Tag Archives: holiday

Hurghada: Goats, sheep, luxury breakfast and an Egyptian wedding!

During our visit in Hurhgada a few years back, we got close to the Egyptian life style.

But first, let me tell you of a luxury breakfast:
One morning we decided to try the hotel’s room service and ordered breakfast to the room. It said on the menu that the price is only 10 dollars. We expected bread, cheese, orange juice and coffee.

What a nice surprise it was to open the door in the morning and see three smiling faces bringing us a huge breakfast. I have never seen this much brought to two people. We were speechless.

ps. click on the photos to see them enlarged

Luxury breakfast

The trays were filled with food and we also got sparkling wine. Unbelievable and fantastic.

Breakfast in Egypt

We had a big window towards the street and we liked to watch the Egyptian street and life style. A Chanell store, which sold bags, clothes etc a bit cheaper than the original Chanel was opposite to the hotel. We visited the store and bought a few nice hoodies. There was so much to choose from. Leather, perfume, t-shirts etc. The store owner was so nice.

Also the locals liked to visit the store.

Hurghada_locals shopping

It was quite a surprise for a Finn to see sheep and goats walking down the street 🙂 It is interesting to experience the difference in cultures.

Hurghada streets

As we watched the street life, we suddenly focused on the second floor of the Chanell store. The windows were broken, and the apartments looked abandoned. But guess what we saw on the balcony? More sheep and goats 🙂

Hurghada_goats living on the 2nd floor

Our hotel was in the suburbs of Hurghada. Walking down the street we saw just a few restaurants and shops, all close to the hotel. Otherwise it was quite empty.

On the streets of Hurghada_2

One evening, while reading our books, we heard loud beautiful music. We opened the window and saw there was a big building to the left of us.

Egyptian wedding arrangements

Someone was preparing a party, we thought. Later we understood it was an Egyptian wedding. We listened to the music and watched the people dance and have a great time. Now this was quite thrilling to experience.

No matter if you like to see the pyramids, meet some camels, enjoy water sports or beach life, have new experiences or go diving, I recommend to visit Egypt. It is such a beautiful country with friendly people.

Hurghada beach_lets rent a paddle boat

Red Sea

Hurghada_seen from the sea

Hurghada from the sea

 

Adventures on the beach, in the sea and in the air – in Jordan

Tala Bay is a perfect vacation place in Southern Jordan.  The sandy beach is perfect for sun bathing and the Red Sea offers a unique possibility to photograph exotic fish species. If you prefer swimming pools instead of the sea, you find many nice pools to swim or relax in.

Allas ja poreallas

ps. click on the photos to see them enlarged

The food is fabulous in Jordan, just like in Egypt. Baba ganoush, hummus, tabbouleh, fried fish, tasty desserts and the hot chili stuffed olives…

Baba Ganoush

We love the Red Sea. In Tala Bay we had some great adventures in the sea. We got many exciting photos of the sea life.

The Arabian Boxfish:

Arabian boxfish_Jordania
Arabian boxfish_Jordania

 

The Black Peacock Lionfish:

Black Peacock Lionfish and black sea urchin

Some funny looking corals:

Corals in the Red Sea in Jordan
Corals in the Red Sea in Jordan

 

We experienced also some adventure in the air. When I came to the surface to take a break from photographing the fish, I heard and felt a rumbling noise. I looked around. From the boarder in the south, where Jordan and Saudi Arabia meet, a huge helicopter flew towards a ship nearby.

Armeijan helikopteri

The helicopter approached the ship and commandos jumped with ropes from the helicopter to the ship.

Helicopter approaches the shiip

My husband and I did not know what was going on. Was this a training session, a show for the tourists… or? Everything happened very fast. I did not have time to switch the camera from underwater mode to normal mode, but I got a few good photos.

Ilmassa_kommandojen helikopteri_2

You can experience many things on holidays 😉

I love the adventures below surface. Watching and photographing the beautiful and interesting fish. Here is a Flagtail Halfmoon Triggerfish:

Flagtail_Halfmoon triggerfish

Stay tuned! More stories to come and many photos of the sea life in the Red Sea 🙂

 

 

 

Helsinki, Finland -> Port Ghalib, Egypt

When the dark autumn arrives in Finland, we want to head south – preferably to Egypt’s Port Ghalib. It is an amazing vacation resort.

ps. click on the photos to see them enlarged

Port Gahlib

Finnmatkat opened (after a short break) direct vacation flights to Port Ghalib this autumn – and that made us very happy.

We booked the flights and made direct reservations to our favourite hotel – Intercontinental The Palace Port Ghalib. The hotel is amazing and so is the staff, the beach, the coral reefs and the hotel’s rooms, suites and amenities.

Finnmatkat have changed the airline company (to JetTime) regarding flights to Marsa Alam Airport, Egypt. That was a small disappointment. The crew was great 🙂 and the food as well, but the plane was very old and small, the seat reservation service was troublesome and the delays before take off and getting the luggage were a sad experience. Finnmatkat itself gets our warm recommendations for their great service and the possibility to fly to our dream destination.

View from the suite at PG_2

Arriving at the Marsa Alam Airport was superb. The warm sunny weather welcomed us, as well as the airport staff. Here we have a photo of a my husband and a staff member, who welcomed us warmly. Egyptians are so friendly.

Welcome to Marsa Alam Airport

We had arranged a car to pick us up from the airport. That is a great service from the hotel. It takes just 10 minutes to drive from the airport to the hotel.

Here we are – finally at the hotel – happy and smiling.

Arriving at the hotel PG
Stay tuned – there are more stories to come!

ps. Here is a new photo of the amazing Picasso Triggerfish:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

 

 

 

Lisbon, Fado and the amazing Atlantic Ocean

When we visited Portugal a few years ago, we spent the first days on the beach enjoying the sunny days and the great Atlantic Ocean.

Ile and the AO

The Atlantic Ocean is so beautiful. Some days it looks green, some days dark blue.

Portugal sea view

ps. click on the photos to enlarge them

After visiting the famous and beautiful Sintra, we wanted to see Lisbon, the capital of Portugal.

Ponte Vasco da Gama is a  very long bridge – more than 17 kilometers long. When you see it, you will be astonished. It is the longest bridge in Europe. 

Portugal Lisbon seaside_Mrs Hurmerinta

If you want to, you can also enjoy Lisbon from the air – with these cable cars:

Portugal Lisbon seaside

We had heard of an amazing place, which we wanted to check out: Oceanário de Lisboa. It is the largest indoor aquarium in Europe.

The Lisbon Oceanarium has a large collection of marine species — penguins and other birds; sea otters; sharks, rays and seahorses;  sea anemones and corals; octopuses; marine plants and terrestrial plants and other marine organisms – about 16,000 individuals of 450 species.

The Penguins:

Portugal Lisbon Oceanarium_Penguins

The sea otters:

Portugal Lisbon Zoo

There is so much to see in Lisbon. I recommend to visit at least Baixa and the Belém Tower, which was built 1515–1521. If you like Fado music, you will love Portugal.

After spending half a day in Lisbon, it was time to drive back to the Atlantic Ocean. July is quite hot in Portugal, so a swim in the ocean is one of the best things to do after a few hours in the hot cities.

View from the balcony towards the Atlantic

Praia Grande is a huge beach. Though there were lots of people every now and then, sometimes you felt like you were there alone – and that was amazing.

Portugal and the Atlantic Ocean

 

Italy: Ardea, chickens and learning Italian

A MYSTERIOUS HENHOUSE

One morning during our refreshing morning swim, we heard chickens cackle.  There were lots of trees and bushes around the pool. And behind them we saw huge fields. Where are the chickens?

Ardea 2_ puskat altaalla

After a few minutes of looking around for the secret chickens, my husband jumped into the small forest.  And he found a small henhouse. I then jumped in to the forest too.

Ardea 2_kanat 2

I am a city woman. I have never seen a henhouse. I saw ten chickens and one rooster. The rooster was so suspicious of us, the hens were not. They were happy to see us. It was a fun moment. A neat moment.

We wondered when the eggs were fetched. Maybe so early in the morning that we did not see or hear anyone in our garden.

Another funny thing was to find Danger signs in the bushes 😉 Still wonder what was so dangerous in the bushes…

Ardea 2_pericolo

A FROG LIKE A FOOTBALL

What is better in the morning than a huge dead frog ? 😉 After breakfast my husband cleaned the pool.

When I came to the pool area, ready to enjoy another perfect day by the pool, I had surprise waiting.  My husband said I would never guess what he had found.  He showed my a huge dead frog. It had drowned in the pool. We buried the frog.

Ardea 2_frog

AMAZING DINNERS

Ardea is a small city. We searched for a neat restaurant, where to enjoy nice small dinners. We found two close to the house. The frist one was a pizzeria. We tried it twice. Then we found Le Pietre Antiche, and ate there often. A small hotel, with a small restaurant and fabulous food. And friendly people and aervice. We enjoyed our time there.  So did the locals. The restaurant got full quite fast after opening at 8 p.m.

Ardea 2_Le Pietre Antiche

The fish dishes, the pasta choices, the squid and the pizza… they were all excellent. When we arrived before 8 p.m. hungry as we were, we were always welcome to sit down and have something small to eat and drink.

Our waiter was a great Italian gentleman. It was interesting to discuss with him. He liked to share his thoughts and learn more English.  We liked to share our thoughts and learn more Italian.

We were happy to visit Le Pietre Antiche in the eveningafter some happy and enjoyable hours by the pool.

MrMrsHurmerinta

Sometimes I cooked dinner at the house. I love cooking.  In Italy you find great ingredients for anything you want to cook.

Salsicce is a tasty sausage, maiale is pork, vitello is veal. Sea bass is in Italian  branzino.

sea bass

When you would like to enjoy sword fish, order pesce spada. Octopus and squid come in various sizes. You can ask for seppia or calamari, or choose the big one: polpo.

polpo

When you want to order a steak, the waiter will ask you how you want it. If you want it well done, say: vorrei la carne ben cotto. If you like medium steak, you say: vorrei la carne non troppo cotto.

To get a bottle of water, you ask: vorrei una bottiglia di aqua, per favore.  White wine is: vino bianco. Red wine is: vino rosso. Tomato is: pomodoro and onions is: cipolle. Peach is great for dessert, so ask for: pesche. Ice cream is: gelato. Bread is: pane. When you would like some chicken, ask for: pollo.

The Italian ham… is something else! It is the best in the world. I love prosciutto di Parmasta (air-dried ham from Parma). I also like very much prosciutto cotto and prosciutto crudo (tasty Italian ham)

prosciutto di parma

I bet about everyone knows mozzarella, but I mention it anyway. The best type is: Mozzarella di Bufala.

Always say: per favore when you ask for something. It is important to be very polite in Italy. And why could we not do that in other countries and languages as well 🙂

When you leave a store or a restaurant you say:  Arrivederciwhich means goodbye. If you know someone, you can say: Ciao!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jordan: The magnificent Red Sea

There is a long and great beach between Hotel Radisson Blu Tala Bay and the Red Sea. Beach chairs are available and they are not too close to each other. This way you have space and peace, also at the beach. This is a positive rarity.
Red Sea between Jordania and Egypt

The magnificent Red Sea offers something for each and everyone. You can see small, big, colourful, dangerous and poisonous fish in the sea. The corals and plants vary depending on where you are, but they all offer a beautiful and colourful show. You can also see small crabs, lizardfish and fabulous sea urchins on the sandy bottom close to the shore.

The difference in the sea life between Egypt and Jordan is the amount of venomous fish we saw in Jordan. It was quite exciting to see and photograph new fish species and venomous fish. In Egypt the sea life is more colourful than in Jordan.

Here are some of the fish we saw and photographed, and a few photos from other divers:

The Lionfish (Pterois Volitans) is part of the Scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae) species, which take their name from the venomous spines positioned on the dorsal fin. They are also voracious predators.

The Red Lionfish:

Red Lionfish Pun Siipisimppu
The Black Lionfish
 (Pterois Miles) is extremely beautiful.

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them 😉

musta siipisimppi pterois miles

We also saw a Lionfish which was a bit brown and beige. You find it on the left of the brain coral:

Siipisimppu Pterois Volitans

The Scorpionfish (Scorpaenopsis oxycephala), for example the Tassled Scorpionfish, is also part of the Scorpionfish (Scorpaenidae) species. It is quite a venomous fish. It is sometimes called  “false stonefish” as the resemblance to the Stonefish is remarkable. The mouth of the Scorpionfish is more hiorizontal than the one of the Stonefish.

A Scorpionfish next to a black Sea Urchin inside a small rock:

False stonefish_ tassled scorpionfish

Whilst I photographed a small Scorpionfish, it suddenly moved, which is rare, and “flew” away. I am glad it “flew” away from me, not towards me.

Skorpionikala ui

The Stonefish (Synanceia Verrucosa), is the most venomous fish in the world!

You better not step on one of these. You can be paralyzed and you can die. Stonefish use incredible camouflage to ambush their prey. They blend into their environment very well. They live in shallow waters and are a danger to bathers who may step on them.

It is not always easy to see if you are looking at, or photographing, a small Stonefish or a Scorpionfish. The sea sways you a bit and you cannot swim too close. We are yet not sure if we saw a Stonefish or not. I show you a few pictures taken by other divers:

stonefish 3

stonefish 2

Sea Urchins

We were lucky. A nice man from Lappeenranta, Finland, warned us about the hundreds of Sea Urchins (Echinoidea) just minutes before we stepped into the Red Sea.

Merisiilet

We moved carefully step by step until the water was about  30 cm deep.  Then we dove carefully into the Red Sea, sliding above the Sea Urchins and other dangerous species. I saw hundreds of black Sea Urchins. First I was a bit “scared” how all this will end, but then I relaxed and focused on the superb views around me, took photographs and remembered to keep my feet at least 60 cm above the bottom.

The Sea Urchin’s body, closed in a compact shell, is covered with spines which are mobile. The mouth is surrounded by strong teeth and opens underneath. This allows this echinoderm to crop algae.

merisiilikuva

We had invested in a new waterproof camera. Not a too expensive one, but a good one for amateurs like us. We took hundreds of pictures and also some videos. We spent half of the days in the Red Sea. I can warmly recommend this hobby.

During the 4th day something odd happened. I was stung in the sea. I wondered if I only imagined it. I could not see anything and no more stungs were felt. The next day I was stung maybe a hundred times. Small burning stings hit me everywhere. I got worried and a bit scared. My husband appeared next to me and when I got my ears above the water, he told me we were in the middle of a  cloud of Jellyfish. I took some pictures quickly and swam to the shore.

Stinging jellyfish Red Sea Jordan

I spoke with the life guard to check if he knew about these Jellyfish. He did. He said they should not be dangerous, but it could be a good idea to wait and see if I would feel sick or get red arms and legs. Then it would be good to see the doctor at the hotel.

No strange feelings or red skin! I was so happy. What an exciting experience, though I cannot recommend to try how many small electric stings feel. 

In Egypt we fell in love with the Picasso Triggerfish, which is part of the Balistidae species. There are some 40 different Balistidae fish. Here is a Picasso Triggerfish, which we saw at Port Ghalib, Egypt some years ago:

Picassokala

In Jordan we saw a a black Triggerfish (Sufflamen Chrysopterus), which was very beautiful.  It was a Halfmoon Triggerfish. Here is a picture of it with a small Lionfish:

Sufflamen chrysopterus_flagtail triggerfish_Ruostesäppikala ja siipisimppu

You can see more pictures on my Pinterest page. Welcome to follow my Pinterest boards.

We love the Red Sea:

Ile sukeltaa

Lähdössä mereen

I admire Jacques-Yves Cousteau. His incredible adventures in the sea have affected many of us. I think Cousteau has something to do with my interest to take some PADI Open Water diving courses 20 years ago and that I am now a great fan of the Red Sea. My husband shares my passion to explore the shores of the Red Sea and photograph the beautiful sea life.

Upea kokonaiskuva Red Sea Tala Bay