Salalah: Moving from Muscat which is sizzling above 40 degrees Celsius to Salalah is an awesome feeling. The temperature starts dipping long before as you drive to reach your dream destination. Even the vast expanse of desert is much cooler than the capital city. The drop in temperature is palpable once you reach Thumrait.
From afar you can see the Salalah mountains draped in thick black cloud cover. Mist covered roads and intermittent drizzle reduce the visibility to almost zero. It gives the feeling of night-time almost during the day. Credit goes to the motorists who drive their vehicles in this misty weather.
The moment you reach the checkpoint, heavy showers take over from the drizzle, wetting every inch of the ground.
Accustomed to seeing dull and dreary hills on the way, mist-covered mountains with a carpet of green are an odd experience. The turnaround from scanty and shrubby vegetation to dense and robust growth in ten hours appears nothing short of a miracle.
The date palms give way to coconut palms, banana orchards and a variety of other trees.
Travelling from Muscat where the temperatures often cross 45 degrees to a climate hovering under 25 degrees Celsius provides much-needed relief to a discerning eye.
But the biggest surprise in store is when you visit the Nabi Ayoub tomb on a hillock. The drizzle grazes your body, depositing almond sized drops on hair and threads of clothes without wetting them. It appears like winter, as if dew has been deposited on grass blades.
Moving from the green and serene mountain tops to Al Mughasyl beach is an awesome experience. After feeling totally at peace on the mountain top, the roar of giant sea waves crashing on the shore breaks the eerie silence. And the momentary piercing sound of the blow hole adds to the noise chaos on the coast.
Such is the hospitality of the place that even camels come calling midway every few kilometres to greet the revered guests. Dubbing the place as Switzerland of Oman is no exaggeration.
Home calling, most of the tourists leave this place with a heavy heart vouching to come again. [email protected]