Posts tagged ‘Egypt’

Again in Brussels

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

I took some days off to visit one of my new European favorite cities, Brussels. It was just 3 months since I was in Brussels last time, on my way to Dahab. After two months in Egypt it’s was very refreshing to be back in Europe. The contrasts were big, like the gray weather which I had missed so much and the quietness even though the city is big.

Brussels is very idyllic with green parks and beautiful streets. Most people are happy and smiling here, but at the same time they are “trapped” in their boxed every day lives not integrating with the people around them. Here, for example, people look strange at you if you start a conversation or smile to a person that you don’t know. While it’s very relaxing to be back in a “civilized” city I can also miss Egypt where you start conversations with random people on the street several times per day.

Belgian tree

Bois de la Cambre

Brussels bus

Brussels lake

Brussels park

Etang d Ixelles

Flower girl

Belgian swan in Brussels

Mirror effect

Belgian graffiti

Graffiti Bruxelles

Jupiler Belgium

Abstract plants

Atomium Brussels

Alexandria pictures

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

After Cairo I decided to see Alexandria which many Egyptians had recommended to me. Alexandria is a big city, like Cairo, but situated next to the sea. What I liked most about this city was the local market and the incredibly fresh and tasty market food.

Again, more Egypt pictures, this time from Alexandria:

Alexandria beach

Alexandria harbor

Alexandria boat

Alexandria fish market
Fish market in Alexandria

Boat building
Boat building

Alexandria barber

Alexandria car

Alexandria festival

Alexandria market

Alexandria fish

Alexandria food

Sugar factory Egypt
Fun map over Alexandria

Alexandria library
Alexandria’s new library with a lot of interesting museums inside

Egypt revolution pictures
Photographic exhibition with pictures of the Egyptian revolution

Egypt police

Alexandria cafe

Cairo pictures

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

On the way out from Egypt I visited Cairo for some days. I really loved this vibrant city although travelling inside the city can take a long time due to the size of the city and that you have to change transport system a lot of times to get from point A to point B.

A lot of people ask me about the safety in Egypt right now, specially in Cairo, due to the political status. Because of how media is showing the country people get the idea that the whole country is dangerous to visit both now and in the near future. What I could see from my travels there and with people I spoke to this is far from the truth. The police and even the military are back on the streets and Cairo are back to normal again with a safe feeling. Most of the other cities in Egypt was never affected by the revolution, besides from having less tourists.

Here are some pictures from last week in Cairo and around:

Cafe in Cairo

Cairo citadel
The Citadel

Cairo city view
City view with the Giza pyramids

Cairo mosque

Muhammad Ali mosque
Muhammad Ali mosque

Cairo prayers

Modern church
Modern church with LCD TV and roof fans

Midan Tahrir
Midan Tahrir square

Talaat Harb
Talaat Harb street, Tahrir Square

Cairo protester

Egyptian car
Typical Egyptian car with decorations

Red pyramid
The Red pyramid

Bent pyramid
The Bent pyramid (2600 BC)

Saqqara
Saqqara Step pyramid of Djoser (2648 BC)

Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs inside Saqqara tomb

Palm forest
Dade palm forest

Camel spider
Camel spider

Egypt kite

Egypt revolution graffiti

Egypt satellite TV

Cairo sunset

Egypt to Jordan (Dahab to Petra)

Friday, July 8th, 2011

A lot of people continue east after Egypt/Dahab and most of them go to Petra. There are one-day-tours from Dahab for example for the people who want to do it the easy way. These cost a bit more then 200 euro and will let you stay in Petra a total of 3 (!) hours. Instead of this I recommend you to stay in Petra for a few days, and here is how to do it:


Egypt to Jordan

To travel to Jordan from Egypt is most easy done with the ferry from Nuweiba in Egypt to Aqaba in Jordan. There are two ferries with departures every day:

Fast ferry (1 hour), price 70 USD.
Slow ferry (3 hours), price 60 USD.

In Nuweiba you can only pay your ferry tickets in USD while in Aqaba you can use both USD and JOD. If you plan to go back the same way you will save money buying a return ticket at the same time.

On top of the ferry price you have to pay around 5 euro in departure tax. As with all transportation in Egypt, count with delays.

To go to Nuweiba, take the bus from Dahab which costs 1½ euro. From Cairo, the cost of the bus to Nuweiba should be around 10 euro.


Entry visa for Jordan

A normal entry visa for Jordan cost 30 USD but if you enter through Aqaba (with the ferry like described above) you get a free visa to Jordan. Get the visa on board the ferry. In other case you only have 48 hours to register with the Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority visa office after arriving, to get the free visa.


Aqaba to Petra

After arrival to Aqaba the best thing is to stay there overnight (around 9 euro for a hostel) and wait for the bus, which costs 8 euro. If you decide to go to Petra directly by taxi instead, this will set you back around 30 euro.


Petra entrance fee

To get into Petra you need to buy an entrance ticket. The price of the ticket is 50 euro for one day, 55 euro for two days and 60 euro for three days.


Hostels in Petra

For a roof over your head in Petra, count with around 6-7 euro per night. It can be a good idea to book a hostel in advance to guarantee a place when you arrive.


Total price for Petra trip from Egypt

An estimated total price one way travel from Dahab to Petra including a 3 day ticket and hostel for three nights: 145 euro

In Cairo

Monday, July 4th, 2011

Cairo is a great contrast after Dahab. Too bad I will only stay here a few days, but I will come back.

Tahrir square on a Friday

The picture is from the Tahrir Square where the 2011 Egyptian Revolution took place and where they still have demonstrations every Friday. More pictures from Cairo will come later.

Camping in Ras Muhammad

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

Sometimes things just come to you when you wish for them. One recent example is that I really wanted to visit Ras Muhammad one more time before leaving Egypt in about a week from now. What happened to me was, one morning a girl I met the day before called me and asked me to join her and her free diver friends to camp one night at the Ras Muhammad. They were leaving town within 15 minutes so it was a quick decision followed by rush packing. Just a moment later we were leaving Dahab in a rented car full of free diving and scuba diving equipment, heading out for Ras Muhammad.

The group was very mixed, with 8 people from Russia, Brazil, Argentina, France and me from Sweden. We also had a big dog with us (“Hurry”) who was currently traveling the world, on his way to Bali. Dogs (and camping) are not allowed in Ras Muhammad, but we managed to talk the guards to let us pass with him.

When we arrived everybody went into the water directly, followed by a Argentinian barbecue and some vodka. The weather was warm and there were no problem sleeping under the stars, except for some biting flies and mosquito which i still have 50+ dots from.

The next day we went up early and went free diving in Shark Reef. Everybody were excited for what we would see, and like the day before we again find a shark (or he found us). This time, the about 1½ meter shark swim up to one of us to check him out. Also, we found a lot of turtles and other beautiful animals during the 2½ hour swimming in strong current.

After Shark Reef, we went back to the first reef to do some combined free- and scuba diving and then head back home to Dahab.

Note: If you are trying this for yourself, have long sleeves and a sleeping bag with you. Be very careful with the current, and don’t get into the water if you are not familiar with how it is moving at that specific reef. Drink a lot of water and stay in the shade, as one of us got dehydrated and had to go to the hospital.

Shark bay Sharm

Ras Muhammad guitar in the morning

Ras Muhammad camping

Shark bay Sharm Egypt

Ras Muhammad stingray

Ras Muhammad shark reef

Freediving Ras Muhammad

Ras Muhammad big fish

Ras Muhammad Yolanda reef

Ras Muhammad big school of fish

Ras Muhammad fishes

Ras Muhammad free diving

Ras Muhammad napoleon fish

Ras Muhammad toilets

 

Ras Muhammad turtle

Ras Muhammad swimming turtle

Ras Muhammad freediving

Windsurfing in Dahab

Sunday, June 26th, 2011

Windsurfing is getting bigger and bigger here in Dahab, with some specific coast spots designated for this sport. If you travel to Dahab and want to learn how to windsurf by taking a course, or if you are a professional and want to rent equipment at a center where you can meet other windsurfers, the starting point for you should be the Lagoona. Along this beach, which is the only real sand beach in Dahab, you will find ten or so wind surfing centers together with kite surfing and other water activities like wakesurfing, wakeboarding, water skiing and more.

The price to rent wind surfing equipment are from 15 euro per hour to 105 euro for a whole week. For a one week course (10 hours total), be prepared to pay around 150 euro. Be aware that the weather conditions change a lot from day to day, so don’t book a course if you only have 5 days here, as 2 of them might be to windy for you to practice.

To find the beach, walk 30 minutes out from Mashraba along the coast out from Dahab, or take a pickup taxi for 50 cent and ask for the “Lagoona”.

If you are looking for scuba diving or snorkeling, then this is NOT the place for you. Instead go to the “Lighthouse” inside the center of Dahab.

I was lucky enough a while ago to get stuck on the beach with some friends at night time after wind surfing, and without we knowing about it in advance we witnessed a full moon eclipse from there. A night like taken from a fairy tale!

Windsurfing Dahab

Kitesurfing Dahab

Lagoona/Lagoon Dahab

Scuba diving in Ras Muhammad & SS Thisselgorm

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

Yesterday I did one of the best scuba diving ever in my Life. The day started with getting up at 3 o’clock in the morning to get a 2 hour minibus to Sharm El-Sheikh. From there, we took a boat 3 hours to SS Thisselgorm, in the outskirt of Ras Muhammad. Thisselgorm is a 126 meter long freight ship which sank in 1941 after getting bombed by German bomber planes, and discovered about 10 years later by Jacques-Yves Cousteau. The ship now lies on 30 meters depth with great visibility and still beautifully preserved.

At Thisselgorm we did two dives, one on the outside along the ship and one on the inside. On the inside it is possible to dive 3 levels, with two of the levels levels loaded with motorbikes, trucks and other wartime cargo. The last level is the small kitchen and connected rooms, which have air pockets in them creating an incredible unreal and beautiful mirror effect in the roofs. Don’t try to breath the air though as it is used and somewhat poisonous.

When scuba diving inside the ship you really need to have good buoyancy because most of the rooms are cramped, with you scuba diving on top of vehicles with only half meter to the roof.

After Thisselgorm we headed away with the boat, about two hours in the direction of Sharm El-Sheikh, where we found the two connected dive sites Shark Reef &  Yolanda Reef inside the national park of Ras Muhammad. When entering the water, the things I saw the first 10 minutes was better then any National Geographic documentary. Here, the marine life is abundant and everywhere are 100+ schools  of fish bigger then you have ever seen before. The visibility is superb and feels limitless.

Also in Yolanda Reef is a sunken ship, a freighter that sank in 1986 after the captain allegedly drinking to much and getting to near the reef. The result is a sight which you thought you would never see under water, a small hill of about 30 toilets standing on the bottom of the sea.

After the scuba diving and the one hour boat trip back to the port, we took a break in Sharm El-Sheikh to let the nitrogen levels in our blood get lower before returning to Dahab. This is needed due to the height difference on the road there which in other case can lead to decompression sickness.

All in all, an incredible scuba diving day that resulted in new friends and a wish to go back to Ras Muhammad to explore it further.

Ras Mohamed Sharm El-Sheikh

Ras Muhammad

Ras Mohammed national park

Ras Mohammed diving

Military action in Dahab, Egypt

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

During the last week here in Dahab the military have started to tear down a few illegally built houses. People started building these houses after Egypt’s revolution thinking nobody would care about it, which they didn’t before now.

Because of this, a group of locals have started to do a walking demonstration on one of the main streets every night. This is the first time there are any problems in Dahab in connection with the revolution, not counting the week without phone or internet in the whole Egypt during the demonstrations, and the recent lack of tourism.

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Tuesday, June 21st, 2011

About a week ago I was up on top of Mount Sinai to look at the sunrise over Egypt’s mountains. This is a common thing to do here in Sinai, and although you will not be alone on the top it’s still recommended to go. The sunrise is nice, but even more beautiful is the dark night sky with all the stars visible and a clear view of the Milky Way Galaxy.

To go up to Mount Sinai, take a 2 hour transport from Dahab to Saint Catherine’s Monastery (total price 6-8 euro for two ways) and then walk up the mountain for 1-3 hours depending on how used you are to trekking. If you are lazy it is even possible to ride a camel up half the way. The monastery is around 1500 meter over sea level and the mountain top from where people use to view the sunrise is on 2300 meter. Bring some warm clothes and a lot of water, but there are also cafés on the way up where you even have possibilities to rent a warm blanket from the Bedouins that live in the area.

Remember, if you are scuba diving you need to wait at least 12 hours from your last dive before going up to the mountain, to protect yourself against decompression sickness!

Mount Sinai, Egypt

Mount Sinai mountain

Mount Sinai sunrise

Mount Sinai (Egypt)

Picture of Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai tour

Saint Catherine's monastery camel