My week at the Bay

The Alps from the Plane

My love for travelling has taken me to destinations like China, Turkey, Tunisia, Spain and Cyprus and my recent absence from the blogging world is because of my latest adventure to the less desirable holiday destination of Egypt.

Egypt has been getting a lot of stick in today’s press but when it comes to November sun there aren’t many locations to choose from. My mother was eager for a break from work and as a close knit family my sister and I just couldn’t refuse the invite. After careful TripAdvisor research we choose Makadi Bay as a peaceful beach getaway paradise.
Honestly, I had no idea what to expect from Egypt, I know there are troubles all around the world and how can we live without taking risks so we booked a weeks stay at Fort Arabesque Hotel which I cannot fault, but more about that later.
Living down at the tip of the UK in Cornwall means a lot of travelling, just getting to the airport in London was a 6 hour drive. Don’t get me wrong I love a good road trip but you can only take so much McDonald’s and biscuits in the car. We stayed overnight at Holiday Inn to prepare for our early morning flight, I was already missing my other half who couldn’t make it on this adventure, thank god for Facetime.
Egypt isn’t the shortest flight at 6 hours but I’ve had longer. I avoided coffee all morning to prevent my anxiety reaching a high but despite this suffered a wee anxiety attack on the plane. Dealing with my anxiety is do-able, however when you are enclosed in a small space, experiencing a lot of turbulence (thanks English weather) it becomes undo-able. 20 minutes later the embarrassment kicked in but we landed safely in Hurghada, Egypt at 4pm. The excitement of feeling the heat take over once the plane door opened was overwhelming and compared to the 6 degrees we left behind 26 was lush!
The pool bar at the hotel
The hotel was gorgeous and the Bay itself was a blue paradise in a midst of dusty dessert. My sister Hanna and I shared a room, we had our own front garden and huge walk in shower.
Once we woke up feeling refreshed it was time to explore, I had a stack of pancakes smothered in chocolate sauce, which after all the insanity workouts I did in prep for the holiday I think I deserved.
The hotel had many pools, one of which had its own bar peeking out of the water and seats under the surface. The private beach was our first stop and after hearing we were expecting 30 degrees later in the afternoon I couldn’t wait to lounge about on the sunbed doing nothing. I bought the Divergent series of books to keep me occupied whilst lounging and I know I’m very late on the bandwagon but my pride and commitment to Hunger Games kept me away. However I could not tear my eyes away, there was always something going on and even though I had already watched the film it was really gripping!
One trip on the bucket list for us was to visit Luxor, home of Valley of the Kings. It was a long and bumpy 4 hour bus ride to the tombs with not much out the window but dessert and sand. One stop we made showed us the real Egypt and many children were homeless and begging the tourists for food, they rode on donkeys and carried goats, their only livelihood. It was upsetting to see but really makes you think about how much we really have and was a wake up call.
Luxor itself was in the valleys of the blinding dessert heat, our guide was really knowledgeable and told us all about the kings and queens that were buried there. We ventured down the tombs which were carved meters into the rock through intricate passages, all done by hand with just a chisel and hammer. We weren’t aloud to take photos as the heliographics may fade. We visited 3 king’s tombs and they constantly amazed me, to think they did everything by hand made me think we have taken a step backwards and become lazy. The stories of the afterlife were carved in symbols reaching from the floor to the ceiling, the Egyptians believed if the King had been good they would pass judgement and their heart would be lighter than a feather meaning they could go to the afterlife. They traveled to the afterlife by a boat in the sky and had to fight many obstacles on the way, they certainly were creative!
We also visited a temple created for a powerful Queen who ruled for 20 years with no war, longer than any man (hmm, has anything changed?)
Boat Ride on the Nile
The crocodile at lunch
A beautiful boat ride up the river Nile opened my eyes to how tropical it looked, it was blue not murky and brown like I pictured it. We had lunch by the Nile but the restaurant had caged animals like wolves and foxes which was shocking to see. I asked our guide if Egyptians liked animals and cats, of course they were famed for worshiping cats and we definitely treat our cat at home like royalty. I wasn’t all that surprised to hear that they don’t respect them at all so my family and I fed the local cats our meat from lunch, call us soft but they needed it much more than us.
The huge Karnak temple

To finish off the day we drove to the Karnak Temple which was huge in scale and the Nile used to flow past the doors where the people would enter. The Egyptians go big or go home! There were statues of kings and their many wives and an offering table that the public would leave gifts on.

The days after were getting hotter and hotter, its hard to fathom that they have this heat all year round, it is a luxury to us but they struggle. One of the staff told us she was working at the hotel for a year but she is originally from Switzerland and missed the different seasons.

Our next trip to celebrate my mother’s birthday was on a glass bottom boat, it was a small boat big enough for only 8 people, we went miles out to see all anticipating what we would see under the glass and after minutes of darkness the tropical red sea appeared below us, the water was so clear and coral caverns were what felt like centimeters below the glass. Lots of sting rays buried under the sand and tropical fish of multi colours swam around the boat without a care. The coral itself was very muted with the odd pop off pinks and purples.

We carried on out to sea stopping at the odd patch of coral until we reached a shallow area, my mother’s partner is a keen diver and persuaded us to all go snorkeling to see the reefs but it only worked on me. I was very nervous as we were miles into the ocean but the water was so shallow and I was too curious. I put on my flippers and mask and not so gracefully fell into the water, my main worry was inhaling water through the mask so I bit down as hard a I could and started to swim.

So Graceful

The diver from the boat took me around the entire reef, we were instructed not to touch the fish or coral but he showed me plants that I could touch, they felt like rubber and sponges. Lots of fish were feeding off the coral not even noticing us, it was like a different planet with brain looking plants covering the seafloor. After getting very tired I swam back to the boat, my panicked mother and sister awaiting me.

It’s amazing that we have explored outer-space more than our oceans and they are truly beautiful.

Though miles out at sea the water only reached my waist

Although I missed Nick tremendously my mother, sister and I have always stuck together like 3 musketeers, my adventures with them will always stick with me.

So I’m back to reality, 5 degree weather and best of all CHRISTMAS!

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