My absolute favourite blogs to write are travel blogs – maybe because I kept one going for so long and it reminds me of my gap year (if you haven’t seen that blog, it’s still archived over on http://amytravels.wordpress.com). This holiday was much more of the ‘relax’ variety rather than the ‘adventure’ one, and ended up being the perfect antidote to the freezing cold winter weather we’ve been having in the UK right now. It also had the added benefit of kickstarting my writing routine and I wrote well over 12,000 words – clearly I need the occasional week in the sun to keep me productive!
We stayed at the Hilton Waterfalls all-inclusive in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, getting a great last-minute deal. Luckily Lofty had researched the hotels pretty thoroughly so we knew we’d be getting a decent place to stay. We both fell in love with Egypt on our trip there last year (check the Egypt tag for more trip reports) and the combination of decent price with guaranteed sunshine made it a good bet!
The hotel was lovely – but even better, it had its own funicular! So when we got a bit tired of all the walking… we could just hop in the glass elevator.
Both L & I are keen divers (we did our Advanced PADIs in Dahab last year), so our first port of call was the diving school at the hotel. Unfortunately they were asking ludicrous amounts (clearly Hilton Hotel Guest prices) for four dives, and we left feeling very disappointed. We weren’t about to drop around £200 each for four dives when we’d expected to pay less than half that. Luckily, our holiday rep used a different dive company, which was much more reasonable. We went out to the local reef for our refresher dives, which was pretty interesting in itself, but then the next day ventured out to Tiran Island, which had some pretty amazing coral gardens. We saw lots of blue-spotted stingrays, lionfish, napoleon wrasse, grouper, Nemos and brightly coloured coral. The only downside was that it was very busy on the reef – lots of boats, lots of divers, lots of snorkelers. I know it is Easter hols, but Egypt is hardly at the height of tourism at the moment… so I can’t imagine what it would be like when it was really packed!
One of the things we loved most about Dahab was the relaxed vibe – just chilling out on cushions under fairy lights… and I was worried that we wouldn’t really feel that in Sharm el Sheikh. And while it’s true that it was definitely much more of a Tourist (capital T) destination – filled with Brits, but mostly Russians! – our hotel had one little spot on the roof which fulfilled our bohemian traveller dreams – Shish Bish, a little shisha bar out under the stars. Suffice to say that most evenings were spent with some mint tea and a shisha pipe and a brightly coloured blanket to ward away the pesky mosquitos! It was a very relaxing way to end our days.
We didn’t spend every night cooped up in our hotel though, and we ventured out into Old Sharm to dine on some delicious seafood. We’d had a recommendation from a French family to head to Fares – which was definitely a good call. For around £20 for the two of us, we gorged on seafood soup, lobster, crab, grouper, calamari, shrimp… the works. It was delish! We then wandered around the market for a bit, stopping at El Mawardy – a cafe which had been recommended to us by our waiter at Fares. The owner was lovely, even if I was the only woman in the entire place… naturally they positioned us out front, probably to try to attract more tourists! That being said, pretty much every Egyptian I met assumed that I was Egyptian… but then no one can EVER guess my background so I can’t really blame them. (Spot the odd one out in the picture below…)
Ultimately though, the trip was an opportunity for me to get some writing done, which I thankfully managed to squeeze in between the sunbathing and the eating and the swimming and the diving and the shisha… but before you all think I had TOO much of a good time, I did end the trip with a not-so-pleasant case of Egypt Belly. And we were so good with the bottled water!
We’re back home now, and there’s been lots of exciting writing stuff happening, but that’s a blog for another time! Bye Egypt, I’m sure we’ll see you again soon…