Tag Archives: Hiking

Are all oases this stunning?

We got lost.  Not once, not twice, but multiple times on our quest to get to experience an oasis for the first time.  Our family who lives in Oman had told us this was a must do on our trip.  Magazines, newspapers, and travel bloggers concurred.  However, Wadi Bani Khalid seemed to be playing a game of cat and mouse with us.  Each person who we stopped to ask for directions, appeared to send us on yet another path.  We saw multiple signs and yet the target proved elusive.  I could not be more grateful to our relative who patiently persisted and finally got us to this absolutely breathtaking location situated about 200 kilometers away from Muscat.

So, call me naive, but when I heard the word “oasis”, I was envisioning a bunch of palm trees surrounding a body of water.  That’s what I had read in books and seen in paintings.  But what I saw is really hard to put into words.

Nestled among the magnificent Eastern Hajar mountains, with majestic rock formations and boulders, Wadi Bani Khalid has the clearest, most gorgeous oasis where at any given time, the water appears to cover the entire spectrum of green and blue hues.  It is not an easy hike to traverse the wadi, your leg muscles get a workout for sure, but what you end up seeing and absorbing will stay with you for a lifetime.  We saw tourists come, spend just a tad bit of time, take pictures and leave.  Please don’t do that.  Plan to spend a half a day, hiking the area, swimming and just sitting back, enjoying a nice lunch al fresco before heading back to city life.  I’ve tried to capture our adventure in pictures below.

Since we had family living in Oman, we chose to drive here from Muscat.  You could rent a car and drive out on your own or take one of the tours offered by the many local tour companies.  The only risk, as we discovered with driving, is that the mountains interfere with the GPS signal and you need to allocate plenty of time to get here.

If you choose to take a tour, here’s a link to one from Viator:

Visit Wadi Bani Khalid

 

Climbing Skirrid Fawr in Abergavenny – A photo essay on the beauty that greets you

By Lakshmi:

On my last birthday, I wanted to hike up the other mountain that we saw every time we walked about town in Abergavenny – Skirrid Fawr.  According to legend, part of the mountain is said to have been broken off at the moment of the crucifixion of Jesus.  So, early on my birthday, armed with a couple of water bottles, we parked our car at the bottom of the mountain and began our climb.  There were just a handful of cars in the parking lot and throughout our hike, we just saw a few hikers ascending or descending the summit.

The hike is neither easy nor difficult.  But there are definitely a lot of steep inclines and steps along the way.  So, be prepared to take your time and rest up along the way if you need to.  We simply followed the signs to the top.  The information from National Trust on How to climb Skirrid Fawr provides a good how-to as well.

And here is a photo essay of our climb!

 

 

 

Kicking Off A Summer Break In Pembroke, Wales – Enroute to Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland

By Lakshmi:

A few months back, my husband excitedly passed on a suggestion from a colleague – Why don’t you consider taking a ferry from Pembroke to Ireland?  As we mentioned about a year ago, we fell in love with the Pembrokeshire coast.  http://aglobalaffair.com/2013/07/29/the-ny-times-a-physician-and-christian-bale-all-point-to-pembrokeshire-wales/

An excuse to return and take a journey from there required no convincing.  Soon, our plans were laid.  It would entail

  • Driving from our home in Abergavenny to Pembroke
  • Visiting St. Davids Head and spending the night
  • Taking a Ferry from Pembroke to Ireland
  • Spending time in Dublin
  • Spending time in Belfast
  • Taking a ferry from Belfast to Scotland
  • Spending time in Edinburgh
  • Driving home to Abergavenny from Edinburgh

This time, we were excited to be able to spend a night in Pembrokeshire and picked “One of ten hotels with the world’s best views” – Warpool Court Hotel http://www.warpoolcourthotel.com/.  This was one of those rare promises which was even better in person.  As we approached the private driveway and walked across the on site restaurant, we were immediately met with the most beautifully landscaped gardens with a spectacular view of the sea.  Our room located on the top floor faced the garden and had the charm of a beautiful bed and breakfast.  With a car show in town, we spent time gazing lovingly at the many vintage cars that dotted the driveway.

We spent our day walking through town, pausing at many a small shop, eating a bite at local places and of course doing one of our absolute favorite walks on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – from  Whitesands Beach to St. David’s head.

Take a look at these pictures and you will agree that this is one of those precious spots that always holds a special place in your heart!

In our next posts, we will take you along the rest of the journey, starting with our very interesting ferry ride from Fishguard.