A Travellerspoint blog

Egypt - Hurghada the Red Sea

Stayin at Hotel Le Jardin Sunrise

sunny 45 °C

This was my second trip to Egypt and despite my promise never to go there again without a man in tow and a ring on my finger I found myself on the plane with my friend Helen starting the 5hr flight to Hurghada airport. When we arrived after a 2hr delay at around 11pm it was 35degC! Pretty warm for an evenings entertainment! The hotel was just a short 20minute transfer from the airport and we were greeted by the reception staff.

Our first polava was that apparently Helen and I were booking into a King size bed room. Not quite sure how that happened as we had specified a twin at the time of booking with Thomascook and when I emailed to request a sea view if possible I stipulated a twin room was required. They sorted it eventually and we made our way to our room and then off to the night club on site for some beverages.
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We got up early the next morning. We went down for breakfast as what can best be described as a fussy eater I was a bit anxious with an all inclusive buffet menu for 3 meals a day but the breakfast was really nice. There was a guy making pancakes and omlettes so I was set for the stay. There was also a massive variety of bread on offer. Once we had eaten we made our way down to the pool it was lush! We met some other Brits there Martin, Candice, Jess and Sharon. Mid morning we were required to attend our Thomascook welcome meeting in the sister hotel next door. I wish we hadn't bothered as per usual they were trying to sell over priced trips. So we headed back to the pool with some more new found Brit friends from the welcome meeting.

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After we had got ourselves sorted Helen and I went for a walk down to the sea before dinner it was beautiful and we took lots of snaps.

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We had arranged to meet the others for dinner at the splash bar at the hotel. This was a special resturant which could only be access by those from western europe. The Russian and eastern european guests have a very bad reputation although we personally didn't have any troble with them throughout our stay but one guy in our group got slapped round the face twice by a drunk Polish girl for no reason which didn't really please us! The meal was really nice and I found lots of things I liked to eat. There was some grilled chicken and chips along with bread and cheeses. After dinner we went to see the entertainment put on by the hotel before going to the club again.

The next day was another lazy one especially for me as I went for a full body scrub and massage it was amazing and only cost 225LE! I did haggle them down quite a bit an it helped a lot that there was a big group of us all wanting some treatments done. That night we decided to go for an Egyptian theme and brought hats for the girls and boys and we all went for dinner again in the splash resturant and then onto the entertainment and the club.

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The next day while at the pool we all decided to book camel rides. I had been on a camel ride before when I went to egypt so had a good idea of what to expect but Helen had not. We booked onto the evening ride which took around 3hours. The ride wasn't really that great. One of the Camels had terrible diarreoa (it went all over one guys leg), the horses which were also on offer for the trip were really malnourished and Helen refused to ride one on the way back having decided she didn't like the camel. The heat was painful! The hot sun and wind over the desert I just looked down and braced myself against it. I could not wait for it to end - nothing like my experiance in Luxor. We stopped at a family hut and they made us bread and tea. The woman then dressed us in berkas. She tried stealing one girls engagement and wedding ring though during the process which didn't really make us feel easy! On the trip back I had a horse. The camel had annoyed me and one girl had got rolled on when they went down to stop so I didn't fancy getting back up. I was given no instruction or help - it had been 12 years since I last rode a horse and mine had a need to be next to another horse at all times so when one darted off mine followed not great when it won't stop or slow and the striups were too long for me. Needless to say we would not recommend that trip - operated by the hotel, to some degree, to our friends!

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The next day at the pool disaster struck when one of the girls cut her leg badly in the pool on the steps. We had been complaining about the broken step since we arrived so it came as no suprise. She had to go to hospital and have four stitches! I took photos of the wound and another girl used my camera to photograph the step - I'll save you the photos as its not nice! It was really bad. The hotel was of course very apologetic and we spoke with the manager while Fay was recieving treatment about what was going to be done. I said it would be a nice gesture if the hotel arranged an a la carte meal at the posh resturant for everyone that evening (especially for Fay as she would have certainly had a stressful time at the hospital). They were really good and booked us in. Helen and I then wrote a note for Fay and Ryan to put under there door for when they got back telling them about their suprise.

The managment greeted us at the resturant and quickly found a supply of lobster evening though the chef initially told us there was none. It was gorgeous! I love lobster but can't afford it in the UK so was so happy to eat it there! The meal definately raise everyones spirits.

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A Few days later Helen and I had our snorkelling trip booked with Colona divers. They were going to take us to Dolphin house and two 'different' snorkelling locations. The trip was good and cost £25 but the two different locations weren't exactly different even though they took us on a 45min boat ride inbetween to give the impression of travel we just ended up back at Dolphin house again. The fish were amazing though and I really enjoyed the trip I just wish they had been honest during booking. We saw a stingray but no dolphins sadly which was a bit of a disapointment but luck of the draw.

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We had a special meal evening up in the italian a la carte put on for 'English' guests. Now I don't eat red meat fussy I know and a lot of people don't eat sea food. When the entre is Steak Tartare you know its all going to go downhill! Half of the group left as every dish after the raw steak was fish (even the 'vegetable soup' which was actually seafood soup), I asked if I could have an entry with no meat the man said yes but it never appeared :( They did bring us some on the delicous cheesey bread though which we had eaten the night before in the italian a la carte menu evening. I didn't eat the soup or the starter as I am nota fan of soup anyway and the starter was pasta in a tomato sauce which I hate doh! The main was salmon which I had never tried before so I gave it a go. It was REALLY nice apart from the bones I would ahve eaten it all. The sauce was really good too. Sadly the desert was covered in nuts - which I am allergic to so I couldn;t eat that but made my way through a basket of cheesy bread :D

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There were people taking photos arund the complex so Helen and I decided that we would go on our own photo taking mission one evening and got some really nice shots! Was good fun. The man they collared us and had me doing all these silly poses much to my amusement Helen was taking photos with my camera over his shoulder! So we didn't need to pay for them and had some erm interesting ones!

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We went with Fay and Ryan on a trip in the taxi to El Gouna it was lovely here and a really nice little town. We found an english style bar which served excellent food and good beer! I had chicken Fajhitas as did Ryan, Fay had a wrap and Helen a massive burger. We were all stuffed and well filled by time we headed back to the shopping area and haggled the price on some hand bags with a seller. We got some cracking deals and were really pleased. It was a great evening and made Helen and I realise we would very much like to remain friends with Fay and Ryan upon their return to the UK.

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The next day was my Scuba diving trip without Helen...don't tell her I told you but I did miss her a bit while on the boat. Fay and Ryan went even though Fay was limited to boat activities, Charmaine and Adam also came along. We got two dives for £55 plus the boat trip this was such good value for money even if they did embelish on the length of the dives somewhat. I thought it was great fun although I did find the equipment VERY heavy and for that reason I don't think my back would let me do it again. We saw loads of fish and a turtle which was nice. Again no Dolphins though perhas there are none in the red sea and it was all a fib who knows :-p.

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On our last night we went to the Hardrock Cafe in Hurghada. This was a scary experiance the taxi wasn't great and the guy was using his hand break and gears to stop! When we were dropped off we were bombarded with men - just like Luxor. fake wedding rings on and telling people no english antarctica did work for a while but it was still scary. We sat down and looked through the menu and began ordering I starters were just coming out when Helen spotted Fay and Ryan - they had left the tour group they were with to come and join us early which was really nice of them. We then all ate together the food was really nice and really good value. The cocktails were extremely expensive with one double drin working out at over £10! Shocking but a good time was had by all. We stayed there until it was time to catch our return taxi. The return was a nightmare the driver demanded 50Le off fay and ryan for them joining us and then used it to fill his car. we made him give us a reciept though and complained to the management upon our return they refunded it and said they would not use him again.

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So all in all a great trip to Hurghada - would I recommend Sunride Le Jardin yes I would as even though Fay had the nasty leg inccident they did their best to appease the group after and hopefully she will be able to claim back from Thomascook. The russians were not too bad and we made loads of friends. The staff were helpful and love English people. Helen and I both took $30 in $1 bills for tipping and used less than $10 between us for the whole stay. Staff were great. The pool manager was a tosser though and the sooner they sack that moron the better! :-p

Posted by LizaBrooks 06:11 Archived in Egypt Tagged round_the_world Comments (0)

Saas Fee - Switzerland

Filming for the BBC pretty awesome

snow -10 °C

It was a really early start for me with the BBC filming as I needed to get to LHR for 7am. I also needed a hire car as mine wasn't big enough. George at TV6 arranged for me to pick up a vauxhall Astra saturday morning and then use that early on the sunday. I picked it up thanks to mz brother and Jo and was quite scared as it went bloody quick! it was a petrol SRi sport so much quicker than my little run about!

Early sunday morning I got up and headed over to Hethrow which is just over an hour. I needed to stop at Reading services for a expresso though as I was really tired by that point. Sadly the staff there burnt the coffee and then di't know how to put my AA discount through on the till and I had to show them, fortunately I used to work in a moto services so knew how to do it.

I had parking prebooked in the business park and it was really easy to find which was great. Then a short bus ride and I was in the terminal. I had a bit of a wait for the others but I had arrived about 20mins early. Emma was first then Barb and Cody (Cody was going to be riding with me for the filming). I was really excited about the poster I had got the day before from STEM which has me on so I showed it to Barb who was impressed with it :) I was very pleased. We went to check in and Emma said we were flying out economy but back Business which is awesome! A massive thank you to Swiss Air who sorted out the flights for us as it was a real privilege and great! We had breakfast in giraffe really nice terminal one has definately got better food outets than I remember from previous trips.

Once we arrived at Zurich the ground staff were so well organised and had our bags there already FAB! defo flying there again. We then had to get a train which wasn't for about an hour or so. within the airport complex there is a huge shopping centre so we got some food and drink before boarding the train for the three hour journey to Visp in...first class! Swiss tourist board really did a excellent job hosting us! When in Visp we needed to hop on the Saas Fee bus which was full of school children and make our way to the village.

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Upon arrival I thought how pretty it all looked no cars only little electric buggies the air was so clean and fresh. Emma wanted to get some Broll film of Cody and I walking up towards the train station so work started right away we got some shots and then the buggy from the hotel had arrived to pick us up. We were staying at Popcorn hotel which is sponsored by quiksilver and really snowboard orientated. The downstairs and foyay didn't look overly impressive and I was begining to think OMG what have I let myself in for (made worse by the fact that all the children from the bus were in the hotel!) but when I opened the door to my room I couldn't have got it more wrong. Spacious room, nice bathroom and comfy bed. There was also a PS2, TV and hi-fi. I was next to Cody and he and I had a massive joint balcony looking out over the town it was awesome!
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We decided to go for an explore and went to the bar where we got free popcorn! nice! For tea we decided to eat in the hotel with the camera man and sound man. I thought the sound man had a cool name Blaze :D

Very early morning on day two and beat the crowds to the ski lifts where Steph from the swiss tourist board met us. She then got us in the back door to begin our accent up the three lifts we needed to take to get to the summit of Saas Fee! There was a lot more snow than I imagined and the low lying cloud was gorgeous back drop for some opening scenes. After this the camera man did some follow cam of me riding this was pretty cool! I then had to be interviewed in the park about a prototype board while Cody looked the business riding! Was so good. Cody said the pipe was nice and managed some great tricks on the boards!

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It was Tbars to get back up which wasn't my favorite thing but I only had to go up and down a few times. The next scene was some work with the compact Rio Data logger I had to set it all up and then Cody had to record some data on the runs with it. Sadly I didn't have the crossover cable to download the data there and then as that would have been great. The snow was beginning to get soft and slushy I quite liked riding in this and it was extraordinary how it had gone from January type bullet proof conditions to Spring riding slush in 4 hours.

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The Swiss tourist board treated us to dinner in the revolving restaurant at the top of the mountain the views were beautiful and I can only imagine would be better in winter. We then made our way back down the three lifts. (two gondolas and a train).

That night for tea we ate in the hotel again after failing to find another restaurant with space. Also the recommendation I had had from a MBA colleague was a 5* place and we couldn't afford that. Cody and I then went out on the 'town' for a bit and made some local friends. Was a really great night and then topped off when we left and it was snowing :)

The early morning the next day wasn't great. I tried to sleep on the bus and train but didn't manage it. I was glad when we made it to Zurich and I could chill in the airport and have some lunch. We were flying back business class so headed to the lounge and ate some more and had some complimentary beverages. The flight was smooth and we were back in London in no time!

I drove back to Swindon where I checked in to the Madison hotel and waited for the rest of the crew. They arrived quite late before I went for an early night ready for filming in the lab the next day for part two of the BBC LearningZone film.

Posted by LizaBrooks 13:11 Archived in Switzerland Tagged business_travel Comments (0)

France and Belgium following the Poppy trail! (35/35)

Lest we forget!

sunny 22 °C

I have always been itnerested in doing a battlefield tour and the most famous is definately the poppy trail which mainly revolves around the somme area from world war I or 'the Great War'. We headed to the town of Amiens to get our bearings and get a bite to eat. From here we were able to find out that the Somme Museum 1916 is in Albert a few KM up the road so we headed there to see what we could find out.
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When we got to the Museum there was a French lady on the desk. I tried asking her were the larger cemetaries were and memorials and if there was a map. She snapped something very quickly at me in French I only grasped a handful of words from it but I knew that I needed to speak to a Mr Something or other in the shop at the end of the Museum tour! She then told us that there was a video room on the left and that it rotates the language that the film is shown in.
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We headed down into the old tunnels which were used as escape routes by the towns people during the war and looked at some of the memorabila before the english version of the film was on. The film had lots of information about the different nations memorials in the area and we then had a better Idea of where we wanted to go. The ones that looked the best were:

•British
•Newfoundland
•Australian
•Big crater
•Ulster tower
•South African

As we completed our tour of the museum we made our way to the shop at the end and there was a nice gentleman who spoke excellent english and was able to help us along the poppy trail. He told us that the free guide books were back at the entrance and to head back there and pick one up which we did.
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First stop nearest to Albert was the large crater left by 24tonnes of explosive! It was 100m in diameter and 30m deep truely massive! A lot of people died that day as it said in the video and we were starting to get an apprechiation of why.

On ward from here was that Australian memorials and we met some Australians there who were fasinated with our car and the charity road trip. They even took a picture. The memorial was a large stone obelisk with some details of the fallen.

Next step was the British memorial. This one was truely the most impressive of them all. A massive structure with the names of all the fallen and their regiments engraved in the stone. There was also a grave for each of the lost. It was a really sad and somber place. There were alot of wreths left and I was looking at the notes. All of them to great great, or great uncles, from nieces and nephews. I guess the reason being they were all so young when they died none of them had children of their own so they would only have nieces and nephews. One of the sadest ones was a simple note left on a grave which had a name. It just said "In loving memory, Lest we forget your sacrifice for our freedom. Love the family you never met" I found that one very sad and there was a picture of the hero next to the note.
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Enroute to the next stop we passed Ulster tower but it was closed and the gate was locked so we didn't enter just stopped for a picture and a few moments to remember those that lost their lives.

Next stop was the Newfoundland which is the canadian memorial. Here you can still see the trench lines and it really is an impressive sight that after all this time soil erosion has not taken them away. A mighty stag stands at the front and looks out over the trench field. There is also a list of names of the fallen.
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We had to turn back to go to the South African memorial. It was to remember those fallen from both world wars and as such had a larger cemetery outside it. This one was again closed but we walked up as it was just a chain pulled across so we think you were allowed to enter (not sure).

So that was the end of the road trip and our last day out. We finished off with a meal at a Steak house in the centre of Brugge it was very nice.

Posted by LizaBrooks 00:05 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Brugge (35/35)

Time for a few days chill me thinks!

sunny 20 °C
View Liza Mission to Visit EVERY country in Europe this year! on LizaBrooks's travel map.

So the road trip challenge may essentially be over but there is still much to do and see in Belgium and north france before we come home via ferry kindly reduced in price by Sea France :D
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We are camping in Memling Camping in Brugge after finding that every other campsite in the TomTom’s directory has been replaced with a hotel or shopping mall! Not good.

We decided to go into Brugge last night as I and Dale have both not been there for many years. The place has changed with less chocolate shops and more resturants charging estortionate prices and trying to make you eat rabbit!

We brought some chocolates for our Nephews and then brought some FAT Cuban cigars for ourselves we were still in the celebrating mood! After walking around the town and Dale finally deciding that chocolate penis’s and vaginas would make perfect gifts we headed back to the main square and had a crepe and smoked our cigars. They were very nice as were the crepes! The man gave out free green olives with the drinks aswell which was pretty sweet!
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We headed back to the campsite and I cooked tea…Dale went on a mission to find beer and didn’t tell me so his tea kinda went coldish doh! Nevermind he got his beer!

Tomorrow we are heading off on a battlefield tour!

Stats:
Horse and Cart now seen:95
Crepes eaten:4
Stella’s drunk:2
People who told us off in McDonalds for not tidying rubbish before going to toilet!:1

Posted by LizaBrooks 00:06 Archived in Belgium Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Run down of the Trip! 35 Countries in 28days by car

Special thanks to, Bathwick tyres, Sea France (discounted ferry due to Charity P&O can kiss my ass from now on!) and the hundreds of people who have helped us with directions and advice along the way!

sunny 23 °C
View Liza Mission to Visit EVERY country in Europe this year! on LizaBrooks's travel map.

Well I hope if you have been reading my blog while Dale and I have been away that you have enjoyed being kept updated with our trials and tribulations. We have successfully made it around pretty much the whole of Europe in my mums old banger of a car and we are I am pleased to say still in one piece as is the car! We have had so many great times and memories we will cherish forever! We are now in the progress of planning our next BIG adventure we were thinking a East Coast USA road trip but that would be childs play compared to this so read on at the end to see what we have planned :D

I've listed some highlights or key memories from each of the places we went to below!

Amsterdam: This place brings shopping around right up to a whole new level!
Germany: Lots of wasps in the restaurant!
Copenhagen: Carlsberg…probably the worst brewery tour in the world!
Stockholm: The Swedish girls aren’t quite as hot as they look on the TV (according to Dale ☹)
Party boat: “They don’t know fucking Cascada!”
Helsinki: its not a real Sauna if its not over 100degC and your taking the brace position.
Estonia (Parnu): Where were the mud baths?
Lithuania: Can nothing really be this big?
Latvia: where McDonalds is out to kill you from sodium OD!
Poland (Auschwitz): Christian retreats rock! And Nazi’s I hope you all are burning good in HELL!
Czech Republic: A fly by!
Slovakia: Probably the best McDonalds in the world!
Hungary (Budapest): The new Stag and Hen location of choice! AWESOME Spa at Hotel Gellert.
UKRAINE: Possibly hell on earth…If I ever go here again it will be too soon!
Moldova: The shocker of the trip…poorest place in Europe swanky capital and really nice people. Good roads too!
Romania: Community dogs.
Bulgaria: Toliet and shower in same cubical pretty gross but 12p shots means after a few you won’t notice anyway.
Turkey: Navigating Istanbul was really easy??? WTF?
Greece: Where are all the gaz stations?!?!?
Macedonia: Various products of inbreeding…also fat girl begging for food.
Albania: Freespirited drivers on traitorous alpine roads.
Montenegro: “They don’t know fucking Cascada!” possibly the worst DJ’s in the world? ‘You’re Poison!...Poison running through my veins”
Serbia: Interesting border control?
Bosnia: Killer tuna!
Croatia: Horse burgers and slow service?
Slovinea: Expensive duty free cigarettes
Italy: FUCKING expensive tolls!
San Marino: the McDonalds with probably the best view in the world
France: I want a yacht and I want that one!
Monaco: I want a Ferrari and I want that one!
Switzerland: No more tolls hurrah!
Liechtenstein: Where no one knows their mother tongue.
Austria: In and out!
Luxembourg: Champagne and chicken…we’ve done it (following our quick drop into Belgium tonight)
Belgium: Probably the place Liza found out she is probably no longer allergic to peanuts!

ULTIMATE STATS:
Dead community dogs:21
Dead pet dogs:1
Dead pet cats: 7
Horse and cart:95
Ferrari’s raced:1
Aston Martins Raced:1
Number of passers by amused by our antics in traffic jam: hundreds
Number of times we could get Dales mum to say “Oh My God” in one conversation: 7
Total number of nights spent in car:7
Countries Mcdonalds visited: 20
Best McFlurry: Smarties with Caramel!
Best bigMAC: Slovakia
Number of Cyclists nearly killed: 7
Nazi memorabilia stolen: 2

Regrets of the trip:
Going to the Ukraine/not speaking Russian
Not stealing the cute puppy from Romania to give it a better life in England
Not asking the begging Romanian boy how much he earnt in a day and giving it to him and telling him to take the day off and have a bath!
Not giving all our money to the begging boy in Macedonia ☹
Not going back for a second look at the inbred girl in Macedonia.
Not counting the number of times Dales mum said “oh My God” in one conversation sooner.
Not thinking of playing the McDonalds game before we got to Bosnia.
Not stealing someones yacht/car/house/something else of stupid value
Not having PS3 in car with Nazi Zombie game for playing

If we could have done things differently?
Avoid the Ukraine (we had 34 countries anyway with our sneaky Czech Rep detour!)
Get a satnav which covered all of Europe
Learn Russian prior to leaving
Get a lonely planet for western Europe
Not trust people who say they use Euros in Bulgaria
Change Estonian money before leaving the country

Where we will be going back and would recommend you go to!
Amsterdam
Copenhagen!
Party boat
Parnu
EVERYONE should visit Auschwitz so we as a human race never forget the terrible things that happened there!
Budapest - I am planning on going there again VERY soon!
Chisnau in Moldova! This place rocks and your a millionaire with £10 (well not really but your money goes a long way)
Bulgaria - take your own porta loo!
Constantana in Romania (this is a up and coming bulgaria in our opinion!)
Macedonia - lake was beautiful
Budva AWESOME atmosphere if not the worst DJ's on the planet
Croatia
Italy (great pizza!)
Monaco
Cannes
Liectenstien
Brugge!

Where we would advise you not to go...
Ukraine

So this concludes the write up for the trip. At the moment we are in Brugge Belgium and enjoying cigars sunshine and beer. We are hoping to reach our £2000 target for money for Bath RUH NICU. Please do make a donation on our just giving site.

Now where are we planning next...well I hear the Caribbean is nice...where exactly you might ask? Well how about all of it!

Posted by LizaBrooks 11:16 Archived in Belgium Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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