This is a second part of the amazing Egypt trip. My trip to Alexandria Egypt was back in 2008. In the second half of the trip we went to Cairo Egypt, as well as Siwa Oasis. The impressions are unforgettable! Everybody should see the desert at night – so many stars! The Giza Pyramids are a true wonder of engineering and a must see, too. The best thing is it only takes 3 hours to drive from Alexandria to Cairo Egypt (compared to 6 hours from Red Sea resorts Sharm el Sheikh or Hurghada).
Tag: Egypt travel
My trip to Alexandria Egypt was back in 2008. Lately, when I was looking through the travel notes, I lost myself in reading about that great trip and decided to publish it on my blog. What makes it so special are the honest impressions of a first time traveler – it really was my first real solo trip. In fact it was a business trip – I was working in a travel agency at the time and was sent over to learn about the destination. Alexandria Egypt and Mediterranean coast made a huge impression on me and infected me with a travel bug for many more journeys ahead.
Day I : Arrival in Alexandria Egypt
I’ve never flown that long in my life. I mean, 4 and half hours isn’t really long, but it seemed like eternity. We landed in total darkness. It’s a really small place – El Alamein International Airport. I have no idea how these crazy pilots find their way around? Never seen any place so dark like the desert! There were no problems at the border, our guide recognized me immediately. It took us only 20 minutes to arrive in Al Alamein hotel.
The hotel is spectacular! The rooms are huge, 4 people could easily fit in here. There is a good reason for that – it’s in the middle of nowhere! Next hotel is hardly to be seen. Everything is very pretty, marmot floors, the terrace is looking over the bay. Wish I could go straight to the beach, but it’s really dark right now. Now I understand where the 1001 nights (collection of Middle Eastern and South Asian stories and folk tales) comes from – it gets dark already around 8 pm. That’s why everyone wakes up so early.
The weather is heavenly: +26 C during day time, +20 C at nights. True paradise! I realized how important is to have an AC in the room
(edit on May 12th: AC= diarrhea, headache, fever etc. but I found out about that later).
Day II : Paradise
Wow! Unbelievable! My idea of paradise found a form. No kidding – I have never ever in my life seen such a clear blue water. Others, who have traveled a lot might say there is better, but for me this one is THE prettiest blue water ever. Sadly I must admit I have had too much sun today. Anybody coming from the North like myself, would want to get a nice tan. At least the sun is for free here (unlike jet ski, which I silently dream about trying out).
What bugs me here a little is how the locals stare at women.There are many Italians here, too. Right now I can hear some Italian music.
I’m starting to realize why our Egyptian boss requires us to work so hard back at home. I can see how our local reps struggle to make a living. It’s hard work – keeping the visitors happy. The nature of tourism industry is making it look easy and fun, when in fact the job is stealing your personal life, because you have to work long and exhausting hours and always be available.
It’s still crazy hot in the room and I don’t think I’ll get the smell of chlorine from the pool out of my hair any time soon.
Day III : Alexandria Egypt
Today we visited Alexandria Egypt. What a crazy city! It took us 1 and half hours to get there. The traffic was really quick and I was made fun of when I asked about safely belts. You are not in EU anymore, girl! Every time someone was in the way, our bus driver just pushed the horn. My nerves were about to give up, so I just stared out the side window.
The city streets were almost exactly like in the Aladdin cartoon – I could practically see him jumping the roofs. Traffic is a total chaos – from two lanes Egyptians were making five. Everyone is pushing forward, beeping and doing whatever the hell he wants! Our guide told us that there are traffic lights in Alexandria and they work, too. But in reality no one is paying much attention to them. That’s why there is an armed police officer on almost every intersection and directs the traffic. Not an easy job for sure! As I found out later, there is a reason why there are so many armed forces on the streets – due to terrorist attacks in Sharm el Sheikh resort two years back.
When we stopped for a quick shopping I found myself on a street, alone, for a moment. I really felt uncomfortable – all the stares directed at me, men asking where I’m from, how old I am etc. I kept talking to one guy, but to me they all seemed the same.
To sum up – very unusual for me, unique, beautiful ancient city that is in the same time very modern and European.
Read next – Cairo and Siwa Oasis
El Alamein is a town in Egypt, located on Mediterranean Sea. Closest city is Alexandria – 106 km and Cairo – 240km. We arrived in the night and it was completely dark. I was wondering how on earth the pilots find the landing strip – there were almost no lights. The desert has its rules and when it is dark – it is totally dark. Entering the country is easy and fast – El Alamein International airport is really small.
Why is El Alamein hidden?
The area is popular among wealthy Egyptians, there are not many tourists visiting. The reason is simple – it is not so well marketed and it is harder to reach. Compared to Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada, where you have charter flights arriving every hour from all over the world, hardly any flights arrive here. The airport is mainly servicing inbound flights and private jets. Locals, especially people from Cairo, come here looking for chilly breezes of Mediterranean Sea. Driving along the main road from Alexandria many villas can be spotted – Egyptians are investing in their holiday homes.
It is 4th of May and air temperature is +26C during the day and +20 at night. We arrive at our hotel – Al Alamein Hotel – and it is amazing. The great thing about El Alamein is that compared to Red Sea resorts there is no shortage in land. This means that hotels have literally miles and miles of beach strips, staying at one hotel you will hardly ever know there is anyone nearby. Such feeling of total privacy is relaxing but can be also scary. The sand is pure white and very clean. El Alamein area is considered one of the cleanest areas in whole Egypt.
Hotel staff are friendly and quality of service is very good. It is a five star hotel after all. The rooms are huge – my standard room is about 70 square meters, bathroom size was similar to an average hotel room in Italy. There were 2 separate beds, king size each. This kind of luxury makes you wonder why there is poverty in this land at all. My room was on first floor and the terrace had direct access to the beach.
Hotel offers all kinds of water sports – banana rides, jet skis, canoeing. Indoor pool is amazing – looks like a cave lake. Water is nice and warm. It is a perfect way to end the day – take a relaxing swim and enjoy the spa. Massage and other treatments are available for extra cost.
The area does not have many attractions, it is best for beach holiday. However, do not expect to see a lot of action going on – there is no promenade to take a walk in the evening. Hotel is protected by guards and there are not so many places where you can go. The best way to explore is to go on a tour – visit El Alamein village, Alexandria or Siwa Oasis. Cairo trips are also available and are much better than the ones from Hurghada or Sharm El Sheikh – driving distance is much shorter. In El Alamein village there is a war museum with collectibles from North African Battles during WWII. There is also German and Italian war cemeteries. German cemetery was built in medieval fortress style.