October 23, 2016

Dear buddies

At then end of each trip I like to give you an overview of the practicalities of travelling to the country I've just visited. So this is a guide to Iran and Oman from my limited experience. 

It's obvious as you travel through Iran that th...

October 19, 2016

Ali's first words to us when he picked us up at 8am this morning were ‘ok, let’s go buy a goat’.  

Photos of the Sultan are everywhere in Oman - in hotel lobbies, on the street, in businesses. In most of them he is unsmiling, so I liked this one at Alila. As we drove to...

October 18, 2016

It was a very pretty dawn from our balcony at Alila this morning. Time to pack up to leave.

I had a grown-up looking Omani breakfast don't you think? We said goodbye to Alila and piled into Ali's car on our way to the grand canyon of Jabal Shams (Sun Mountain), also vis...

October 17, 2016

Junipers grow in Oman, but only up here on Jabal Akhdar.  This one must be very old. Hardy and evergreen but extremely slow growing, they can easily be cut out. They're threatened on the mountain, so there's a nature reserve near the hotel for them and also the wild ol...

October 16, 2016

We slept very well in our desert tent, dreaming of Lawrence of Arabia or breakfast, and were up early to take a few photographs before the sun was too high.

Overnight all footprints had been erased as if they'd never been there, and little rills had been reformed in the...

October 15, 2016

For more formal occasions Omanis put the turban on over the cap because it gives a regular shape. Our model was on the desk of the Al Bustan Palace this morning - it's standard dress for staff at the hotel.

But it's not easy to do.  He said he waits each...

October 14, 2016


Here we are in Oman. What a change in climate! It's the same temperature as Iran, but we've gone from zip humidity in the desert, to 90% humidity on the ocean. It's so hot and sticky that when we walk out of a building our glasses fog up and so do our camera le...

October 13, 2016

The excitement  today on the way to Kashan was to be seeing a nuclear plant. Habib has been saying for days that we are going to see one, and we must NOT take a photo or the bus will be stopped, our cameras will be inspected, we will be held for days, and the seriousne...

October 12, 2016

Today was a two palace day! First the Chehel Sotoun Palace. Shah Abbas II was the seventh Safavid Shah of Iran, ruling from 1642 to 1666. He finished the pavilion in 1647 basing the design on the Achaemenid idea of a porch with columns to bridge the gap between garden...

October 11, 2016

Must tell you a funny Persian saying that our guide Ali told us yesterday:

'Cash vinegar is better than credit halva.'  True in any language, but it gives it a funny local twist...

Warm pancakes with lemon syrup and thick cream this morning for breakfast. Then I wa...

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"I never travel without my diary.  

One should always have something

sensational to read on the train."  

                                - OSCAR WILDE

shelley dark 

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