When I first thought about taking a winter beach holiday I browsed through many holiday destinations and finally decided that I’d give Egypt a go. I browsed many sites to get an idea of what to do and see in various areas that were ideal for families with young children. Nowadays, I travel alone as I prefer to do my own thing. I have much more fun and can do more or less whatever I want.
Egypt’s Red Sea Coast has become the country’s most popular tourist destination, while on the Sinai Peninsula, Sharm el Sheikh is also another favourite. Located on the southern tip of Egypt you can find Marsa Alam, all of which offer spectacular beaches.
It was only after I met an Egyptian family on holiday in England, from spending time with them and hearing about all the fascinating places, beaches and ancient history, which made me decide to visit Hurghada. I was going to be traveling with my 2 youngest children aged 8 and 10, so a one-week beach holiday with a pool and close to the beach was a must, as they loved to play in both and didn’t normally like trapesing round markets, art galleries and such like. However, I managed to arrange a few trips away from the resort during our stay.
The hotel we stayed in Hurghada was called The Princess Hotel. It looked spectacular from the lobby, Restaurant and other areas. Even the gardens, beach and pool were delightful. We stayed in one of the hotel villas on the grounds and found it spacious enough for a family of 5, though it wasn’t quite as good as expected inside.
Although the weather was warm enough to swim in the sea and sunbathe, the pools were icy cold, but my boys splashed away happily and didn’t seem to mind. There was no way I was going to get in into the pool!! We enjoyed swimming in the sea and relaxing on the beach, as the sand was free of stones, just how I like it, camels and all! You could even smoke a Shisha Pipe on the beach!
The streets nearby were lined with shops all of which offered the same gifts, souvenirs and artefacts. Oddly enough, all shop owners beckoned the passing tourists to take a look at their wares in the hope they would purchase something, and quite often they would entice you in with a FREE gift. How could they expect anyone to visit every single shop I don’t know! I bought a few things, one of which was a lilo for the pool and managed to haggle quite a large sum off the price.
One tour we went on was a Jeep Safari trip across the desert in a jeep where they take you to visit a Bedouin camp to interact and drink tea with them, then watch the sunset over the mountain tops before retuning to our hotel. We travelled in a group from the Safari Tour Office in 3 separate Jeeps, each with our own camera man. They were filming the tour from start to finish. However, we were all shocked and amazed at how they were filming the start of the journey. We couldn’t believe what we were seeing! The men were hanging out of the doors filming each other’s jeep, sometimes even hanging upside down and while traveling so fast. One man climbed from one jeep to another while they were moving. They’re absolutely bonkers to say the least! Fortunately, they were all fine and no accidents were caused but we were all scared for their safety.
Once at the Bedouin camp we were directed to the camels to take a ride if we so wished, and as I had never been on a camel I took the opportunity. Can’t say it was a comfortable ride at all and found it difficult to get off so, I won’t be in a hurry to do it again. Next, we were shown around a tent where a 7-year-old girl was weaving a carpet. They make various items such as necklaces and bracelets to sell as a way of making their living and rely mostly on tourists buying from them.
The children don’t go to school, but they like to receive pencils, so they can draw pictures and sweets of course (their teeth were black). We noticed none of the children were wearing shoes, but they were running around on stones and rough patches of ground that would have been very painful had we done it. I guess they’re used to it, so it doesn’t hurt their feet. After buying a few small items and drinking tea with them we watched the glorious sunset from a high point before setting off across the desert to our hotel.
The second tour was the Glass Bottomed Boat Trip. We were picked up from our hotel and taken to the marina where we climbed into a motor boat with a glass bottom, so we could see the sea life below us. It was wonderful to see the different types of fish and jelly fish and on the journey back to the harbour the crew entertained us by making weird elephant like sculptures with the towels on everyone’s head. It wasn’t something we were expecting but nevertheless, it was so funny. It looked easy to do and some people tried to make the elephants with the towels but were unsuccessful.
Hurghada Hard Rock Café was a popular place to visit and ate there a few times during the holiday. Good food, clean establishment, friendly and helpful staff and great music. I spent quite a bit in their accessories shop buying souvenirs and T-Shirts. I definitely recommend a visit to the Hard Rock Café.
Though I enjoyed my time in Hurghada there were a few things that bothered me. One being, you couldn’t browse in any shops without them following you and constantly pushing you to buy something and haggling is a must as they expect it, and if you don’t haggle you will pay double the price you actually need to pay. On leaving one shop, all the other shop owners expect you to look and buy in their shop too, even though they have exactly the same products. The last thing I will mention is that if you travel with children to Egypt, make sure you warn them about any road works or such like and deep holes, as they don’t block or cover them up or use warning signs. A child could easily fall into a hole and be injured by this type of thing. Other than that…..have a great time!