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As I sit here looking outside my window at the snow I’m feeling very nostalgic about my wonderful holiday I had in the summer in Egypt.
My 8 year old daughter and I spent two weeks in Sharm El Shekh in August. Sadly my husband couldn’t come with as it was the Olympics and he had to work. It was the first time I had ever been away without another adult!
I decided to go to Egypt as I had been so many times and knew it so well. I thought it would be an easy choice given that I would be on my own with Emily.
Last year we also visited as a family and flew with EasyJet but due to their delays and ultimate cancelled flight which resulted in spending a not very pleasant 10 hours in Sharm El Shekh’s airport decided to fly with Thomson instead.
So off we went! Once we arrived the immediate heat hits you the second you step off the plane. And of course the second we got off Emily needed the toilet! If you’re travelling to Egypt for the first time be warned that any toilets not belonging to a 5 star hotel stink! I always carry tissues and liquid hand soap with me too.
Once we had collected our luggage with no glitches we were off on to our coaches. I had packed as light as possible as I didn’t’ want to end up having to carry Emily’s suitcase as well. To be fair to Emily though she is a seasoned traveller and actually helped me lol.
Thirty minutes later we arrived at the gorgeous Magic Life resort. Our room was lovely with a nice view of the smaller pool. Upon arrival we also received the obligatory towel animal that the house staffs cleverly make (until you stop tipping that is lol).
Our days were then busy with sunbathing, Emily spent the afternoons at the kids club whilst I joined the aerobic exercises (the first week that is – by the second week I was too wrapped up in the 50 Shades of Grey trilogy!!).
The entertainment staff were amazing and honestly think that’s what made our holiday. The productions they put on in the Amphitheatre were of such a high standard. Every night they would have different themes as well as parties. The pool party was great fun as was the beach party. Of course we had to have a go at the bingo which Emily won – one of the highlights for her!
Egypt is obviously very family focused and I was conscious that I was the only single mother staying in the resort at that time. There were few other single people there. Magic Life did have a “singles club” where every night and in the day there would be activities for lone travellers. However as there were so many children’s activities Emily made so many friends and I too befriended their parents and was very fortunate enough to make some wonderful friends too. So much so that one of the dad’s looked after the kids whilst me and the other mum went into town for the night!
No holiday is complete without food and the food was lovely. As well as the main restaurant they also had several other smaller ones which were all part of the “all inclusive deal”, the Thai one being a favourite of mine! They also had a fish restaurant and a Mediterranean one. Every day they would also serve tea in the afternoon and have a delicious selection of very sweet and yummy cakes.
As I previously mentioned I’ve travelled extensively round Egypt many times. This time we decided not to venture out to Cairo. I didn’t fancy going on my own with Emily and didn’t really want to go down the tour bus scene. However no trip to Sharm El Shekh is without quad biking in the desert. A really fun experience although can be quite scary – there were times when I couldn’t see as I had sand in my eyes. It was a miracle I didn’t crash!!
One of the highlights was also swimming with dolphins. I’m not sure who enjoyed it more, me or Emily!
Many people ask me about the safety as well as the political side of things when visiting Egypt. I have always felt incredibly safe there. The Egyptian people are so friendly and welcoming. That said in the market’s they can be quite aggressive and annoying to some people. I find that a bit of banter and laughter goes a long way though!
Egyptians love children and Emily was and is treated like a princess over there – I’m pretty sure that’s one of the reasons why she loves visiting there too.
As we were all inclusive we only had to pay when we went out of the hotel. Taxi’s from the hotel were very expensive (for Egyptian standard) but I went on the street instead and hailed one from there.
Egypt is a beautiful country where the people will bend over backwards to help you. If you’re thinking of visiting and haven’t been before I really recommend you do your homework on hotels. With over 400 (and growing) hotels in Sharm El Shekh alone there are more “bad” hotels than good. Their 3 star ratings are the equivalent of our 1 star so do bear that in mind. If in doubt chose a branded hotel like the Hilton (I visited there last year and it was lovely).
I have never been ill in Egypt but I know many people have and it can really break a holiday if you end up with a dodgy tummy. Before you go I recommend taking probiotics (Actimel is very good). I also took probiotic vitamins with me.
If you’re looking for a hot, luxury and cost effective holiday I highly recommend you check out Egypt and visit Sharm El Shekh – you won’t be disappointed.