Encounters Of The Red Sea Kind

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Having spent the last 2 years working with no break, we decided it was high time for a bit of R'n'R! So we packed up a suit case and headed for Hurghada a lovely town situated on the Red Sea just a 4-hour drive from Luxor.

You can fly there but I find it more fun to take a car as the roads along the way are something special :)

We left Luxor at sunrise bleary-eyed with two very excited children in tow! As we made our way out of Luxor we saw the hot air balloons taking off from their launch site on the West Bank it is amazing how many balloons their are now I remember the days when we only had one or two!

As we headed down towards Qena it amazed me how much the landscape changed from the stretches of Lush green running along the River Nile to the desert wastelands that we found ourselves heading towards.

Mountains 10 miles outside of Luxor

We passed through the city of Qena, home to Dendara Temple and was stunded at the difference between Luxor and Qena.

Here the street seemed cleaner with roads just for the public cars. Once outside Qena we continued are journey on towards Hurghada.

Half way through our journey the landscape changed again with the mountains closing in around us the rock faces all jaggered with an almost menacing look about them it was like being in a different world completely with what I can only describe as desolate beauty.

The feeling as you travel through here is the sense that there is still so much to be discovered hidden in the mountainous rock that surrounds you as you drive through.

It amazed me to see the Bedouin people still living within these mountains people walking along the roads seemingly on the road to no ware! We passed a Bedouin woman carrying water on her head while leading her donkey, with her thick black clothing and a long head scarf made of the same material. I couldn't understand it as there I was sweating in a light cotton shirt and trousers in an air conditioned car, while outside it must have been 42c and she was dressed like it was winter!! I guess there is method in this madness.

What was just as amazing about her was when the wind got up you could make out the amazing colours of another dress beneath the black very different in deed from the woman of Luxor.

As we came out of the desert we sighted our first glims of the beautiful Red Sea in Safaga we knew then we only had 45 minutes before we reached our destination!

As we entered in to Hurghada you can see all round the amazing hotel complexes lining the beaches, it was only then we realized we had no idea where are hotel was or how to get there!!

After asking 6 taxi drivers and made 20 wrong turns the pyramid entrance of our hotel came in to view and at last our holiday (even if only for 4 days!) could begin.

Are hotel was the Sonesta Pharaohs Hotel 5* All Inclusive and from the onset it looking impressive.

Reception area of our hotel

Once we checked in we made our way to our chalet and as we walked wondered why they had golf carts taking people around it was only once we found are chalet that we realised why!

Ok I'm Lost!!

When we booked the hotel they describe them selves has having everything within walking distance which is true to a point. You have to not mind a 10 minute walk from the main building to your room bearing in mind that the main building houses all the restaurants and entertainment! The beach was another 5 minute walk from our room but if you where staying in the main building you would defiantly need the golf cart!

The pool area

Not to be deflated as lets face it we are still on holiday we quickly changed and headed to the beach.

One of the many things I love about Egypt is the Red Sea it is stunning and you don't have to go on the trips to see the wild life, all you need is a good pair of goggles!

Unfortunately to get in the Sea you needed to walk down a pier so the children couldn't go in the water by themselves, but we didn't mind as the sea was amazing with roped off coral areas that if you had your google you could see the amazing aquatic life swimming about.

In all the years I have lived in Egypt I have never caught the sun so decided on a low factor as didn't see the point in anything higher!

Never ever EVER underestimate the power of the Egyptian sun yes you have guessed it I was just a little sun burnt after only 2 hours in the sun!! Be warned all you sun worshipers out there if you are intending to come and stay on the Red Sea make sure you pack you factor 50!!!

Remember the SPF50 or you may look like this!!!!

Yes that is lotion to stop the burning!!

In the evening time we saw to my injuries!! and headed up to dinner. This was lovely plenty of choice for all. The house wine is not bad either and it is great that the children can go and help themselves. We didn't get to watch the show that night as after the travelling we decided on bed.

The next day we stayed half the day by the pool and the rest down on the beach. Now for an all inclusive hotel they sure do like to try and sell you something which started to get on my nerves.

There was no fresh juice unless you paid for it and in the afternoon went around with trays of ice cream for the children which when we said oh yes please ended up saying no thank you as it wasn't for free!

The cleaning staff did an amazing job and left this on our bed which of course Saffy found wonderful! ;)

The worst came that night, it was advertised Mexcian night and the cocktail of the evening was mohito I love them so thought we would have one after dinner. The barman told me to sit down and he would bring the drinks over, on their arrival the drinks looked nothing like what I ordered plus he put down the bill!!! it was at this point i spat the dummy! and called for the manager.

Please if any hotel owners are reading this remember if you are going to advertise all inclusive make sure your hotel is all inclusive as for the rest of our stay I was so stressed out I didn't know what to ask for and what not to just in case in cost something!!

The animation team worked very hard and my two loved the Micheal Jackson night they put on I can't remember to much as was taking red wine for medicinal purposes !

My two before the show!

On the last day we spent it by the sea me covered from head to toe to keep the sun off! with camera at the ready below are just some of the amazing bits of wild life that we found on our trip.

Butterfly fish

This guy followed us around for the whole holiday!

Until I went to Hurghada I never really appreciated the phrase swimming with the jellies! but these guys are every where it is a little disturbing at first as being taught from a young age that jelly fish sting I was amazed that these didn't I am sure they do have a sting but was touched by loads of them and came out fine!

The fish amazed me he/she was swimming close to surface of the water making it a great picture moment ! I have no idea what it is but it is beautiful.

We found lots of star fish to under the pier.

On our way home we came across a shopping mall with a proper supermarket!! I know amazing !! you have to live in Luxor to understand the importance of a real super market! lol

We stocked up on provisions and made our way home.

Even though our hotel choice was all wrong and they need to take it from a 5* to (at the most 4*) we had an amazing time in Hurghada and will be back again next time I going to go swimming with the dolphins!

It is so totally different from the hustle and bustle of Luxor all you have is the sea and sun you can go out if you wish or stay in your resort the choice is yours.

On our return journey home we watched the sun go down over the Theban Mountains making me appreciate how wonderful my home really is.

Lesley Hammam

Now in my 30's I have settled in Egypt with my husband & 2 children. Being married to an Egyptian for 15yrs is interesting enough but combining it with discovering the hidden Egypt life is never dull!!!

Website: www.alwaysegypt.com

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