19 September 2010
Our friends Adam and Marie are joining us on this trip and so the six o’clock alarm saw four people in and out of the bathroom and dressed in various states of consciousness. We were soon all in the big red bus and on our way to the rain lashed M60 to the airport.
Check in was relatively quick and painless and in no time we were enjoying breakfast and chatting excitedly about the trip.
None of us had been to Egypt before and our aim was simple: relax, explore a bit and have a laugh.
We were a bit put out when we got to our departure gate to find that it was crowded with people on the wrong side of tipsy or who were loudly swearing at their kids. Thankfully we realised that we were in the wrong place and moved to the right gate.
Our flight left on time and was hassle free. We chatted, played games and listened to music and soon found ourselves touching down in Egypt.
We spent the evening having a quick explore. The rest is huge. The main hotel has a number of offshoots which have been built as chalets. These form a village but in a traditional style and wonderfully landscaped.
Eventually with our energy flagging we called it a night and prepared for a full day of relaxation by sorting out our clothes and grabbing a shower. Good fun first day.
20 September 2010
Our first full day started with us oversleeping! We had got our maths wrong on the alarm times but luckily Adam and Marie knocked on and five minutes later we were on our way to breakfast.
The plan for the day was to relax by the pool, east, snooze and relax some more. Then in the afternoon we were to go snorkelling. The resorts pool are fantastic; clean and pleasantly cool, they were perfect for a cooling dip when the sun got too much, or even when the shade wasn’t enough.
The beachside area and beach front were heaving but the pool in the centre of the complex was nice and quiet, so this was where we set up camp. We read, sunbathed, swam and snoozed the day away.
The snorkelling was spectacular. The water was clear and warm and teeming with colourful fish and bright coral.
We spent the evening and night in two of the restaurant/bars in the resort with the waiters insisting that we keep drinking….OK then…!
We got up early today and headed down to the main pool and beach area to grab some sunbeds. We managed to get some right between the pool and the beach – perfect.
After a light continental breakfast we spent the morning sunning ourselves and dipping in the pool to cool off.
Palm trees and parasols provided blissful shade and all in all a rather idyllic morning of classically blue skies and matching blue seas.
After lunch at a poolside BBQ, we fell happily back into our sun loungers and returned to our pleasant cycle of reading, snoozing and applying suncream.
When the afternoon heat had died down a little, we all went down to the sea for a snorkel. Once again the sheer number of brightly coloured fish and different shapes and patterns of coral was breathtaking.
Our evening ended at the hotels “beach party”. We arrived a little late after enjoying our dinner and charitably took the view that the best bits were on earlier!
In any event the fire breather was impressive, as was the fire juggler. The “African show!” however wasn’t great! It gave us a laugh though…
As we had all started to relax and unwind, we found that we needed an early night.
We woke to a slightly overcast day, which rather than being downheartening was actually quite pleasant.
Matters did get slightly ominous when at breakfast it rained – it had not rained in Sharm since January… and before that 1924 (well probably!!), but it was only a passing shower…with lightening and rumbling thunder.
We thought that this would pass and so went to the pool anyway. The rain stopped and it was warm but with a pleasant breeze, despite the rumbles of thunder as the storm lazily toured the nearby Sinai mountains.
Damian and Marie decided the best thing to do was repeatedly climb the waterslide tower; the highest thing around, in order to hurtle back to the pool. Dodging lightening heightened the fun!
The weather cheered up in the afternoon and we headed to the beach pool.
The cycle of getting hot, then cooling off continued through the afternoon until we all found a new part of the reef to snorkel. Huge shoals of colourful fish and vert few humans made this an excellent spot.
Dinner was at the hotels Lebanese restaurant. It was fantastic with three superbly cooked courses and cold dishes in an authentically styled setting.
Last up was a round of cocktails before bed.
We decided that despite reports of hassling salesman and overbearing bar owners, we would visit Naama Bay and have a wander around.
After our usual unusual buffet breakfast (one of everything) we got a taxi to the centre of town. This was the first time we had been off site and it was quite a surprise.
Once past the hotels three security gates the scenery changed. The first mile or so was nothing but dry scorched rubble, no vegetation or buildings, aside from a large imposing mosque, most of the buildings seemed to exist to service the tourist trade.
The buildings seemed to have been put up in haste and function has taken priority over form.
Once at Naama Bay, we decided to ignore all the touting and simply walk where we wanted, which turned out to work rather well.
It was the heat that got to us before the harassment and by the time we arrived at the sea front, we were in need of cooling off. We found a beachside bar and enjoyed a cold drink in the shade.
We browsed a few shops in order to pick some souvenirs and then headed back.
The afternoon was whiled away by the poolside with a diversion to one of the on site restaurants which served crepes and ice cream during the afternoon.
Dinner had been booked at the Hotels Italian restaurant. This turned out to be rather good with tasty food and pleasant service. The comedy item of the day was dessert – which while described as “lemon mousse” was in fact more akin to a slice of bathroom sealant (it even bounced).
Today’s plan was an all day snorkelling trip. Unfortunately, Adam had been up all night with an upset stomach and was shattered and still feeling grotty so only the three of us set off to see what the Red Sea has in store for us.
The harbour was exactly as you would imagine. This resort has grown on the back of its reputation as a snorkelling and diving Mecca so naturally the harbour was literally full of dive boats; hundreds of them , all belching diesel fumes from ancient engines and dripping oil.
As we sailed to our first stop, inside the Ras Mohammed National Park, we were astonished by the scenery – deep blue waters with a spikey mountain backdrop; stunning.
The snorkelling was as we had been promised – beautiful in parts, the water was almost hot and the number, variety and size of the fish was astonishing.
The trip was very pleasant with 3 snorkel stops and lunch laid on all in the Egyptian sunshine. On our return, Adam was feeling a little better and so we went to a grill restaurant for tea. Then shattered, we all called an early night.
Today we had a final day on resort and made full use of it we had a big breakfast (those of us who didn’t have Dehli-belly anyway!) We then spent the morning by the pool.
Lounging by the side of the pool in the sun for as long as was comfortable and the jumping back into the water to cool off, then starting the cycle again.
It sounds like a faff but it was incredibly relaxing spending the day chatting and drinking cold drinks while staring up at clear blue sky.
We were all a little reflective looking back on our holiday and how much fun it had been.
After a buffet lunch, we went to the beachside pool and spent the afternoon snoozing off lunch and sunbathing.
In the evening we went down to the sea for a snorkel. For some reason the reef was fairly empty of humans and so we enjoyed the fish in the later afternoon sun.
For dinner we were booked into the Oriental restaurant. Marie wasn’t feeling up to dinner so the three of us went and enjoyed freshly cooked oriental buffet, after which we retired to the bar to work our way through a few cocktails. It was a shame it couldn’t have been all 4 of us, it was nice to have a drink and people watch.
Last Day…. Dami and Mich decided to visit the old market in Sharm while Adam and Marie soaked up the sun.
The old market was an experience. It was rather like most African markets, with vendors rushing after you and trying to draw you into their shops and stalls.
Even having done it in other countries, we still took a while to adjust to being slightly rude!
We found a café and enjoyed a coke while watching the comings and goings in the market. Our driver arrived on time to take us to the hotel for a final chill and snorkel.
We had a late check out and so a nice relaxing day was called for. We finished our stay in Egypt with a final snorkel and then showered and fresh for our trip home we played cards in the air con of our lobby and waited for our bus.
While we hadn’t toured around much or explored extensively, we had sampled Egypt and met some its people and enjoyed the incredible snorkelling.
We had enjoyed the company of Adam and Marie and the laughs, relaxations and fun.
The highlight for us was spending time together in another stunning location.