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Bubbles from the Blue My life has been a bit of a journey, this is just one little part of it, currently blowing bubbles in a little town called Sharm el Sheikh...

Nuweiba Chill

EGYPT | Saturday, 21 May 2011 | Views [748]

This week, we decided that a couple of days' chilling out on the beach, back to basics, in Nuweiba was on the cards. Well... it was my birthday, so rather than spending it working, as usual, we decided to turn it into a weekend getaway, and head out of town for a change.

Despite being such a tourist resort, Sharm really is quite isolated, with Dahab being the nearest town in one direction (a good hour's drive) and El Tor the nearest town in the other (again another hour's drive), with desert to the North, and sea to the South, it is rather like living on an island. Therefore, any trip to another town is quite an exciting event. The seven of us were in high spirits as we headed off on our little desert adventure.

We decided to leave early and make the most of our few days off, so the jeep was packed and we were on the road almost by our planned time of eight am. Ok... it was probably a touch more like nine by the time we had all collected everything, and each other, but we do live in Egypt, so a little lee way has to be given when it comes to time keeping on our days off.

We met up with our buddies in their car at the Sharm el Sheikh checkpoint, then head out into the desert for the first leg of our journey.

The Group... Minus Mia... playing photographer :D

I have already described the beauty of the desert in previous posts, however every time we meander through these dramatic mountains, starkly standing tall, against the brightest of azure blue skies, I am blown away. There is little or no rainfall here (aside from a couple of storms last winter.. the first proper storms in six years), so the peachy, pink rock really is quite bereft of moisture or greenery. Only in the valleys and wadis do we find the remains of vivid, green, desert shrubs together with the odd acacia tree still hanging in there, under the relentless sunshine hammering down on them. Their roots are no doubt plunging deep into the rocky soil, tapping on some elusive dribble of remaining dampness.

The Road Ahead:

A short stop in Dahab simply had to be taken, about halfway through our trip, with a short breakfast at the German Bakery, which was most appreciated. We supped on our coffees in the shady garden, whilst enjoying a selection of still warm croissants, cakes and patisseries, straight out of the oven. Delicious.

Once fed and watered, we were back on track, heading North again. We had another phase of driving through desert, wrapped in mountains, before suddenly, in a flash of turquoise we were returned to the coast.  From here on, we were flanked with the sea to our right and mountains climbing up to our left. In the distance, across the water, in a haze of misty pink we could even see Saudi Arabia rising up on the opposite side of the gulf.

On arrival at Camp Bawaki, we all tumbled out of the cars and into the sunshine. Being slightly further North, and with that wonderful, Northerly breeze, we were greeted with a slightly more refreshing temperature than Sharm, so as soon as we were allocated to our cabins, we piled onto the beach for some fun. With a whole beach to ourselves, this is the reason we come to Nuweiba... our own beach, no music (unless we choose to provide it), no wall to wall sunloungers, no incessant animation teams calling out "volleyball" for their beach games.. just general peace and quiet with a few close friends. Hmmm I really am showing my age now aren't I?

It turns out Mia had wisely thought ahead, and just as I saw Katie inflating a giant rubber ring and thought "Ahh what a great idea, why didn't I think of that?" she produced a small package "An early birthday present". Yes you guessed,... it was a lilo. What a perfect gift. So my first half hour on the beach was spent turning  blue in the face, as I rescue breathed and wrestled with the lilo until it was relatively buoyant. Time to collapse onto it and into the sea to recover.

So the rest of our morning was spent in and on the sea, enjoying the cool, but foolishly getting a teeny bit fried in the sunshine... oops. We should really know better by now.

Our next port of call was a secret restaurant built into the mountains called Castle Zaman. Created using ancient building methods, no concrete or steel used here, it is all wood and local stone. In fact it so blends into the mountain itself, that if you didn't know it was there, you could find yourself driving straight past, without even realising it existed.

Here they have created a small plunge pool as well, so we could chill out on their mini "beach" whilst our food was being slow roasted in the ovens. Huge joints of beef and turkey were surrounded by vegetables in earthenware pots, and slowly, slowly cooked for hours, before being presented to us sat at handmade wooden tables. For someone who was a vegetarian many years ago, I do admit that this was a touch carnivorous, however it was totally delicious.

The next day brought my actual birthday which began with a walk along the beach.

Footprints at Dawn:

On our return, we ate a traditional Egyptian breakfast of falafel, eggs, bread and bean foul (pronounced "fool") in the shady, beach "restaurant" of the camp. This was  followed by much lounging on said beach and later, a delicious barbecue to which we had all contributed, having pre-prepared, seasoned and brought the food with us. Yes I know... more meat... and I will say, more wine. With Egypt not renowned for its wine making, we had brought some imported wine with us to celebrate, and boy was it worth it. I am not a particularly fussy wine drinker, however I do like my wines light and refreshing, so was most appreciative of our little box of imported Sauvignon Blanc... hmmm perfect on a hot and sunny afternoon.

Jim flies his supercool kite

With our weekender almost over, we snoozed, chilled on the beach and tried flying the super cool kite (I must admit I was far too chilled and far to engrossed in lilo racing with Jo by this stage to join in with the flying).

The next day, after a relaxed morning, chatting over breakfast, we took the road South once more, heading back through the desert mountains down to Sharm el Sheikh.

Tags: beach, nuweiba, sharm el sheikh


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