Sunday, June 28, 2009

Short Weekend in Ain Sokhna

Summer has officially started and it's daylight saving time now in Egypt GMT +3! After visiting the Red Sea beach resort in Sharm El-Sheikh, I decided to spend a weekend in the opposite coast of the Red Sea, Ain Sokhna, which is only about one and a half hour away from Cairo by car. The Sokhna road connecting the capital to the Red Sea coast was excellent and the drive was a breeze.

But in the end, it still took me over four hours to get to our resort Stella Di Mare. Without a map of Ain Sokhna, I took the wrong turn when I reached the coast and I just keep driving on and on and on... 100 over km down in the direction of Hurghada. The Red Sea was beautiful and we even come across a huge wind farm along the way. All is fine as we have time and our boy is sleeping soundly in his car seat. But when the gas was getting low, I started to feel worried wondering what will happen if we did not have enough gas for the return leg and the next gas station is far away. Fortunately, a gas station was in sight and we stopped for a break, refilled the tank and asked for directions. When I uttered "Stelle Di Mare", the lady was taken aback, "Stella Di Mare is very far from here, at least 100km away"... her finger pointing to the direction I came from. Okay.... so we headed back into the car and started retracing the coastal road... all the way back to the point where the Sokhna Road meets the coast. We stopped a few times for directions to make sure we were not lost this time. Ha, we managed to reach Stella at about 4pm, almost 5 hours after we left Cairo!

We stayed at the 4-star Sea Club Hotel as the 5-star Grand Stella was fully booked. The carpark was full to the brim but I was lucky to find a tight spot with the help of the security. To make up for lost time, we headed straight for the beach. The Red Sea was a very nice view and the water is warm and crystal clear. We had a great time at the beach, had pizza, which was half eaten by scavenging crows. The only pain was from the jelly fish. Both LeLe and I were bitten. The kind waiter at the beach bar gave us some vinegar to apply on the bites, apparently the antidote. The reddish marks healed in a couple of hours later.

So the next day we decided to go for a dip in the pool just outside our villa instead of going to the beach and risk the jelly fish bites. Our boy had a very enjoyable time and I too had a chance to relax and take a break from work. It was a short holiday and we checked out after the swim and headed back to Cairo. Again, we were lost and I wasn't sure of the way to connect to the Ring Road at the end of the Sokhna Road. We spent a good hour circling the New Cairo before I managed to find myself near the Cairo Airport where I can finally find my way to the City Stars for our grocery shopping. Not too bad at all!

Check out the photos we have taken:

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