Wednesday, January 26, 2022 | Jumada al-akhirah 22, 1443 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Overwhelmed with hospitality

Australian couple Stefan Kussy and Julie share their experiences in the Sultanate and how they hope to come back once pandemic is gone

“Spectacular and wonderful,” says an Australian couple about the Sultanate after completing their week-long travels as they experienced the natural landscape, cultural aspects and people. Their most unique experience which encompassed sand, souqs, wadis was something more than what was anticipated.


Stefan Kussy and Julie immersed themselves in the culture, wonders and people of Oman during their visit in summer of 2019. “It was unexpected and unfamiliar while at the same time comfortable and safe,” says the couple from Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (ACT).


The diversity of the landscape astounded them all along. They began by chasing a pod of frolicking dolphins in the Sea of Oman and discovered the rich cultural heritage as they cruised along the coastline with its forts and historical sites.


Stefan is an experienced teacher, media producer, photographer and travel blogger while Julie worked as a clinical nurse consultant in Intensive Care in ACT and Victoria.


From the Sea of Oman the couple travelled down an ultra-modern highway to the desert sands camp at Rimal al Sharqiya. It came as no surprise as they were greeted with Omani coffee, Kahwa and delicious dates.


“The desert transformed and transfixed us,” says the couple. Whether it was the glow of dawn over the sand dunes or the contemplative moments being embraced by the quiet desert, they loved the tranquillity, peace and silence of the dunes.


After sea and the desert, they journeyed 2,090 metres to the grandeur of green mountains at Jabal al Akhdhar, the Grand Canyon, which reminded them of nature’s awesome power of the astounding geographic structures.


During their trail, they also got to taste delicious, organic and sustainable flavoursome food, from Jarjeer (Arugula) salad and chicken Kabuli to candied ginger.


Their trip took them to Nizwa Fort, Jabreen Castle, and scented rose oil from Saiq, falaj water system in Muscat, Wadi Bani Khalid, and date oasis of Birkat Al Mouz, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and others.


After their trip they realised that Oman is about its people. Regardless of different cultural attitudes and lifestyles, they bonded across countries and cultures, and shared information about one another’s beliefs and values. They celebrated their similarities and differences that provide them with a rich and diverse sense of living.


Stefan says that it was wonderful to hear stories about people’s customs and the modernisation of Oman while ensuring the nation’s traditions remained intact.


Despite being thousands of kilometres away from their homeland, they felt like being at home. This was symbolised by a unique and rare invitation from one of their desert guides to share lunch at his home.


“It was a truly humbling opportunity, and we were grateful,” he adds.


Overwhelmed by hospitality, Stefan says that it is a testament to the people of Oman, who welcomed and allowed them to leave footprints on their land and left them feeling centred within ourselves. Julie and Stefan (@eclecticstefan) have travelled extensively and enjoyed the diversity of people and cultures — including traditional food prepared locally in their travel destinations.


The couple hopes that they will eventually be able to leave more footsteps on the sands of Oman once the travel norms are further relaxed.


The unique travel journey to the Sultanate was shaped and delivered by Malik Niranga and Sandra Cahill from Miracle Travel and Tourism and Maria Slater from Maria Slater Travel who created the itinerary and made the magnificent trip come alive.


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