HOW about travelling with family and sharing your best experiences, tips and recommendations through a website.
‘Of Trips and Tales’ is a travel website by a couple based in the UAE. Since 2010 the gang of four have been visiting the Sultanate to enjoy and explore the countryside. Oman for them is a ‘journey of exploration.’
“The site serves as a source of inspiration for families travelling with kids providing insightful information about travel news and itineraries,” says Veronica Smulders, a Peruvian communications professional who along with Joost, her Dutch hubby and finance expert makes it a point to travel with their kids Daniel (9) and Gabriel (5).
The website provides valuable tips on how to get involved in packing when travelling. The couple also shares their experience of how one can continue wanderlust adventures while travelling with kids.
“There is still much more to explore in the Sultanate, as each time we had been to different places. Rich in culture and nature, the country has so much to offer that it is the perfect getaway closer home. As soon as you cross the border, you are in an entirely different surrounding. Travelling with kid’s means all activities and itineraries are planned considering what we all enjoy as a family — both adults and children,” explains Smulders.
Together they have travelled to over 40 countries and several times to the Sultanate since 2010.
Smulders lists five things to do while in Oman with the family.
These are visits to Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve, The National Museum of Oman, Nizwa, Wadi Shab and souqs.
Quite impressed with Nizwa, the Smulders family took time to drive around the city and along the little original narrow alleys, market and ruins.
Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve in Sur is definitely on their list for a revisit as they had a ‘memorable experience’ even if they need to wake up at 4 am to see the turtles.
The kids leading the hike up to the mountain and the parents chasing them to reach the highest point at golden hour is a memory they treasure dearly.
For the guided night expedition, the kids made their best effort to keep silent as they watched with excitement the giant green turtles lay their eggs.
By a pre-planned visit to The National Museum of Oman they got an interactive introduction of the Sultanate.
“The museum captures all aspects of Oman’s history and culture, with interactive activities such as experiencing the sounds of traditional music instruments on a computer. Needless to say, the kids loved it,” say Smulders and Joost.
Their trip to Nizwa was a real trip back in time. They ventured to the Nizwa Fort, and had it almost exclusively for them as it was during Ramadhan. The Aladdin-like fortress kept them busy roaming through the corridors, narrow staircases and hidden passages.
“Whoever conceived the architectural concept of this military fortification, had certainly also an eye for photography as its design is brilliant,” says Joost.
They roamed around the city which was much of a delight, navigating the small streets in their 4x4 and taking turns for cars to pass through alleys from time to time. They also had a wonderful adventure to get acquainted with the locals.
The gang of four spent the day exploring the different ruins and the kids were quite amused.
“The souqs for them was no better place to capture the local spirit than at a market. They visited quite a few in the search for typical ornaments and ‘treasures’ as the kids call them.”
Daniel bought traditional sweets and enthusiastically attempted his best Arabic coffee at the Muttrah Souq, while Gabriel tried his best charm at the souq to wear a ‘kuma’, the traditional Omani cap.
They could not leave the country without going to wadis which is no better place than outdoors when travelling with kids.
“Imposing mountains adorned with palm trees welcomed them for a one-hour stroll in the dry bed river,” she recollects.
Initially sceptical of their endurance, the kids’ were quite impressed when they reached the end of the trek with young Gabriel cheering enthusiastically all the way and eagerly jumped into the natural pool to refresh himself. The common factor which drives them to keep coming back is the diversity of experiences it has to offer.
“It’s the kind of place where you will never do something twice as there is so much choice. Though they have not travelled since the lockdown they have planned to do staycations and local escapes for the coming months,” they chorus.