OMAN is heaven on earth where tolerance and respect abounds says Mirella Sidro, a German journalist and scholar of Bosnian origin. She visited the Sultanate twice and is in love with the place going nostalgic. “I get positive energy and my soul finds the silence that it needs in this stressed world. I am deeply impressed with nature, history and culture of the Sultanate which combines old traditions with modernity,” says the journalist who now is learning Arabic.
She is doing her doctorate from Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich on how old Egyptian wisdom and religion can influence Bosnian culture.
This Balkan blogger first visited Oman in January 2014 and travelled for six days and was back again in April 2017 staying for 16 days. “It was with a heavy heart that I flew out of the country as I loved exploring and researching about Oman as a beautiful travel destination,” she recollects.
Guided by an Omani family who helped answer her queries about Omani culture and tradition, she developed a deep bond with the family. Mirella published her feature about Oman in a Swiss luxury travel magazine and a German glamour online portal. She loves Omani luban, frankincense, abayas, dishdashas and Bedouin style glamping in deserts.
“The cities in Oman are clean and in the markets there is no stress and people are treated with respect. When I compared my visit to the major souq in Khan el Khalili in Cairo, it is totally different here!”
She recollects an unforgettable experience of her stay at Rimal al Sharqiya amidst beautiful tents and camel desert rides. “It was such a great experience as I was able to see the full moon on the wide horizon and the sun on the right.” Whenever Mirella is gloomy she recollects nature of her visit to Bimmah Sinkhole and Wadi Shab which helps her to reconnect and everything looks good again.
Mirella enjoyed desert views of the sunrise and romanced with the camels staying at the luxury tents of Canvas Club. She was impressed by the silence and beauty of the Club, founded by Philip Eichkorn and Stefan Ullsperger in 2015, which provides global travellers with a unique off-the-beaten path travel experience in the Middle-East.
Two desert mice ran around her and the feeling was like moving to another world. At dawn, her Omani friend woke her up and brought her to the high dunes. She recollects climbing the surprisingly cold sand and staring down at the sun and sitting there until it got warm. “The whole camp was still sleeping, it was so silent and I didn’t even think about my mobile for a day,” she recollects.
At the Al Jabal Al Akhdhar she visited Abdullah, a rose farmer and learnt about making rose water and its antiseptic and healing properties. She loved the sweet fragrance of the Damask roses and the calming effect it had on her.
As a child, she travelled with her sister and parents visiting natural locations, cultural heritages and museums. During the holidays they spent the weeks in former Yugoslavia where they explored the beaches and hiked with Mohammed, her uncle, in Sarajevo, who was the director of Alpine Club. These visits had enormous influence on her life which her parents later supported in nurturing it up.
She grew up in Germany with her sister and went on numerous nature trips with her parents. She compares the Yugoslavian nature to Oman, so pristine which impressed her a lot. “You feel small as human beings in front of nature. We are a part of it and as humans are nothing special. It is our duty to treat the nature well or we will suffer with the planet.”
She remembers her visit to a south Egyptian village meeting an old wise man or visiting a typical Nubian house in Aswan. “It is the love of the people that touches you and I am thankful for every meeting in my life. The Nubian house belonged to a guardian of historical sites who invited us for Egyptian tea with his family.”
As a kid she used to watch pictures in the history books with Asim, her father. He had a book about history of human beings with the cover of the golden mask of
Pharaoh Tutankhamun which she preserves till today.
Mirella prefers to stay her entire life as a scholar due to her hunger to learn more. She completed college studying Egyptology in Munich, as she was unable to study medicine in Sarajevo due to Bosnian war. She loved to read the hieroglyphs and choose Coptology which relates to learning about old Christian religion and in 2001 completed her Master of Arts.
A fan of organic and regional food, Mirella practices yoga and meditation daily, with interests in Sufism. Her ambition in life is learning and trying to make the world a better place through her writing and travelling.
(Pictures by Safak Yavuzlar)