Oman. The whole souq/town closes around 11 AM for prayer and then opens up again that night so we needed to be there early. Of course....we slept through our alarms. We managed to get there with about 40 minutes left and were able to walk around the market and the souq area which is actually inside the walls of the old fort. Peyton loved seeing all of the animals...and I didn't explain why they were all there and what was about to happen to them!

I loved the huge wooden doors leading into the fort, there were all so intricately designed and massive and while I was taking pictures an Omani man told me I should take his picture...and then he brought his friend over. Yes, he is carrying a sprite...and a gun. Many of the stores inside the souq sold Khanjars and guns and swords and many people were wearing some sort of weapon.

After we were done with exploring the town and taking in the atomsphere we went to Lulu's Grocery store and picked up supplies to make a picnic lunch. We ate lunch and then headed a little farther to the town of Bahla which is known for its pottery. We arrived too late to shop for pottery but we did just drive around and explore. There is a beautiful fort undergoing perservation by the World Heritage Society and is  a UNESCO protected site. The fort was built in the 13th and 14th centuries. Since it is still undergoing work you can't go in which I was sad about because it was such an impressive site. Here is a picture from Wikipedia....

Picture taken from Wikipedia

Since the kids were asleep we decided to head just a little farther and see Jabreen Castle. I knew it would be closed but we thought we would give it a try. I really wish we were able to make it in time to go in because I have read that it really beautiful inside. We wandered around the grounds a little before heading back towards Muscat.

On the way back to Muscat we passsed by the Sultan Qaboos Grande Mosque. I really want to go inside a mosque while we live here but since you can't take kids in with you, that is proving to be a challenge. Maybe when I go to Abu Dhabi to see my sister this Spring I can work out a way to go to the mosque there.

We headed to Riyam Park to let the kids play and stretch after driving so much during the day. The play structure there was great and Peyton had a blast climbing, sliding and playing. This is one of the many different slides they had.

After we left the park we had dinner and then decided since everyone was happy and doing well to visit the souq one last time before we headed back to the hotel for the night and we are so glad we did. The souq was so lively on Friday night and we loved experiencing the sounds, smells and just the excitement. 

We finally headed back to the hotel and got the kids asleep. Then while John and I were spending time talking on the balcony we witnessed an Omani wedding processional arriving at the hotel to drop of the bride and groom. It was so loud and such a neat thing to watch! We finally went to sleep and then headed out to the airport the next morning and back to Saudi. 

We loved our time in Oman and wish we could have been there for another two weeks. There was so much we wish we could have seen and look forward to going back someday!

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