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Reborn in the desert

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After midnight, It’s a full moon night, every this is quite, all went to sleep and in the middle of nature, it all starts. Hot water springing up and warming our cold bodies at  10 *C in January. The moon is shedding silver light on the scene. You can’t see much, actually there isn’t much to see around the water spring. A few bushes here and there, suddenly you are in the middle of the clouds with the steam coming out from the hot water. It really looks like you are swimming among the clouds on the rhythms of an everlasting Bedouin song.

This is how we started our three days journey to Al- Farfra oasis,  New Valley governorate.  The trip took about six hours drive from Cairo to our destination. The destination is almost 550 kilometers away from Cairo, but we made three stops during our journey to rest and have coffee etc.

Welcome treat

By the time we arrived to Badaweya hotel  the sun was gone. Each checked into his room in the traditionally designed hotel as separated chalets with domes at the top. Of course everyone was very hungry. We enjoyed a welcome treat of mandarins and dates from the hotel gardens, while our dinner was being prepared.  Dinner started with hot creamy lentil soup followed by roasted chicken with potatoes, mahshy i.e. stuffed vigutables, rice and salad, all homemade style.

After dinner we gathered around fire and enjoyed Bedouin tea. Some were too cold to join,and only six of us decided to take the adventure of swimming in the water spring in the middle of the night.  Our guide from the hotel drove us in a Pajero to the spring, about ten minutes from the hotel.

Healthy natural spa

Besides the marvelous scenery of swimming under the beautiful stars, bathing in hot water springs is very healthy. This water contains a variety of minerals like calcium and sodium bicarbonate. The minerals in the water, helps relief stress and heat relaxes tense muscles. It’s also good for Rheumatism and other  joints  problems in general. It smoothes and softens the skin, plus the properties of sulfur water can relieve eczema. It’s also good for the heart and whole body nourish , moreover , it improves sleep.“Saad” our guide said that swimming at night in hot spring keeps you warm for the rest of the night, where the temperature goes down to 8 or 9 *C.

* Bonus: You don’t have to shower after swimming in a hot water spring. It’s better to leave the minerals do its magic work on your skin.

I woke the first morning in my warm bed room, rays of sun coming from the circle window up the high wall. Spacious bed and a room decorated with Bedouin style and desert rocks. The living room has a traditional chimney and fridge and TV ; I doubt you’ll ever of using it.

 

Sunny breakfast

Unlike the cold night, morning was sunny and warm. We enjoyed our breakfast by the pool. Traditional “foul and Taameya” eggs, cheese, salads, yogurt, and “halawa bar” you need a lot of these at night to give you power.

Green morning

We started off to the old gardens; a massive gardens of palm trees,  citrus and olives that has been there for ages. You can try climbing the palm tree and get fresh dates, but be careful not to get caught. After a refreshing walk amongst different shades of green, we moved to the farm, ten minutes drive from the old gardens, a unique combination of desert rocks, and green land. We walked among old clay houses and met some nice farm cows and donkeys.  We found a shaded spot on a golden ground. Golden yellow tree leaves covered the place and it was about time to have a small snack. Bedouin tea and dates dipped in virgin olive oil a total new extravaganza combination. The sun is about leave and we took off to the hot water spring. A different spring where you can stand and the water will cover you up to the nick. The hot water pores on you from a man made tube. It runs down strongly giving you the best natural Jacuzzi experience in the world. The minerals in the water turned its color into more red color, so it’s normal to feel like you’re swimming in tomato soup. It’s ok; some springs have clearer water than others.

Desert evenings usually starts with the dinner around 6 pm. Taking a walk around  Farafra town, then gathering around fire camp enjoying the melodies of bedioun “nay”, traditional songs and dances. Or you can merely observe the stars spread sky or go swimming in the water spring.

Nature Master piece

On the third day, we went on our major adventure of all. After thirty minutes drive we arrived at one of kind in the world, the White desert or “ elsahara elbeeda” . It’s a national protected area where sand storms, over time, has created nature master pieces of rock formations. The massive chalk rock forest has taken many shapes; the most famous one is  the mushroom which is the symbol of the nature reserve. Also there is The Rabbit and The Chicken rocks and you can spend your day imaging what other shapes you can find there. Millions of years ago this area was a big sea, that’s why you can find fossils in limestone. Another ten minutes drive we passed by “Ein Khadra” a small oasis in the middle of the desert where you can meet some funny camels. There is also the black desert. Then we arrived at another type of desert with colored sand rocks, with different shades of red, green, yellow and black marvelous formations. Our last stop was in an ice cream-like desert, it has smooth white surface as if you have fallen into a vanilla ice cream bucket. This was our spot for a quick snack before sunset, Then we headed back to the hotel.

Crystal road

On the fourth day, we woke up early, had breakfast and got ready to go back to Cairo.  Some authentic shopping is a must; you get to choose from a variety of local dates and pure olive oil. Also there is a range of different handmade wool products that make a wonderful souvenir like gloves, scarves, and wool rugs. On the way we made a very important stop at the Crystal Mountain. It’s part of The White Desert nature reserve. The sand there is literally glowing. Natural crystals are everywhere behind a dark gloomy rock mountain; a spectacular sightseeing.  Then we continued our journey back to the capital.

Three days seemed out of this universe. As if you have travelled back to the very old times,pure, virgin nature all around you. You enjoy fresh air, glowing sky day and night. You are relaxed  and enchanted i.e. you are reborn.

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Tahrir’s Egyptian Museum receives guests for free on Tuesday

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Minister of Antiquities Khaled al-Anani announced opening the Egyptian Museum to the public for free on Tuesday for locals and foreigners residing in Egypt, marking the 116th anniversary of the museum’s opening.

During the ceremony organized by the ministry on Monday at the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir square, Anani said that the Egyptian Museum is the first reference to all archaeological museums in the world, as it contains over 160,000 unique and varied artifacts, noting that the museum will not be affected by the transfer of the Tutankhamun collection to Giza’s Grand Egyptian Museum, which is currently under construction.

Thepresence of as many as 31 ministers and over 34 ambassadors and cultural advisers confirms the Egyptian state’s interest in history and civilization and its strong support for heritage, Anani said.

Anani said that the Antiquities Ministry began to implement a plan of development of the Egyptian Museum, which includes exhibiting antiquitiesthat will replace the collection of Tutankhamun, as about 4,500 objects were already transferred to Giza’s new museum.

The development process is funded by a grant from the European Union for a period of seven years, Anani said, adding that the plan is implemented by the Ministry of Antiquities and an association of the directors of five European museums, including the Turin’s Egyptian Museum in Italy,London’s British Museum, the Louvre Museum in Paris, and the Egyptian Museum of Berlin.

Sabah Abdel Razek, director general of the Egyptian Museum of Liberation, said Monday that the celebration of the 116th anniversary of the opening of the Egyptian Museum coincides with the presentation of rare relics of the royal tomb, Yuya and Tuya.

In an interview with al-Youm on dmc, Abdel Razek said that the archaeological collection has replaced the Tutankhamun collection, which was moved this year to the Grand Museum.

She explained that the artifacts of theYuya and Tuya tomb werecompletely discovered in 1905, about three years after the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir was officially inaugurated.

The Egyptian Museum

The Egyptian Museum is home to the largest collection of ancient Egyptian antiquities in the world. It displays 120,000 artifacts. The museum was first build in 1835 near Al-Azbakeyah Garden and in 1855 it was moved to the Cairo Salaheddin Citadel.

In 1855, the Egyptian government gave Archduke Maximilian of Austria many of the artifacts that are now in the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.

In 1858, following the establishment of Egypt’s Antiquities Service under the direction of French archaeologist August Mariette, a new museum was established at Boulaq’s Nile bank.

But regretfully in 1878, the building suffered significant damage from the Nile River flooding. In 1892, the collections were moved to a former royal palace in Giza where they remained safe until 1902 when the museum in Tahrir Square was built.

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TOURISM INDUSTRY IN EGYPT IS RECOVERING

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According to the tourism minister, the figures of tourists visiting the country raised up to 40 percent in the first nine months of 2018 from a year earlier; where Egypt is recovering from the collapse that began back in 2011 and remained stubbornly persistent.

“We expect that by the end of 2018 we will not be at the levels that we’ve seen in 2010, but we are approaching that,” Rania Al-Mashat -tourism minister- declared in an interview. She added, “The rebound is quite steep and we’re trying to put the industry on a competitive base compared to our peers.”

The minister also gave a hint about the government plans to announce a new private equity fund to upgrade its hotels as well as new investment opportunities on islands in the Red Sea.

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Egypt Is The Most Valuable, Says Lonely Planet

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egypt

The world’s biggest travel publisher, Lonely Planet, named Egypt the most valuable destination of 2019.

The website specified Southern Nile Valley, as one of Egypt’s best places to travel to, stressing that its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019. Lonely Planet wrote this beautiful captivating passage on their website: “Egypt’s Southern Nile Valley is the flag-bearer for the country’s return to travel’s super league, and its near-incomparable historical itinerary represents a superb deal for travelers in 2019. For starters, world-class ancient sites hugging the Nile south from Luxor to Aswan are accessible for a few dollars. If you’re on a cruise, food and land transport will be included; otherwise, it’s easy to make inexpensive arrangements for all but a handful of big-ticket temples and tombs, which are more than worth the admission price themselves.”

The annual report showed that Egypt welcomed about 8.5 million tourists during 2017 with a 55.1 percent increase, compared to the same period of 2016. Go Egypt!

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