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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
5 Cities to Visit in Russia
Did you know that Russia is is the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth’s inhabited land?!
Hence, Russia offers a unique travelling experience. From treks up the slopes of glacier-capped mountains to strolls along the shoreline of Earth’s oldest lake, Russia is rich with historical and cultural sites and activities.
And since we know a lot of you are flying there to support our national football team, we have brought you 5 Russian cities to visit that also will host the World Cup matches:
Moscow is the capital and most populous city of Russia, with 12.2 million residents in the city and 17.1 million within the urban area. Moscow is known for its tremendous history, art and culture; it also has the world’s largest community of billionaire. Moscow is known to be a hub for the creatives and intellectuals. Moscow is the city that has it all. You don’t want to miss the best museums, galleries and cultural institution like the Tretyakov Gallery and Pushkin Fine Arts Museum. And whether or not you are into the Russian literature, you need to check Pushkin Memorial Museum, the Tolstoy House Museum, the Dostoevsky House Museum, the Mayakovsky Museum and Gogol Memorial Rooms. And of course, you will take a walk around Kremlin, Red Square and Saint Basil’s Cathedral The big city also has a variety of fashion stores, night clubs, bars and restaurant.
With over 2,000 libraries, 220 museums, and 80 theaters, Saint Petersburg is regarded as Russia’s most European and forward-looking city, it is as well listed as a historic center by the UNESCO. St. Petersburg has a fascinating network of canals lined with eye-catching Baroque and Neoclassical architecture. Make sure to take a look at the world-famous Mariinsky Theatre, the Peter and Paul Fortress, and the Vasilyevsky Island. The former capital of Russia also is rich with museums like the Hermitage and the Russian Museum. Nevsky Prospekt is the city’s main avenue and its premier destination for shopping, dining, and nightlife.
located on the Black Sea coast, Sochi is Russia’s largest resort and makes a great holiday destination technically in any season. The city has a mix of sunny beaches, luxury hotels, world-class restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and countless cultural and natural attractions. Sochi hosted the 2014 Olympic and Paralympic games.
known as one of the beautiful cities in Russia by locals. Kazan has an outstanding diversity in culture and religions with beautiful mosques and cathedrals. The city hosted hosted numerous international tournaments, including fencing, hockey, and aquatics.
The city is worldly known as the space and aviation capital of Russia. Besides the Aviation Institute, Samara offers beautiful beaches along the Volga and plenty of old charming buildings contrasted with Soviet monuments and architecture. the city also has Great Mosque of Samarra that you should totally pay a visit.
Post Long Holiday Syndrome: How to Avoid the stress
I doubt that anyone can put into words how scary and frustrating it is to go back to Cairo and mundane life after a long weekend. It was only yesterday when you woke up by the sea having a very lazy morning, and the next day you are running around your room getting ready for work; and instead of taking long walks by the beach, you get stuck for countless hours in Cairo traffic.
Well, we can’t agree more that the struggle is real, that we had to find some ways to adjust. Here are our thoughts to make the experience less traumatic:
There is no place like home:
Although I don’t agree 100% with that phrase, your home can make you feel less traumatized about going back to your materialistic routine. Feeling home after a long weekend can make you feel safe, relaxed and not so distressed about coming back after all. Try to make your place as homey as possible, decorate it the way it makes you feel comfortable and add something you bought from your trips to it. Keep your place tidy and clean before you leave for your vacation, because coming back to a messy room will only make you feel worse.
Light Up Incense:
For some reason, there is something holy about incense, despite the fact that there are few studies out there debunking the benefits of incense. Nevertheless, incense produces fresh scents that can help ease your stress. Light up incense once you go home and then peacefully go to sleep.
It is unquestionable that Cairo has a beautiful side, from historical sights to fancy dinning by the Nile. An early morning run can ease you back to reality and help release any stress or tension, you can as well hang out at night and dine by the Nile or go watch that movie you’ve been waiting for in the Cinema. Despite the noise and the over crowded streets, Cairo actually can be fun.
Reunite with friends:
It is granted that being around your close friends makes you feel better; it is like you all know deep down that you are in this together. Not only intimate friends gatherings can make you feel good about going back home but also getting in touch with the ones you don’t see often.
Plan Your Next Escape:
Planning your next trip can also be a motivation to go on with your mundane tasks. As much as we can please ourselves in the big capital, longing for solitude is no shame; I mean, who doesn’t like lying by the beach alone quietly for some time?
In the of the day, try to enjoy every situation anywhere as much as you can, whether you are working hard in your full time job with your laptop, or listening to your favorite track by the sea.
What You Need to Pack for Your Sham ElNasim Trip
The long weekend is starting and we are over the moon preparing our backpacks for a short holiday retreat. We know how much you all deserve a break, so we don’t want you to waste your time packing absolutely unnecessary stuff that you won’t probably wear or use. We took on the mission to put together the most important items you will definitely need in the next couple of days.
You don’t need a whole closet for a couple of days off. Bring with a couple of: T-shirts, shorts, underwear, one pair of pants, extra pair of shoes, socks and of course, a jacket for the chill nights.
Whether you are staying in a 5 star hotel with fancy towels or a deserted camp in Sinai, you need your own towel with you. The towel will come in handy if you are in camp or somewhere by the pool or beach.
A Sham ElNasim break cannot go with a cool pair of trendy sunglasses. Note that one pair is perfectly enough.
Our pale skin has been craving the spring sunrays for so long and we can’t wait to put on our finest swimsuit, lay under the sun, and get that skin tanned! Yes, get our skin tanned not burnt! A sun screen or tanning oil will protect you from the bad sunrays and give you that tan you have been longing for.
Chilling nights by the beach needs some music vibrating in the air. Don’t forget your portable beats because silence is no fun. Just make sure that your music is not too loud or you are bothering anyone with your taste.
Pass by a kiosk and grab some snacks for the road; because what is better than binge eating on chips during road trips?
Happy Sham ElNasim and Have FUN!!!
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