Tag Archives: hotel

Sun and underwater photography

We are lucky to get to travel again to the Red Sea. As November is a very dark and rainy month in Finland, we look forward to the fantastic sunshine of Port Ghalib in Egypt. We also look forward to stay in our favourite hotel, formerly Intercontinental Palace, nowadays Red Sea Hotel’s The Palace Port Ghalib. The sandy beach and the coral reef in front of it are fabulous.

A great day comes to an end at ICPG

We can warmly recommend Port Ghalib, the Palace Port Ghalib hotel and to dive into the Red Sea.

To go underwater is fantastic.

A few photographs from our previous vacation:

PG 2015 Cornetfish I

Red Sea Beauty 11

Beautiful Exquisite Butterflyfish couple in the Red Sea_blog

Clownfish in the Red Sea

Chevron Butterflyfish couple closeup

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Egypt – a pearl among the travel destinations

I have written a few short stories of our trips to Egypt (Hurghada, Sharm el-Sheikh and Port Ghalib) as well as posted a few posts about the superb and fantastic underwater world in the Red Sea.

Picasso fish at Port Ghalib

Egypt has some terrific places for anyone interested in an exotic culture, sun bathing, swimming, snorkeling and diving.

Great sphinx of Giza

ps. to enlarge the photos, click on them.

At the moment there are vacation flights from Finland to Hurghada and Marsa Alam. Sharm el-Sheikh is also a very popular and interesting area. We have been there once. I can recommend to visit it. At the moment there are though no flights from Finland to Sinai area. Hopefully there will be some in the near future.

Elegant Unicornfish

 

We have fallen in love with Intercontinental The Palace Port Ghalib Resort -hotel some years ago. The perfect beach (private beach), the coral reefs, the sunny weather, the hotel, the friendly staff, the fabulous food, the sunsets, the splendid rooms and suites – everything.

Coming from the beach to the cafe area

port g ranta ja sukellusvene_1

The hotel beach is spacious and you can relax and enjoy the views.

A great day comes to an end at ICPG

You can also enjoy the wonderful swimming pools. A few of them are huge.

PG pool area

It is so true what the hotel’s social media posts say:

We know there will be days when you want nothing more than to laze by the pool as the soft breeze rustles through the palms … or gaze out over the waters of the Red Sea, which sparkle in the unbroken warmth of the sun all year round.

Happy people in the big pool ICPG

And if you like a unique and enriching wellness experience, you will be thrilled with the award winning six senses spa at the hotel.

I also recommend warmly to try snorkeling or diving, which ever you prefer. This beach is great, because you can actually snorkel and dive in right from the beach. You don’t have to travel far, unless you want to.

In the harbour, there are boats, which take you out to the sea on diving trips. There are also seascope submarines.

PG harbour

Those who want to enjoy shopping, a cup of coffee or a nice dinner, can stroll to Port Ghalib harbour, which is a nice place.

PG harbour cafeteria

So, in a few words, what are you waiting for?

Make a reservation and go enjoy a perfect holiday!

PG beach seen from the sea

Egypt: Hurghada

Our first visit to Egypt took us to Hurghada. A few friends had recommended the area. We wanted warm weather, sunshine and a hotel close to the Red Sea.  In January it can be 25°C. During our stay the temperature did not get quite this high, but we enjoyed warm weather during the day. During the night it was about 12°C.

Egyptikartta

The vacation was great and the week was sunny.

Hurghada_Blue Lagoon beach

 

THE HOTEL

The Shedwan Garden Hotel has 4 stars.

Shedwan Garden Hotel Hurghada

Our first room situated outside the main building in a quickly built additional wing. The front door and the balcony door had a gap of a few inches between the floor and the door. The wind was strong, outside and also inside. The furniture was cheap and old. We decided to change rooms.

JH ekassa huoneessa_Hurghada

Personal discussions with the personnel worked well.  We got a room in the main building. We had to give up the wish of a balcony and partial sea view, but instead we got a real room, with great furniture, space and no wind inside 🙂

Ile uudessa kylpparissa

Johanna uudessa huoneessa

 

There were lots of cats around this hotel. I heard it is common in Hurghada. Hurghada_slight cat problem

The garden of the hotel was very nice. The personnel took good care of it. You could stroll through it during the evening and on your way to the beach.

Hurghada JH in the hotel back yard

THE BEACH

The beach of the hotel was OK. We had yet not found the amazing world of snorkelling and photographing underwater,  so the beach fulfilled our needs – we got to swim in the Red Sea.

Hurghada_Blue Lagoon beach

Hurghada_IH swimming in the lagoon_luxury boats in the background

There were no coral reefs close to the beach, but you could take a boat and travel to coral reefs and go scuba diving.

Hurghada seen from the beach

We saw some pedal boats and decided to try one. It was actually quite fun and sporty to pump the pedals in the high waves.

Hurghada beach_lets rent a paddle boat

Here are some great shots of the Blue Lagoon and Hurghada, seen from the sea.

Polkuveneellä laguunin ympäri

Hurghada_seen from the sea 2
It was nice to swim in the Blue Lagoon. The temperature was not too hot, but during the day it got warm and the water felt great on the hot skin.

JH tried the cold water

I recommend to travel to Egypt and to enjoy the country’s many beautiful places, beaches and its many attractions.

Egyptin pyramidit

 

Portugal: Praia Grande and Cabo da Roca

HONEYMOON BY THE ATLANTIC OCEAN

We love the Mediterranean Sea. For our honeymoon we decided though to try something new and we flew to see the Atlantic Ocean and Portugal. We searched the Internet for hotels by the sea. I also asked tips from my Portuguese colleague. We were looking for a place on the west coast.

I tried to learn a little bit Portuguese before our trip. I started with these: bom dia (good morning), fala ingles (do you speak English), sim (yes), nao (no) and onde e (where is). The rest I looked up in the dictionary, which I had with me most of the days.

The seaside hotel Arribas at Praia Grande was our final choice, as it offered so many things we were looking for. The huge Atlantic Ocean was just some meters from the hotel, which also offered a swimming pool larger than we have ever seen. The swimming pool was 100 meters long. It is one of the largest saltwater swimming pools in Europe. The beach next to the hotel looked inviting.

Hotel pool and the PG beach

PORTUGAL – HERE WE COME

As always, it is fantastic when the travel day finally arrives. The sun was shining in Finland when we waited for the taxi to take us to the airport.

Waiting for the taxi to the aiport
We flew to Portugal with Finnair. By the time we got to the airport, clouds were spreading over the clear blue sky.

Flying with Finnair
TOWARDS PRAIA GRANDE

Praia Grande is one of the best beaches in Portugal. It takes less than one hour to drive there from the Lisbon International Airport. To visit the famous Costa do Estoril and Cascais is easy as they are just 20 minutes to the south from the hotel. The beautiful and historic town of Sintra is just a 15 minute drive to the east.

We took the evening flight and drove in the darkness towards the hotel. I had a map, but as it was quite dark and the street signs were not always seen, we got lost around Sao Pedro De Penaferrim. We experienced the friendliness of the Portuguese, when we stopped at a small cafe to ask for help. I did not speak Portuguese and the café owners did not speak English, but that did not stop them from helping us. Body language works well. On top of that we got some huge and tasty sandwiches with us. We had not eaten much during the day, so the simple sandwich tasted marvellous.

Just before reaching the Atlantic Ocean we drove through the small city of Colares.

Colares region by the sea
COLARES

Colares is a wine region. The region has Portugal’s highest wine classification as a Denominação de Origem Controlada (DOC means the system of protected designation of origin for wines, cheeses, butters, and other agricultural products from Portugal).

Colares wine_2

Even before there was a “Portugal”, the region of Colares was a place of human movement and settlement. The Norwegian Sigurd I conquered and held Colares for a few months in 1108. The Moorish occupied the area later on and around 1147 the region fell in the hands of the Crown, as Afonso Henriques conquered it. In 1801 the municipality of Colares included 1930 inhabitants and by 1849 it had more than 3300 inhabitants. Nowadays around 7500 people live in the area.

PRAIA GRANDE

The sound of the waves of the Atlantic Ocean is something everyone should experience. We got a nice room towards the sea. It was amazing to just sit on the balcony and watch and listen to the Atlantic Ocean.

The AO

The Terrace Restaurant with a panoramic view over the sea is the perfect place to taste special dishes. You can choose between traditional Portuguese and international dishes.

Hotel dinnerYou can reach Praia Grande also without a car. Take the bus from the airport (Aerobus 1) to Entrecampos. Then take the train to Sintra. From Sintra you can take the bus to Praia Grande. Just as the name suggests, this is a large beach and is a particular favourite among surfers and bodyboarders and has become a regular host of championship events in these sports.

Praia grande

The hills on the south side of the beach are huge. We took a stroll on the sandy beach before hitting the waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

First day at PG

CABO DA ROCA

Not far from the hotel you find the westernmost point of continental Europe. We had heard of it and wanted to see it. During the ancient Roman period the area was called Promontorium Magnum.

Driving to CdR

The place is so beautiful. In the west you see the huge Atlantic Ocean, in the other directions green hills and rocks surround you. The Cabo da Roca lighthouse overlooks the promontory towards the Atlantic Ocean.

Cabo da Roca from the sea

The cliffs here are more than 100 meters high and cut into crystalline rocks. We took pictures, enjoyed the scenery and felt the cool wind blowing from the Ocean. I could smell the salt of the sea.

Ile at CdR

I recommend to visit Cabo da Roca. You can eat at Restaurante Cabo Da Roca enjoying great food and fabulous scenery.

Next to the restaurant you find an old monument. Below the cross you find the text written by the 16th century Portuguese poet Luís Vaz de Camões (1524 – 1580):

Aqui…

Onde a terra se acaba e o mar começa…(Camoes)

Ponta mais ocidental do continente europeu

In English something like this:

Here…

Where land ends and the ocean begins…

The westernmost point of continental Europe

After our trip to Cabo da Roca we drove back to the hotel, put on our swimsuits and ran through the hot sand and dove into the Atlantic Ocean. Nothing feels better than the hot summer sun and the cool waves of the sea. After a few hours on the beach my skin was pink. July is quite hot in Portugal. At least for a Finn.

Ile and the AO