Holly is currently traveling in Egypt and sending some notes to us along the way!
With 5,000 years of history to cover in Egypt, my days have been full of pyramids, tombs, temples and museums. However, I have also been able to find some down time to relax and reflect along the way. As befitting a country with the Nile River as its lifeblood, two of my most blissful moments have been of an aquatic nature.
To me, there are few activities more relaxing and rejuvenating than snorkeling, but as a New Yorker, it’s not something I get to do very often. So, the prospect of a day at Ras Mohammed National Park near Sharm el-Sheik, considered to be one of the world’s top diving and snorkeling sites (along with Australia’s Great Barrier Reef and the Maldives), was an exciting follow-up to a Nile cruise. Ras Mohammed did not disappoint. The sky was pure blue against the Sinai Mountains in the distance. The temperature was ideal, and the water clear and inviting. That first moment when mask meets water always makes me feel as if I’ve passed through a portal to another world. Floating in the warm water, the body relaxes, senses shift as your ears submerge, your sense of smell is negated with the nose encased in the mask, and it becomes all about vision. And what a vision it is! The coral alone is an array of colors and shapes, while the fish provide a never ending parade of every imaginable color. You never know what you’ll see next—a ray lurking below, a school of juvenile fish hiding in a shallow cave, a flash of lapis blue and a chase. In this womb-like state peering through a looking glass to a universe so close yet so different to ours, all my stress and worries disappear and all the troubles of the world above dissipate until the flippers cone off and I again walk upright on land.
After, it was on to Alexandria and then back to Cairo, where I discovered that the Four Seasons Nile Plaza provides its guests with unlimited complimentary access to its serene spa facilities: whirlpool, cold plunge pool, steam room and sauna. It’s a great way to unwind any time during your stay, whether or not you make an appointment for services. After a long day of sightseeing, hotel inspections, and the city’s rush hour traffic, it was a delight to return to the candle-lit whirlpool. Even better, as no other clients were making use of the facilities, I had the luxury of the entire spa to myself, with a helpful attendant supplying me with fresh towels and cucumber water! Somehow, my impending 4AM wake up call for my departure flight didn’t seem so daunting after all…
Bye for now,