Look’s quite some distance, huh? And it was. Though I know what you might be thinking – he’ll have crossed the Red Sea by ferry.
This is Egypt remember folks, d’you really think they’d let me have it that easy?
Luxor to Hurghada
I just knew the next few days wouldn’t be easy from the moment I received the following response for wanting to purchase a bus ticket to Hurghada.
‘Please come back this evening as we do not know yet if there are enough people for the bus to make the journey‘.
That was at 10am. Slightly anxious for the rest of the day, I did indeed return that evening and thankfully I was then sold the ticket for the following morning.
Some online reports from a few years back say that this route is quite road-rough and that ‘things can happen’ on this path. We made it without any drama and the journey took 4 hours. The first part of the route to Qena is slow and the road is poorly maintained but after that they improve allowing an increase in speed.
I realised some days back that I hadn’t mentioned any military ‘check-points’ in Egypt during my posts. Well, that’s not because there aren’t any but because there are so many now they just blend into normality for me.
It was some 3.5 hours into the journey that I first caught sight of the blue ocean that, even from a distance, instantly induced a beaming smile. I had made it from deep inside Egypt to now the edge of its land. In that instant I felt so far away from the hustle and bustle of ‘real Egypt’ and all I wanted there and then was to be just a tourist enjoying some rest and relaxation. In saying that I didn’t actually do that when I arrived but instead exercised some discipline to seek out my one objective – get information on the ferry from Hurghada to Sharm via the Red Sea. After all, I wanted to be off the very next day.
Except when I located the maritime office…
‘No boat‘, I was told my the gate officer.
‘Ah.’, I respond in a disappointed but not worried tone for I had a contingency back-up plan.
‘Maybe in more months if more people come it come back‘, he said in broken English.
And so that was the end of that. I walked back annoyed with the amount of conflicting articles I’d found online as to whether the ferry was running or not. Admittedly I should have pre-accepted this really is the Egyptian way, as pathetically useless as it is. Nothing is provided definitively, you just hope for the best and expect the worst. Not great for somebody that does not naturally roll in that way.
Despite this inconvenience and missed opportunity, the maritime office was located nearby to the Hurghada Marina and close to an impressive looking Mosque so my camera phone was to be summoned.
I’m glad I was able to see the Marina as I didn’t really do anything else whilst I was in Hurghada, not that there will have been lots for me to do anyway. That said, that’s probably the entire point of a tourist hot-spot. Sorry, a previous tourist hot-spot.
Does this look in anyway like a tourist hot-spot to you, or perhaps more like a ghost town!? So, so tragic.
Still, the marina itself remains unspoilt due to this and therefore being surrounded by beautiful greenery and supremely blue waters was just so wonderful. Clearly the craziness of Cairo, Giza and Luxor had evidently taken its toll.
As of 8pm my backup plan was looking solid after I successfully booked an affordable flight to Sharm El Sheikh for the very next day and a place to stay for the evening. That also smashed my personal record for a ‘late booked flight’ at around 18 hours prior to take off.
Airport antics from Hurghada to Sharm El Sheikh
It was in the terminal that I met an English lady in her early to mid 40s who now lives in Sharm El Sheikh and has done so for a few years. She was in Hurghada scoping out some business opportunities. We sat in each others company for no more than an hour before we boarded the plane.
Incidentally folks, what’s the shortest flight you’ve ever taken? I remember Bristol to Edinburgh with the lads a few years ago and that was something like 40 minutes if I recall correctly. Anyone had shorter? What about this short…?
Yep, that was honestly the duration and yet we still got a small carton of orange juice too would you believe. Easyjet/Ryanair take note!
Whilst we were waiting for our luggage, (Emma) said that her friend was picking her up and that I could likely grab a lift. That saved me a £10 taxi fare and considering that £10 is more than a third of my typical daily budget, I was ecstatic. The wonder of travel and the generosity of people to strangers can never cease to amaze.
On route to my hotel was her business so she invited me to take a look. It would appear that Emma owns and runs Sharm’s premier equestrian centre. Nice…
Oh, that faint distant stretch of land beyond the sea is actually the culturally strict country of Saudi Arabia.
I was dropped off around 7pm to what was evidently a very large resort, the type you’d stay in with a partner or family. Still, it had a decent rating, price and proximity to the bus station for tomorrow’s journey to Dahab. In fact the resort was so big I’d have to hop on a golf-buggy thing to get to my room. On route the driver had pointed out the restaurant but I politely ignored his referral as I had clocked a large supermarket about 10 minutes away from the resort on the drive in.
The room was pleasant and spacious and costing £14 GBP (without breakfast). As you’d imagine, the lack of tourism to Sharm has massively driven prices down as some hotels, even large chain ones, have not survived. Whatever the real reason behind that plane-bomb in late October last year, a political many strongly believe, there’s no doubting the affect it has had on the country and the area. If this was the objective, the perpetrators were successful.
Who can guess the movie shown below? I massively lucked out here by flicking through this Russian-configured system just shy of 9pm to have found a channel ready to show a movie blockbuster that I never got to see last year! Needless to say that with my combined assortment of snacks to see me through tomorrow too, I was immeasurably satisfied.
On my way back I saw a big banner that caught my attention and made me a little sad.
The next day, and after a quick sun-lounge at my Sharm resort, I successfully caught the bus to Dahab where I will aim to relax amongst other things. This should also give me some much needed time to look at my route from here on as my time in Egypt will shortly expire…
Bargains in Sharm to be had, folks…
I tell you now though, the dedicated Dabab post I will create in the days to come should be a picture-cracker and one I hope will make you consider Egypt for your next short holiday destination…