At the beginning of this year Alex said to me ‘We need a holiday’. Now he wasn’t exactly wrong when he said that, our last holiday abroad (not visiting his parents in Ireland and a wedding in Cornwall exactly counting for much really) was to Egypt back in 2012 (I think. I’m trying to get the dates up on the blog but I’m not having much luck with the hotel WiFi. It’s not the best). That particular holiday for me was a dream come true, so when Alex suggested that we came back to Egypt (the price being a huge factor in our choices) I couldn’t exactly say no. There’s been a lot of stuff going on at home that’s made me not really want to blog lately, which is one of the reasons it’s been so quite here (I’m not going into details, no). This holiday was definitely a welcome break from the stuff at home and work… which sucks all my time like you wouldn’t believe.
Last time we came to Egypt we went to Sharm el Sheik, and it was such a great experience, but obviously with the global political crises, terrorism (the Russian plane MJ9268 was just 23 minutes into it’s flight out of the Sinai when it was downed in 2015) and no direct flights to Sharm we instead came to Hurghada. (We did look at coming here when we first came to Egypt but settled for Sharm as the more popular destination). The world is a totally different place now in those short 8 years… oh, how it’s changed. But enough of that, that’s put an early downer onto the blog! Time to talk about the holiday so far!
We arrived quite early at Gatwick on Monday. I think in the end we were 4 hours early for our fight – which to be honest suited me just fine as I get anxious (I don’t know why) about getting into the airport and then getting through luggage check – it doesn’t matter how many times I’ve weighed my suitcase at home and know it’s under I’m still convinced that the scales at the airport are going to weigh them wrong! Why is that? I also get anxious going through the security check as even though I know there’s not a single drop in liquid in my bag… what if there is? What if I am the person that is singled out for a check and they find something that doesn’t belong even though I know that it’s okay…. you can see why this is a problem for me. These sorts of things seem to have gotten worse as I’ve got older, not better which I thought that they would to be honest.
Whilst we were at Gatwick we picked up a few last minute things – like which idiot forgot to pack her hairbrush? Or the insulated water bottles? Or hair ties? Yeah. You got it. This idiot.
We choose to have a Nando’s before we left for one very simple reason: Alex struggles to find food that he likes… so for him it was a fair well England let’s have some chicken and chips before we go. (And so far, haven’t been wrong in that, he’s definitely struggled to find food his likes so has mostly been eating bread rolls/toast/chips when he can find them). We also bought a rugged little point and shoot camera that can go under water so that we could take some photo’s snorkelling.
Our hotel is really nice. I can’t say I understand the layout of the country/terrain but my understanding is that we aren’t in Hurghada itself, but a small distance away from it. Our room is lovely, and I think it’s even the same size, if not bigger, than our flat. We’ve gone all inclusive (although, we’re not actually sure what that entitles us too as for some reason we don’t get events and alcohol included… although I’m sure there must be some somewhere). I think it’s slightly warmer here than when we were in Sharm as it’s slightly later in the year by about a few weeks. When I wrote the blog before I think I did it every other day as there was an excursion day followed by a rest day, whereas this time the plan is maybe to write every couple of days as it’s mainly a rest holiday not an excursion holiday – we’ve booked three/four things and that’s going to be about it this time around.
So we arrived Monday, Tuesday was an induction about the hotel and the excursions on offer from the hotel/tour operator (we couldn’t find anything like Sharm Club like we did on the last holiday so have stuck to the tour operator). After the induction, and breakfast, we went for a walk around the hotel and found the beach. It’s lovely, but always a surprise when the sand isn’t…. sand. At least not in the same manner we’re used to at home. This stuff is hard and gritty, you don’t sink into it. And the sea (the Red Sea, incase you were wondering…) we it sort of goes on for ages at a really shallow depth then suddenly drops to about waist height, then drops again and is deep. We splashed around here for a little while before heading back to the beach and where we’d put our stuff. The plan was to relax there for a bit, but of course the bit I had tuned out of my memory – the hassling. Buy this service, have this product, have a massage, have beauty treatment etc etc. We were about to leave and a masseuse came over, and actually I had wanted to get a massage on this holiday so we played him hard and then got 2 massages each booked for the equivalent of £30 per session. You actually can’t get that in the UK. So we had that on Tuesday. Let me tell you: that massage was and ‘Egyptian massage’ and I kid you not the woman literally sat on my back…. but it felt better after. Her hands worked hard all over my body and it definitely felt floaty and nice afterwards. After that was done we went back to the roofer a bit before grabbing dinner.
Wednesday we literally chilled by the pool for most of the day. (And yes, don’t worry I’m being diligent with my sunscreen). I had finished my book the previous day ‘The Last Town’ by Blake Crouch (review to come on that at some point), and had started the book that is my holiday read. I have literally been saving this for a long time, partly because it’s a big book, but partly because it’s the second in a series and the first was my favourite book read for a long time a small while ago – ‘Children of Ruin’ by Adrian Tchaikovsky – and I don’t make enough time for reading at home just lately this would be the perfect time to delve back into this universe. (So far, no regret either!).
Today, Thursday, we did our first excursion. We did a dolphin swim and snorkel session in the Red Sea. This involved going around to hotels with a coach, picking up a bunch of people, going to the swim and dive centre and getting our flippers and snorkels and then going off in a boat. Overall the experience was really good. I definitely preferred the snorkel session over the dolphin one as the dolphin one you had to go out into the choppy bits of sea, evacuate the boat in a hurry and then get back in and go to the next place. Now, I’m definitely a better and stronger swimmer than I was but I got into the sea and panicked, then got back out again really quite quickly. I thought I was going to be able to manage it, but I didn’t. In hindsight, I should have taken a life jacket for this but I thought I was strong enough to not need one. Lesson learned should I want to do it again. Alex got into the ocean and then swallowed a load of salt water and was sick for most of the rest of the journey so he spent his time on the lower levels of the boat feeling ill and feeling a bit sorry for himself. He didn’t eat anything on the boat (lunch was provided) and perked up a bit afterwards to get into the sea for the second snorkel adventure. I took the point and shoot for this session so that I could get some photo’s mainly to show Alex what was down there as he wasn’t coming with me – I don’t know how good they are yet as I haven’t viewed them on the computer. I shot a little video down there too.
And that’s about it for the time being. Our next outing is on Sunday to the local market, and I think they said something about visiting a Mosque as well (I’d like to do this actually as I’ve never been to one so hopefully that is something that will happen).
Current things I don’t like: having to wash my hair every day (humidity, swimming etc etc), the weird smell of the reclaimed water they use for watering the grass at night time (they did this in Sharm too), the knowledge that Sharm is essentially an abandoned hub these days as the downing of the plane killed it, Alex putting my iPhone XS Max into the swimming pool because it’s waterproof and then bricking it for about 3 hours. It’s now working but Face ID and the front camera aren’t working properly.
Current things I love: relaxing, spending time with Alex ( despite the iPhone issue) and knowledge that I got back in the sea when I really didn’t want to so that I could complete the snorkelling adventure, disconnecting from the world except for a few short bursts every day and enjoying my well earned downtime.
Until next time folks,