We arrived in Hurghada bus station and didn't really know where to stay. Of course there are a lot of touts for hotels, and we chose the one not too far away from the beach and the ferry. They took us there with their taxi and we got a nice room with balcony and breakfast included, for 140 EP/ night. It was a three Egyptian star hotel and our room was really nice and clean tv, aircon ref etc. with the beautiful view of the Red Sea. Still there was light and we decided to look around Hurghada.
In the hotel the people are very nice and helpful and efficient, got our boat tickets to Sharm el Sheik for the next morning without asking any bakshish. Michael's beer in the bar was normal price and we decided to have dinner in the hotel's restaurant. We had fresh sea food at last! because we are at the ocean ;)
Next morning after breakfast we took the taxi to the port.There are other ferries going to Saudi Arabia and our. After two and a half hours we are in Sharm el Sheik. We met a Korean girl travel by her own (quite brave in an Arabic country) and we shared the taxi to the bus station.Through the beautiful mountains of desert landscape of Sinai peninsular, we reached Dahab. There again so many touts for hotels, and we met this young Egyptian boy.
His resort was quite good and not so expensive, with his pick- up they bring us to the resort.The resort is really big, clean, with two courtyards, bungalows around and we got a nice bungalow, with private shower for only 90 EP/ night. It's not near the beach, only one minute away to the beach, actually through another expensive resort to the restaurants. And there are many restaurants and bars along this two kilometers long beach, but their FUNNY MUMMY restaurant was the best and the most popular in Dahab.
We booked in our resort a camel ride for next day. After breakfast we walked along the beach until to the end of the prominate to a restaurant own by an Austrian. There we met a Swiss woman and gave us some tips on where to snorkel. She is a professional diver for years, and she told us that her grandmother is mixed of Spanish and Swiss and during the civil war in Spain, her grandmother and her family escaped and went to Philippines, she (grandmother) grew up there and came back to Switzerland when the war was over. Small world we say ;) you meet people unexpectedly in travelling.
Our camel guides are two young Egyptian boys, they introduce themselves with their names so hard to pronounce ;). The older boy's name is Kahled and his camel's name is Ahlusch and his younger brother's name is Faisal and his camel's name is Saidee. Now it's time for me to ride the camel, my camel is Ahlusch he's making a huge noise and it seems like he don't like me too much ;). So i sat on the saddle of Ahlusch. As it the nature of the camel to stand up it's very aprubtly and i have to really hold on to the saddle. I almost flew down and i was shouting as Ahlusch went up ;). The people had been looking are laughing at me hehe ;) my first experience of camel riding! ;)
i was sitting resting, at the lagoon after that two hour camel ride
the boys know i am bit scared going down ;) i am so thankful they help me as i went down
We rested at the lagoon enjoying the view and the peacefulness of the place, there are some tourists swimming, and unfortunately we didn't bring our swim wear because we didn't know that they will take us in this lagoon, Kahled makes tea for us, a traditional tea of local people from Dahab, the tea is good. Then after an hour we ride again in our camels and went back to the city. We said thank you the boys and gave them some tip.
We are so tired, whole body is aching. It was already dark so we went to the restaurant and have dinner, the sun set that day was amazing! The next day although my body is still aching i went snorkelling.
" don't go over the edge!" is the only thing i remember from the English couple i met before i went snorkelling, i am not a good swimmer just learned a few weeks here in Germany before we fly to Egypt. It was amazing to be underwater! and see those beautiful creatures like fishes, corals, jelly fish and more. such an unforgetable experience!
We stayed one more day in Dahab and then went back to Cairo the next day. That was again a wonderful travel experience in Egypt, the camel ride, my first snorkelling experience, the nice people, fresh sea foods and more.... all in all our trip to Dahab and Hurghada was amazing! :)
NOTE: this is again another re- written post by me from my old blog in friendster titled also flip-flops and backpack from our trip to Egypt.
This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Hampton Hotels. All opinions are 100% mine.
Coral Dunes State Park, Utah
Who does not like vacation? Now that vacation is over for me, I can't help but dream about another vacation. Somewhere in the desert, to seek peacefulness and be amazed with the magnificent artistry of nature.
Death Valley National Park, CA
Canyonlands National Park, Utah
I dream of wandering in these places again with my TSS friends, celebrating friendship through the years. It would be nice to feel like being a child again when we would see all the hoodoos and natural rock formations in the desert,
Toadstool Hoodoo @ Toadstool Trail, Escalante National Monument, Utah
and it would even be more wonderful if we experience it together, and let our childlike imaginations run excitedly as we hug, run around or simply gaze at these enchanting hoodoos. And which hotel do I dream to spend the days in the desert with my friends? Well, what about right in the middle of Monument Valley, and witness the amazing stars dance at night with these amazing buttes?
Monument Valley, Utah/Arizona Border
It is my dream to go back here again and photograph the landscape at sunrise, sunset and at night with the stars! And in order not to miss the sunrise, sunset, and the stars, it means we would have to sleep right here! Thankfully, there is a Hampton Hotel at the Monument Valley Kayenta, right in this desert wilderness!
And it would even be great if I win the grand prize of Hampton Chain of Friends Sweepstakes, the whole Hampton Hotel all to ourselves. My TSS sisters and our family can join in the fun of learning, exploring and photographing these amazing desert landscapes and sceneries. Hampton is giving away a free weekend stay to any of their hotels and 100 first prizes everyday. I have nothing to lose if I join, but so much to gain if I win!
I've been staring at my tiny cup of tea and I suddenly smiled and I just remembered how I've always loved sharing frappuccino beverages with dear friends...If I can remember it right it was you who introduced me to mocha frap and java chip...
How could I ever forget, it was one of those dreadful summer days when we sat down together talking, smiling and laughing our hearts out for almost one whole day...We didn't care if they were looking...It seemed as though we were the only people who were enjoying every sip of our venti frappuccino...
Aghast! Time passed by so fast...I'm almost forgetting about those lovely weekends, those unforgettable sem breaks and best of all those innocent look in your eyes...
I'm enjoying a sip of tea from our tiny window right now and I'm smiling...This cup of tea made me reminisce about our wonder years...Thank you for the wonderful memories...hmmm...thanks to a cup of tea, a breath of fresh air and the magnificent view. Somehow I know we will see each other again and by that time our grins will be lovelier, our stories will be more glorious than ever, our smiles will be warmer and definitely our friendship will be stronger...
Till we meet again my old friend...Same place...Same time...Yes my dear old friend till we meet again but this time it will be over hot cups of tea...
I would like to thank Betchai for naming the yellow bird and everyone who left a comment at my MYM post. I will visit you back when I have more time to blog hop. Meantime, I will trouble you again for helping me to name this plant. Some of you who knows me very well are aware how much I love taking snapshots of the DEWels of nature. This one was taken at Bintan Lagoon where we stayed during our family weekend escapade in Indonesia. Unfortunately, this plant is not very familiar to me.
California's Eastern Sierra is one of my favorites for a long weekend get-away from San Diego. Mind blowing sceneries are everywhere, from the alpine and snowy sawtooth peaks of the Sierra Nevada,
Mammoth Mountain @ Mammoth Lakes
to its sparkling lakes, gushing waterfalls and surreal desert landscapes. I got inspired sharing our itinerary for a weekend get-away in the Eastern Sierra since one of my Salitype sisters will be visiting this part of the world. Hopefully, this post will help a little bit in their trip planning.
day 1, September 27, Saturday: San Diego to Mammoth Lakes
We left San Diego early morning of September 27, and the first town in the Eastern Sierra we stopped for fun exploration and sightseeing was Lone Pine. A. Lone Pine
Alabama Hills, Lone Pine, CA
The town of Lone Pine is at the base of Eastern Sierra and is known as Hollywood's gateway to fun. One of the local attraction at Lone Pine is Alabama Hills, which is just 2.5 miles West of Highway 395.
Photographing the Photographers :)
Re-enacting John Wayne Movies :)
Probably your eyes may have set on Alabama Hills, but you may just not be aware of the name of the place. This place is frequently used as location for Western, sci-fi and other movies set in an archetypical rugged environment.
Mt. Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous US, from Alabama Hills
Some of the movies shoot here are: Star Trek IV and VII, Gone in 60 seconds ( Nicolas Cage), Terminal Velocity ( Charlie Sheen), Joe Kidd ( Clint Eastwood), many of John Wayne's movies, among many others. The movie "How The West Was Won" selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant", was filmed mostly here in Alabama Hills. For those who are interested in going here, for a specific direction to find the many arches, you can click here and here. There is also a guide posted at the bulletin as you get near to the park or you can stop by Lone Pine Chamber of Commerce for specific direction before entering the park.
After Alabama Hills, we continued our drive North of Highway 395 and our next stop was at Bishop Creek Canyon. Now, if Alabama Hills was a world of rocky outcrops where you see sea of rocks as far as your eyes can see, Bishop Creek Canyon looked something else!
B. Bishop Creek Canyon
North Lake, Bishop Creek Canyon
Who thinks that desert and forests could not co-exist? At higher elevation, the rugged desert environment disappears to give way to a lush pine and aspen forest. After Bishop, it was getting late and we went straight to Mammoth Mountain Inn at Mammoth Lakes where we stayed in this long weekend.
C. Mammoth Lakes
Road to Mammoth Lakes
Fishing @ Mammoth Lakes
slept at @ Mammoth Lakes
day 2, September 28, Sunday: Mono Lake and Yosemite National Park's High Sierra at Tioga Pass
This was my favorite part of our trip, and actually the very reason why we went back to the Eastern Sierra. Summer of 2008 we left the valley of Yosemite National Park late in the afternoon heading to Mammoth Lakes. As we passed by Tioga Pass, which is considered as one of the most scenic "high country" roads in the world, we were totally awed by the scenery that we pulled over the car every 100 ft for pictures.
Tuolomne Meadows, Yosemite National Park summer 2008
Ellerly Lake, Tioga Pass, Summer 2008
When we reached Mono Lake, it was already dark. Though we had decent pictures of Mono Lake at dark, but it felt like we did not have enough.
Mono Lake in the Dark, summer 2008
Thus we planned for a weekend get-away back to Mono Lake and Tioga Pass. Our goal this time is to photograph Mono Lake at sunrise and sunset, and then, explore some more of Tioga Pass during the day.
A. Mono Lake
About 25 miles from Mammoth Lakes is Mono Lake South Tufa State Reserve. Since we were very excited, we woke up early enough to drive to Mono Lake South Tufa Reserve for sunrise.
Mono Lake @ Sunrise
Mono Lake @ Sunrise
Mono Lake is a Bird's Refuge Providing them with trillions of visible alkali shrimp floating on the lake
Mono Lake is one of the really "must see" scenery in the Eastern Sierra, and one of my favorite places to wander and wonder about nature. For more about Mono Lake, you can find the link to my Mono Lake post here, and for the Mono Lake State Park site here. Our hotel also provided us with directions on how to get there, but then, with navigators these days, all we had to do was enter "Mono Lake South Tufa State Reserve" and driving to the place was not a problem.
After we were done with Mono Lake at sunrise, we drove back to Highway 395, drive North and then East at Tioga Pass.
B. Tioga Pass and the High Sierra of Yosemite National Park.
13 miles Northwest of Mono Lake South Tufa State Reserve is the East Entrance of Yosemite National Park. However, the entire drive at Tioga Pass from Highway 395 was simply amazing!
Fall @ Tioga Pass
Though Yosemite Valley was only an additional 30 minutes from Yosemite's Toloumne Meadows, however, our last visit and hikes at Yosemite was centered around the valley, thus, this time we spent more time at the High Sierra of Yosemite National Park.
@ Pothole Dome with Tuolomne Meadows Below
Reflecting Pond @ Tuolomne Meadows
World of Rocks @ Yosemite's High Sierra
Clouds Rest, Half Dome and Tenaya Canyon from Olmstead Point
There are many hiking trails to explore at Yosemite's High Sierra at Tioga Pass, for more information about places to explore, you can click here.
C. Mono Lake Again
This time, we were so careful not to miss the sunset at Mono Lake. We left Yosemite's High Sierra about an hour before the sunset heading back to our hotel at Mammoth Lakes, however, along the way, we stopped at Mono Lake again for sunset pictures.
Mono Lake looking West, sunset
Mono Lake, looking East, at dusk
Mono Lake, looking East, at dusk
day 3, Monday, September 29: Attractions at Mammoth Lakes and then back to San Diego
This day, we did not start our day until past sunrise because we know that the shuttle to Devil's Postpile National Monument starts at 7:30 am.
Devil's Postpile National Monument
The Devil's Postpile formation is one of the world's finest examples of columnar basalt that towers 60 ft and display an unusual symmetry. The columnar rocks resulted from the basalt lava which erupted less than 100,000 years ago. As the lava cooled, it contracted and cracked, forming vertical columns.
The top of the Postpile are hexagonal tiles, nature's way of using the least length of line to enclose the most area. There are more to explore at Devil's Postpile aside these columnar basalt rocks. Another interesting place to hike inside the park is Rainbow Falls. During summer and fall, access to this park is through Red Meadows Shuttle Bus from Mammoth Mountain. For more information about Devil's Postpile National Monument and it's natural geological wonders, please visit the park's site here. After we were done at the Red Meadows Area, we thought of taking the gondola to the peak of Mammoth Mountain and take in the 360 degree scenery of the Eastern Sierra at the top, however, stormy skies started rolling in that we decided to avoid being caught in the storm. We were glad we did because it would be very hard to drive on treacherous mountain roads with all the snow pouring in. We were lucky in this trip, since the next day after we left, it was reported that the fall colors were gone because of the pounding snow storm in the area. But then, again, maybe Mono Lake would have been prettier with snow around it.
To Chay, I hope you will have a wonderful time staying at Mammoth Lakes like we did! Eastern Sierra is such a place of awe and wonder.