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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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