Given a chance I would love to bring my inner wanderlust to the fore. There’s such a beautiful and colourful world out there that it would be a shame not to explore it, but then again, for me, travelling is not something I want to do just for the sake of it, or to add stamps to my passport. I want to visit places that have a story behind them, I want these places to beckon me and invite me to explore its underbelly and experience it in a way no one else can. I want to feel a connection with the places that I travel to so that when I come back, I return with a bagful of memories, souvenirs and a bond that lasts a lifetime.
If you’ve been around the blog long enough you’ll have noticed for sure that I am an out and out Daddy’s girl. And maybe that’s also the reason why some of the places that are on my bucket list for travel are those that have been in some way influenced by my father.
In the early 80s, this was even before I was born, my dad spent a couple of years in Muscat. He worked at the Ruwi Hotel here and whenever he spoke about those years, his eyes would always light up. He would always tell us about the fun times he had, the friends he made, the places he visited in Oman and the treasure trove of memories that he came back to share with us. Several times when he spoke of, what he called, ‘the good ol’ Muscat days’, I would always make a little wish – I wanted to go to this fascinating city with my dad. Somehow I knew that having him with me would be better that a guide book or maybe even one of those fancy travel apps that so many of us have become so dependent on! Unfortunately, I will have to now rely on either or both of these two.
Oman. First things first, I love the way the name of this country slides off my tongue, that in itself lends it an air of exotic adventure that’s waiting to be experienced. Well if I was going here, the first thing I would do is ensure I book myself that the hotel my dad spoke so much about. I know Oman is filled with lots of history and spots that bear a testament to its legacy, so visiting these are definitely on the to-do list. Being someone who loves the sea, which I find has a calming effect on me, I would then proceed to check out the beaches. Oman has a coastline that stretches across 3,165 km and going by the pictures there’s going to be a lot of beach-hopping on my itinerary. If I’m planning to be the ultimate beach bum then I’m also going to carry a good book along so that I can lounge by the white sands, soak up the sun and just breathe in the salty sea breeze. Ah, bliss!
|Absolutely gorgeous coastline
The wonders of nature have never ceased to amaze me and that’s why one of the things that will be on my itinerary would be visiting the Muscat GeoSites and looking in awe at nature’s creations. Of these, I’m particularly keen on seeing the Al Fahal island, the Concentric Fold and the Nodular Limestone. I know I’ll be on a photo-clicking spree here so carrying enough batteries for the camera is going to be on the top of my packing list!
I didn’t know that Oman had so many islands associated with it until I began reading up about the country sometime ago. The Al-Dimaniyat Islands Nature Reserve looks like a place that’s been blessed and there’s no way a trip to Oman is going to be complete without this. Another discovery that I made while reading up about this country is about an activity called Kitesurfing/Kiteboarding, this is an adventure activity that combines paragliding, wakeboarding, windsurfing and gymnastics – yes, it does sound like you need more than a bit of guts to do this, but if you haven’t experienced that heady adrenaline rush, you haven’t really lived, have you?
|A souk in Oman
And then, finally, if I’m going on a trip it would be terribly incomplete if I didn’t sample the local cuisine. So some of the things that I would definitely sample on my trip to this wonderful country are the mind-boggling and scrumptious varieties of kababs, a dish with roasted king fish and lemon rice called Mashuai, Maqbous which is a rice dish flavoured with saffron and cooked with spicy meat. I’m already drooling as I type this and I can picture myself washing this down with a steaming hot cup of Kahwa, Omani coffee flavoured with cardamom. There’s no way I’m coming back without some shopping either so I am definitely getting myself some ingredients from the local markets, some frankincence and myrrh to carry the aroma of a memorable trip back home, a replica of the khanjar (dagger), some silver jewellery which I absolutely adore and maybe even some Omani pottery.
|A delicious Omani meal that’s full of flavour
Now, that, would be one trip that’s going to easily be on my list of favourites!
One of the things that Oman definitely is, is that it is a land that’s a melting pot of colours, cuisines and cultures. As a tribute to this, I’m sharing the recipe for this colourful vegetable salad. This one is so simple to put together and extremely easy on the palate. If you have something like a creamy pasta or a clear soup on the table, this salad serves as a perfect accompaniment as it is full of vibrant hues and bursting with flavours.
Mix veggie salad
2 cups of purple cabbage, chopped
1/2 each of green, yellow and red bell peppers, deseeded and chopped
1 cup of lettuce leaves, torn
1 small cucumber, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup of carrots, grated or finely chopped
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup of broccoli, chopped and steamed
Place all these ingredients in a salad bowl and chill for half an hour.
Meanwhile mix the salad dressing together by combining
1 tsp of olive oil
1/2 tsp of balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp of tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp of mixed herbs, I used basil and thyme for this one
Salt to taste
Whisk all these ingredients together. Drizzle over the veggies, toss them around so that the veggies are coated with the dressing and serve immediately.
* You can use any combination of veggies, just make sure you have a minimum of three colours in the salad
* The veggies are chilled to retain their crispness. However you can add the tomatoes in the end so that the rest of the veggies don’t turn soggy
* Add some toasted watermelon or sunflower seeds to add a crunch to this salad