Liju Cherian –
FOR nature lovers, the Sultanate is a photographer’s delight. Tourists who visit Oman say it’s a friendly, diverse country. This is what forced Vitek Bolecek, from Czech Republic, undertake his trip.
Vitek had placed Oman on his wish list for long. As a recent visitor, he went back thoroughly impressed with the character of its citizens.
Wherever he and Jaromir, his photographer friend, travelled, the citizens commonly offered help and enquired with a Keif Halek (How are you?).
Some even invited them over lunch to their homes. This surprised them as it is not quite common or usual for foreign people to get invited for lunch in their own country.
“The local Omanis create a very good impression on visiting tourists and are polite and helpful,” he admits.
Vitek knew about Oman from geography lessons during his school days in Prague.
“I wanted to know more about the places that became the inspiration for One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales, compiled in Arabic during the Islamic Golden Age,” he mentions.
This was one of the reasons why he travelled to Sur, the home of Sindbad. “Friends who visited this country, earlier than us, were satisfied. Their narrative helped us to make a quicker decision to get to know more of this country.”
A graduate of Geography from the Faculty of Science, Palacky University in Olomouc, Vitek now works in Prague as a photographer and also partly as a model. His visit to the Sultanate helped him choose scenic locations for photo shoots and develop his portfolio.
With no guides, Vitek and his friend planned the entire travel route among themselves. They sourced information and tips from the Internet, social media, online sites on Ministry of Tourism, Experience Oman, Trip Advisor and Lonely Planet. After arriving at the airport, they rented a car, which they felt was one of the best ways to explore the Sultanate.
For Vitek, each location in Oman had its magic spell. For example, he felt it was impressive to stand on the edge of Jabal Shams, the Grand Canyon of Oman, or to feel the quietness in the middle of the desert dunes at Rimal Al Sharqiya.
For him it was very exciting and instructive at Ras Al Jinz Turtle Reserve on the easternmost spot of Oman. He considers himself lucky to witness newborn turtles, turtle eggs, and helped rescue a newborn turtle. “We carried her across through the beach, where seagulls and crabs lurked to the ocean and it was an amazing feeling!”
The Nizwa Fort offered them panoramic views and it was a great feeling. They also visited the port city of Sur in Al Sharqiyah Governorate and saw manufacturing of traditional dhows. At the end of their trip, they visited Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and enjoyed its contemporary Islamic architectural style.
For Vitek, the Sultanate was one great experience and a photogenic country.
The famous spots were full of tourists during winter season especially Nizwa Fort, Grand Canyon, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque compared for example with Bangkok or Prague, his home city. He had an absolutely good experience shooting the scenery and nature.
He says unlike Asian countries, there are not many advertisements on streets in Oman. This is an advantage for photographers as this does not interfere with the resulting photos. As a photographer, he loves to come back again and shoot more pictures and uses a Canon EOS 6D and iPhone 6s.
During 2019, he is scheduled to travel to Sri Lanka and Vietnam in the spring and probably Oman after that.
An animal lover, Vitek loves modern technology, theatre and concerts. He is active on social media and shares photographs of his work on his Instagram account @vitek.bolecek.