On a bicycle through Muscat

18 Apr

My late mother was a huge fan of cruises which resulted in me seeing a lot of places for a short period of time and not feeling the need to step onto a cruise ship in the foreseeable future. A couple of years ago we cruised around the United Arabic Emirates (UAE) so here it comes.

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One of the places the cruise ship stopped was Muscat, Oman and I really liked it there. It wasn’t as hectic as Dubai and the other places we visited before, instead it was rather small, smog-free and quiet. What also added to my positive attitude towards this city was the fact that I took a bike ride instead of the dreadful bus tours and it was one of the best things I did on any cruise ever.

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Due to Muscat not being that big and it being a city in the middle east we were only allowed to take a very specific route through the city. We weren’t even allowed to ride our bikes from the ship through the harbour, we had to put them on a truck while we rode a shuttle until we were out of the harbour. It actually wasn’t that big and it would have been no problem to let us ride through it on our way in and out but whatever. In comparison to all the other annoying security things I had to endure during visits in the near and middle east, this was one of the better encounters.

What up, Sultan?

What up, Sultan?

After getting out of the harbour we rode along empty streets, the coastline, saw old castles and even rode our bikes right in front of the Sultan’s Palace. Our group was even photographed by the royal photographer but I suspect that had other reasons than us being amazing and friendly tourists.

I hate it when tourists hijack my pictures. (Never mind that I am a tourist myself) How rude!

I hate it when tourists hijack my pictures. (Never mind that I am a tourist myself) How rude!

Riding a bike through the city was weird in a good way. The people are not used to seeing cyclists like they are in Germany or other countries, it’s just not that common there. So we were looked at with amusement and curiosity while everyone was also really friendly. This stuck with me, even after years, friendly people and what more is there to take away from visiting a foreign country?

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I saw incredibly blue skies and waters, rode a bike through the middle east and encountered lovely people. I was content.

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6 Responses to “On a bicycle through Muscat”

  1. returntothe80s July 11, 2013 at 19:07 #

    I was in the Navy sailing around the Persian Gulf during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm. We constantly went to Bahrain. It was nice to get off the ship, but after a while Bahrain was getting boring. But, we stayed in Dubai for 2 weeks in December of 1990. I loved it. I did have to work a lot, but I also got to get off the ship several times. I know the cityscape has changed dramatically, to say the very least, since I’ve been there. There was a mall there that I really liked. And a group of us wandered around in some obscure areas over there. We came across a Cricket game where the teams were playing for the championship. There was a huge trophy. None of us had ever seen a cricket game before, and we had fun watching them. They loved seeing us there too. They were smiling and waving to us. I have some great memories of that place. We had women on our ship, and a lot of places along the Gulf did not allow women to walk around unless they were all covered up, and wore a veil. So the only places we went were Bahrain, and that one long stay in Dubai.

    • WillieSun July 11, 2013 at 19:14 #

      I liked Bahrain a lot when I was there, much more than Dubai. Dubai was just too show-offy for me but I guess things changed a lot there since the 90s and also, I believe the experience is different if you’re a male or female traveller. Glad to hear you had a good time there though :)

      • returntothe80s July 11, 2013 at 19:23 #

        I don’t think I would like Dubai now. At least from pictures I’ve seen, I get the feeling that it is lacking character now. It seems kind of sterile with all the big buildings. I did love Bahrain. We just went there too many times. I wouldn’t mind checking it out now, and see what it looks like.

        • WillieSun July 11, 2013 at 19:24 #

          You can easily get sick of places of you go there too many times.

  2. viveka April 19, 2013 at 15:36 #

    Amazing … great photos – I don’t’ know anyone that has been in Muscat – all people I know go to Dubai. Very interesting read.

    • WillieSun April 19, 2013 at 15:37 #

      Yeah, Dubai is a big tourist attraction. I didn’t like it but that’s just me.

      Thanks :-)

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