Sunday, February 17, 2008

A Very Special Place

The eagle eyed among you may have noticed that I have a photo of a "very special place" in my sidebar. It's been there since I started my blog, and it remains very special. It's the Sofitel Taba Heights, on Egypt's Red Sea coast, and it's my favourite place ever. Quiet, peaceful, undeveloped and surrounded by history, I will never tire of visiting Taba Heights.

Taba Heights is a small development of five hotels and nearby golf course. From the jetty, if you look straight ahead of you, you see Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Turn to face the hotel again, you see not only Egypt, but Israel too. It's situated in the Sinai region of Egypt, and last year we visited Petra, one of the new Seven Wonders of the World, and St Catherine's Monastry, home to the Burning Bush.

This year, we turned to more ancient wonders. But firstly, who couldn't fail to relax here? And, I ask you, what better colour for a hotel than pink?!

The first three days were spent basking in temperatures of up to 25C, sipping Daiquiris and Gin Fizzes. Mr A and I also walked a lot, typically before breakfast as we continued to wake at 7:00. It was 5km to the marina and back, so I put in plenty of practice for the Race for Life.

On the fourth day we went on a day trip to Cairo. This involved going back to Taba Airport and flying to Cairo. We flew in a little 50 seat plane called a Dash 7 and the flight took just under an hour. Then on to our coach and our excellent guide for the day to the madness that is Cairo.

Cairo is home to some 20 million souls. It appears to have a permanent rush hour, the roads are chos. It's a mix of new, old, rich, poor, people living in unfinished buildings - conditions unheard of here. It's noisy, smelly, vibrant, colourful and alive and I found it fascinating. This is our first view of Cairo through the window of the coach.

The view from the Citadel. There is a haze of smog over Cairo, but you can, if you click on the photo, make out the pyramids in the distance.

This is the Great Pyramid, built for the Pharaoh Kufu, and it is this pyramid in particular, as opposed to "the pyramids" in general, thet is the last remaining wonder of the ancient world. Our guide was at pains to tell us that it was built by salaried workers and not by slaves at all. I am keeping an open mind! Isn't it magnificent.

This is the second pyramid, slightly smaller. We had a bit of fun with perspective here!

A word of warning though. They tell you on the coach to beware of hawkers, pickpockets, Bedouin, offers of camel rides and offers of free photos with camels. They don't however warn you about the tourist police! We are probably on "wanted" posters all over Cairo for refusing to pay them - "surely you don't expect us to pay a policeman for taking a photograph?" was my shocked response to a request for money! Seemingly they did, and we beat a hasty retreat!

Isn't the Sphynx amazing too. His beard is in the British Museum - well it shouldn't be in my opinion, it should be here here it belongs. According to our guide book both the Turks and the French took pot shots at the Sphynx which is why he lost his nose and beard. Our Guide however, said that Napoleon was a man of culture and would never allow such a thing!

And finally, isn't it sad! The only outlet that isn't here is Burger King. Fortunately, you can't quite see this from the pyramids, but Giza is gtting ever closer to this once vast expanse of desert.

From here, on to a papyrus manufacturers. Fascinating stuff.

And then, a late lunch on a riverboat resturant on the Nile. Introducing "Joy's Boys"!

Finally, a visit to the Cairo Museum of Egyptian Antiquities. Sadly, no photos to show you, but we came full circle and saw the death mask of Tutankhamun and so many wonderful things. There are some 120,000 in the museum, to see each one would take three months!

Then back for another couple of days of doing very little!

And here I am on our patio, gtting on with my FCS. I have three more repeats to do, hopefully it will make an appearance here at the weekend.
Here I am at the top of the pink tower.

And here's the view from the tower. I will never tire of this view!

The view of the hotel from the jetty.

And finally, here I am with my lovely boys on our last night.

Our daughter was unable to come with us, originally she and her boyfriend were coming with us but she had presentation to do at University. I missed her so much. She got an A- for her presentation - I am so pleased for her. She is now in her third year, and she is going to be a wonderful nurse.

So, there we have it, I am back from holiday relaxed and rejuvinated. Now it's back to reality, with a night shift tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday and a pile of ironing that doesn't bear thinking about! And thank you all so far this month. £20 worth of comments - brilliant!


LadybirdLinz (:i:) said...

Stunning photos, Thankyou so much for sharing them, they were a real pleasure to look at.
Your 'Boys' are not bad on the eye too ;)

Pass on my congratualtions to your DD too...excellent result!

And finally...loved the knitting shot, how fab to be knitting in such a wonderful place.

Auntie Noo said...

Lovely photos, lovely to see such an amazing place.

Queen of the froggers said...

I would so like to go there! Glad you had a lovely time, I hope work and ironing are not too hard to get back too!

mogs said...

Great to see your photos. Hide the ironing and get on with knitting - that's what I say!

kathryn said...

Thankyou for sharing those lovely photos! Egypt looks a wonderful and exciting place for a holiday and the weather now seems perfect.

Aknita said...

Kathryn, it's a perfect time to visit. Just perfect for a hot spot on the beach if you want one, and equaly pleasant for sightseeing, we even needed sleeves for a while in Cairo.

And after years of French campsites and Pembrokeshire cottages I have discovered I LIKE being looked after in hotels on holiday :-)

Probably Jane said...

Lovely to see some sunshine! Glad you had a good time - what a fabulous place to knit!

Hawkesley said...

Wow,it looks gorgeous there. My Mum wants to go on holiday to Egypt so I'll show her your fab photos. The pink hotel looks very luxurious and a great place to stay. Thank you for sharing your photos.

dreamcatcher said...

What a fabulous place! Thanks for sharing all of your lovely photos. I had to laugh at the "tourist police", what a cheek! Look forward to seeing your finished FCS :-) And congrats to your daughter!

gilraen said...

Congrats to your daughter! If she is half as good as you she will be fantastic as a nurse!!

I'm swooning at all the wonderful photographs!!! How to get money for nowt! Very sad indeed! Bring me the next time and I will take your pics for free ;) :)

Monica Silva said...

Very beautiful pictures of your trip to Egypt. Favorite is you knitting in front of the pink hotel. What were you knitting there?