9.29.2015

Egypt.


 

I’ve wanted to go to Egypt for years. For a start I love going to new country's, my inner Geography nerd child with a map still wants to put a sticker on a new place. Its fantastic year round weather and lets face it, the pretty awesome deals usually about, make it very appealing too. I’m not going to beat about the bush though I’ve heard and read some horror story's so I had my own serious reservations which have managed to make us pick other holiday destinations...Until now.

We weren’t even going to have a holiday this year mostly due the husbands hectic work schedule but at the last minute he was able to squeeze out the end week in August. We had 6 days of madly looking around but found last minute in the School Holidays that there was literally nothing about or £7k for a week. Eventually we saw a deal for the Holiday Village Sharm and we had such an amazing time last year at the Holiday Village Tenerife SEE HERE we decided to just go for it. Typically when we went to book it the holiday had gone! I was totally deflated having geared up and naturally poured over Tripadvisor for hours...it’s almost a hobby I swear. After years of booking ourselves on line (just habit to accommodate my tripadvisor hobby) the husband said lets nip into the Travel agents they might know something we don’t.

About 30mins later we were sitting with the very helpful Sarah at Dawson and Sanderson and while to be fair she didn’t magically have tonnes of options either she told us about a completely different part of Egypt, I had never heard of but was just as popular as Sharm called Hurghada. They have just started flying directly from Newcastle, same flight time as Sharm (5hrs) but kind of like going to Majorca instead of Ibiza. A quick look at the hotels and it was this or nothing, even Centre Parcs Self Catering for 3 nights was nearly the same price for a week All Inclusive here with guaranteed sunshine. So that was it and I meant last minute, we ended up booking on the Sunday morning and going that Tuesday.

Bottom Middle to Top Left, big difference.



Now what did we think? We LOVED it, seriously. Of course it is different from the ‘UK with Sun’ resorts popular around Europe. You won’t find a Chippy showing Coronation street here but we prefer that anyway. I've listed our 3 initial concerns below, but as you will see we didn't need to be worried at all but I've already been asked several times about each one since we got home so here is the chat.

Worry 1 - Lost in Translation

If you don’t know Egypt is a Muslim country and part of Africa, while I have absolutely no problem with any religion, since the kids though, we haven’t been anywhere without a Euro never mind a completely different country, culture, religion, language and continent for that matter.  We would always respect the values of a country but I was concerned about just HOW different it might be and predicated 45C temps....we burn like marshmallows on a BBQ.

*Although it is clearly a Muslim country with a few noticeable influences, they didn't impact our holiday at all. Like the shower head next to every toilet...I'm not going to explain what this is for, you can guess but the kids thought it was brilliant and it was good to teach them about other cultures. I had heard that ladies have to wear a head scarf in some places but I didn't see any of that and wasn't asked to at all either. Everyone was so welcoming especially with the children, we didn't leave Makadi Bay area though so for us anyway it was like being on holiday anywhere else.

2. Safe as houses

Egypt's troubles sadly with terrorism are no secret and broadly covered in the media. One of the husbands good friends was staying in the hotel in Sharm el Shek 10yrs ago where a car bomb was driven into the lobby, it exploded and killed 45 people. Also days before we travelled, there was another bomb attack in the capital Cairo which is about 3hr plane ride and sadly there will be more to come in future so I'm not going to lie it was on our mind.

*From the minute we landed though we felt SO safe. There are tonnes of security, a few guarded stop points in and out of the airport and the same for the resort as well but not in an over powering way. It is clear they are being really vigilant and careful. As the husband pointed out though the worse terrorist attack in the world happened in NYC and everyone is still desperate to go there. Also for these guys tourism is their livelihood they definitely don't want any trouble or bad press that could effect that. So they are really on top of their game to make it be and feel as safe as possible.

3. Tums the word.

I’ve had friends report tummy troubles from Delly Belly to Salmonella, in fact even friends who love and return to Egypt are quite nonchalant about it. Like it’s almost a given but “The pharmacy have the most amazing stuff and your’e fine after a day”... I am almost phobic about being sick for one but now I have kids I would feel beyond guilty if they got ill from us choosing a more exotic destination; so my OCD for germs was going a bit mad.

*All 4 of us didn't have as much as heart burn the whole week! I have to say we were really careful with hand gel, even the kids got into the habit of not touching their food before we did a family spritz. We also stuck to bottled water only, it was everywhere for free in our hotel so we didn't even use the water coolers. We were at an All inclusive resort therefore most the food was buffet style so we just kept an eye out for anything that didn't look fresh or wasn't really cooked. The food was all fantastic though and me and the husband kind of just went for it from the first meal with an attitude of if we were going to get it we would get so dig in. All the things people warn against, Fresh fruit and Salad (allegedly because its washed in their tap water), Ice in our drinks, Seafood, even the kids had calamari and prawns on the BBQ night...Jeans were noticeably tighter on the way home so maybe a bit would have nice he he.

Sampling too much of the lush 'Dukka' bread and tea
with OSCAR honey...boys loved that.

  

I'm going to write about our actual holiday and hotel in part 2 but in conclusion for now, we really couldn't recommend Egypt more and definitely will return. Here is a few tips though.

TIPS



* Visa - Be sure to include £20 per person into any holiday to Egypt, this pays for your visa upon landing at customs. We were warned and had £80 ready in cash so make sure you do the same.

*Money - I was warned by several people NOT to take or exchange for Egyptian money, just take British Pounds. 1. The main reason is the money is really dirty, I didn't know what people meant until we got there...Literally looks like its been through someone ha ha. App No1 way to get Delly Belly by handling the money 2. Its easy to get confused with the exchange rate and get conned, for example their £50 note looks almost identical to their £10; we heard of a few people getting short changed. 3. The people prefer it and they particularly love £1 as tips because they get a good exchange on it at the hotel. We normally wouldn't take a lot of cash on holiday and as we were All inclusive wouldn't need much but we took a £300, £80 of that for visas and about £100 of it in pound coins. Its not like you wouldn't get good service without tips but we felt you got really looked after which is great for us having two little boys, to have someone say reserving a good table in the shade at Lunch so we weren't hunting round, or bring your drinks over before being even asked. Anyone with children knows you have that much on your mind its nice to have some help so for us the odd £1 was worth it, I will leave it to you to decide though.

*Tummy Troubles - As I said take some Anti Bac gels for your bag, we did it before every meal and the kids throughout the day the things they touch. Stick to Bottle Water. Don't touch the Egyptian money (see above) or religiously use Anti bac gel after, everyone we got chatting to that had been ill, had been using the Egyptian money. I don't know if this helped at all but I had some Acidophilus tablets in the cupboard from a bad throat infection I couldn't shake a few months ago. Apparently the "Good bacteria" is great to help prevent tummy troubles too. So 2 days before and everyday of the holiday me and the husband took one pill, the kids couldn't and also 
didn't get ill BUT there diet is much more bland/less risky than us (Toast much?) and they didn't have ice in their drinks either so maybe it helped us. All of this or I might sound crackers so feel free to ignore me but we are some of the few people I know who haven't got ill at all in Egypt.

*Booze - The rules are varied but there are restrictions on Alcohol because it is a Muslim Country. Our hotel was All Inclusive on drinks around the hotel but we wanted to buy some drinks for the room to sit on the balcony with after the kids went to bed, however after the husband made the mistake of buying a few bottles of  lager and realising they were 0% ...stop laughing, so we discovered you cant buy alcohol at the shops. You can order it at a premium £25 for a bottle of cheap wine so if you're bothered I would recommend buying some on the plane or at the airport and there was a shop just where you collect your luggage a Hurghada anyway.

Hot hot. Take everything you would need for a visit to the sun! Sounds stupid but we took all the kids stuff then ended up buying hats for us and a mini fan. It was boiling all day every day, no need for even a hoodie at night. For the first time ever I begrudged putting on a t shirt for lunch it is so warm. #lush Our complex sprays for bugs every day but I've heard the mosi's can be bad here so take your sprays etc for that too.  

*Allergies - Just for anyone else with this problem, Our youngest has an allergy to cows milk, so all I did was take in the suitcase 3 packets of the little cartons of Almond milk = 9 cartons. I kept them in the fridge in our room and took 1 carton to breakfast everyday it was the perfect amount for him to have a dish of cereal and a good drink with the rest.  

If you want to know more about our holiday and Hurghada....

Hurghada Holiday

Thanks Egypt we will return.






No comments:

Post a Comment

CUSTOM BLOG DESIGN BY PRETTYWILDTHINGS