Travel diaries – Oman. Part 1

Wow…Oman. Incredible. I am initially lost for words when i want to tell you all what a wonderful place it is!!

So, you might be asking why Oman?

Well, we initially wanted to go scuba diving in Egypt but changed our plans due to things being fairly unstable there right now. Then i was researching late one night ‘best scuba diving spots in the world’ and Oman came up! So that is that, and after a little more reading we booked our flights.

The flight from Zurich took a little over 6 hours, which for me is a piece of cake considering i have 24 hours ahead of me when i fly home to Australia!

We landed in the capital of Muscat and got a hire car for the next 10 days. To begin with we drove straight up into the mountains to an area called Jebel Akhdar where we spent 2 nights. Jebel Akhdar was very similar to that of the Grand Canyon in the USA. We did some hiking and got to explore some very small villages and even visit a rosewater plant (unfortunately they were not making any because its not the right season)

It was so nice that local people were so interested in us. It was quite obvious that they don’t see many western tourists there and were keen to come over for a chat.

From here we drove to Nizwa where we were reminded that we were definitely in the desert! It was 40 degrees in the city….we had been spoilt in the mountains where it was around 23 degrees both days.

In Nizwa we visited the Fort and also the Souq. The souq was extremely interesting. They had an area specifically for all fresh fruit and vegetables and then another area for small gifts and hand made pottery.

We didnt spend anymore time in Nizwa than to do these two things as we had to be in the desert for a night of camping….and it gets dark at 5.45pm so we had to fit a lot in to the day.

Unfortunately we got lost on our way to the desert camp and had to call to get them to pick us up. We had missed sunset and then had to follow the driver from the camp into the desert. It was approximately 20 minutes into the camp in thick sand. Our instructions were to accelerate constantly and don’t break when we hit a bump or hole. My boyfriend did amazingly well to get us there…especially since the driver was going very very fast!!

Arriving at the camp was pure bliss for me. Quite a stressful day after getting lost and also being 40 degrees. We were welcomed with our lovely tent and a cold beer! We then had a buffet dinner and had some live arabic music to keep us entertained. It was fantastic!!

The next morning we had organised with a driver to take us in a 4 x4 into the sand dunes. What an exciting experience….i havent been in a 4 x4 since i was a kid. So we had a fun few hours out in the sand, and got to see what it is like to live life as Bedouin.

I was quite interested in the Bedouin people and how life was for them. Our driver told us that they make their money from the camels they have and they race them. The racing camels are not allowed to roam around like ‘normal’ camels but must be kept in cages where they eat only honey. Honey gives them more strength to run faster instead of eating desert shrubs. A wining camel can earn the owner up to 100,000 swiss francs!

Bedouins also have electricity for air con and cable tv (quite amusing when you think they live in the middle of nowhere!)

Leaving the desert was really sad. I had such a wonderful but short stay.

Im going to leave it there, as there is so much more to tell about Oman…and part 2 will be up next week!

 

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What to do in the garden this month – October

This will be my last post for 2 weeks, as i am about to head off on holidays!! Of course i will be posting some photos when i return.

But for now…here is what to do in the garden this month!

Southern Hemisphere 

It is Spring! Now get outdoors and enjoy the warmth.

October is a great month to prepare your garden for the hot Summer ahead, because as soon as Summer arrives unfortunately the weather is too hot to be planting and adding new things to the garden. Summer is the time to sit back and enjoy all your hard work.

So, this time of year is a real treat for the senses with all sorts of scented flowers in full swing, from roses and michelias. Also look out for murraya, star jasmine and gardenias and in the cooler zones Lilacs.  October brings a sea of blue flowers with Agapanthus, Evolvulus, Convolvulus, Plumbago and Jacarandas.

WHAT TO DO 

Feed your plants. All that growing is making your garden hungry, so give it a boost with an organic fertiliser such as cow or chicken manure which breaks down slowly. Make sure not to buy fresh as the acidity will burn your garden. The bags from the nursery have been broken down enough that they can be directly applied to your garden.

If you have potted citrus trees give them extra tender loving care while they are coming into flower. Use a liquid citrus fertiliser.

WHAT TO PLANT

In Spring, you can almost plant anything. The weather is warmer, chances are frosts are fading. If you would like edible plants then see my story on growing tomatoes from August.

convolvulus-sabatius

Convolvulus has an abundance of gorgeous purple flowers!

 

Northern Hemisphere 

By October – the autumn is definitely here for real, and it feels colder. It’s a beautiful time of year, with the trees changing colour. Sometimes it may seem pointless raking, when the wind blows even more leaves onto the lawn, but just think of all the lovely leafmould you can make! It’s also time to start preparing for early frosts.

– Clear up fallen autumn leaves regularly

-Cut back perennials that have died down

– Divide herbaceous perennials and rhubarb crowns

– Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into the greenhouse

– Plant out spring cabbages

– Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts

– Prune climbing roses

– Order seeds for next year

– Last chance to mow lawns and trim hedges in mild areas

– Renovate old lawns or create new grass areas by laying turf

photo

Photo taken by myself on a recent walk