PHOTOS BY LENA PETERSEN
The stunning authentic and organic nature of the Misfat Al Abriyeen tourist experience is what sets it apart from so many other tourist destinations in the Sultanate is in the throes of significant regeneration, and one young local man offers a significant point of difference with his Alstromeria Café a standout, given its location and amazing views from the top of the town, so to speak.
The Alstromeria is the beautifully scented Peruvian Lily, otherwise known as the ‘Lily of the Incas,’ and is that which inspired Emily Dickinson as she wrote, “Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul And sings the tune without the words And never stops at all.” In such beauty and hope, youthful Al Hamra Mathematics teacher Yussuf Suliman Abdullah Al Abri, married to
‘Um Asalah,’ and with children Asalah, 12; Sulaiman, 7; and Abdullah, 3; set out to create something different for his home region, yet complementary to its unique geographic location and tourist potential, because, as he said, “The market asked me to.”
Misfat Al Abriyeen has been quietly growing, more as a ‘staycation’ type of destination for Omani families, for expatriate residents as a truly Omani experience, for other GCC citizens and residents, and of course, tourist groups from overseas.
Currently however, there is a noticeable amount of construction, reconstruction, and refurbishment taking place as the town seeks to build on its increasing tourist profile, given a genuine boost by the Oman by UTMB Ultra Race last year, which was unfortunately cancelled due to Covid-19 this year. However, this may yet prove to be a godsend, as the town should be ready for the big event next November.
Al Abri originally established a café under his brand in Al Hamra, just a few short kilometers away, on the Jebel Shams Road, however, like everyone else who visits Misfat Al Abriyeen, he was captivated by the view that took in the farms, the old township, and the mountainous backdrops, finding the fresh air exhilarating, the quietness relaxing, and decided he could do something in the way of investing in ‘his’ region, and growing his business.
Alstromeria Café now occupies a prime aspect adjacent to the tourist vehicle carpark for the ‘old town,’ and offers Italian coffees, ‘to die for,’ an amazing variety of taste-tempting cakes and pastries, and so much more.
During the weekends especially, Al Abri noted the foot traffic is significant, and has great faith in both the old town and the potential of his café.
“We want to offer ‘different’ taste experiences to locals, ‘a ‘taste of home’ to tourists and expatriates, and somewhere to relax and enjoy the view. The way we see it,” he said, “they will come, see the museums, farms and enjoy the local sights and sounds, and then before their departure, enjoy the Alstromeria experience, something that, day or night, from this amazing setting, anyone can enjoy an aromatic coffee, a refreshing gelato, a savory snack, a tempting sweet, and some contemplation, even meditation. It is that kind of setting.”
Misfat Al Abriyeen then is changing to embrace the possibilities tourism offers, as a ‘niche’ destination it offers unique insights into the Omani culture, wonderful, enlightening farm walks, museums, displays, and more.
Even, excitingly, a ‘zipline’ is proposed for a unique adventure tourist activity. Who knows what else lies ahead for this wonderful little corner of the Sultanate, with the Alstromeria Café a little bit of Europe, amid an iconic Omani experience?