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Reborn in the desert

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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.

Welcome treat

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.

 

Sunny breakfast

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.

Green morning

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.

Crystal road

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.

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Egypt Set to Participate in Spain’s International Tourism Trade Fair

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The Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities is set to take part in the International Tourism Trade Fair (FITUR) held in Spain, headed by Deputy Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for Tourism Affairs Ghada Shalaby.

This 40th edition of the the fair will launch today in the the capital of Spain, Madrid and will resume until the 26th of January.

The fair is among the top most important international exhibitions across the world which makes Egypt’s participation quite significant, and also a great chance to develop and enhance the Egyptian presence on an international touristic level.

The Deputy Minister of Tourism and Antiquities further explained that a number of intensive meetings will be held on the sidelines of the exhibition’s opening day, which gives Egypt a chance to enhance its image and promote tourism.

The Egyptian pavilion that will be showcased in the exhibition is designed in the form of a Pharaonic temple, but in modern colors, equipped with columns, with hieroglyphic writing. This comes in light of promoting the cultural tourism in a style that suits and appeals to the Spanish tourists.

The fair will witness the participation of 31 participants representing 10 hotels and 20 tourism companies, and EgyptAir will also be participating in the Egyptian pavilion this year.

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King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh Is Heading Soon to Boston

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The famed exhibition “King Tut: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh”which is currently being displayed at the Saatchi Gallery in London is getting ready to continue its tour with 150 artifacts in Boston.

The news have been made by the Mayor of Boston Martin J. Walsh as he revealed a large statue of the king dressed in his royal outfit, in front of the entire city hall. The exhibition’s official website also confirmed the news.

“Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to witness King Tut’s stunning treasures before they return to Egypt forever!” The announcement read.

“Nearly 100 years after the discovery that captivated the world, KING TUT: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh — the largest collection of Tutankhamun’s treasures ever to travel out of Egypt — will open at The Saunders Castle at Park Plaza in Boston for a limited engagement beginning Saturday, June 13.” It added.

The exhibition will temporarily take place at Saunders Castle in Park Plaza, as of June 13th. It is then expected to carry out the tour to the Australian Museum in Sydney.

The exhibition will display 150 artifacts are of the boy King’s belongings, in addition to life-sized statute of him, a small shrine, an alabaster cup with beautiful inscription and a number of pots.

The exhibition has already witnessed great success during its previous tours in Paris and Los Angeles, and is now being held at the Saatchi Gallery in west London until May 3rd.

 

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356 Artifacts From King Tut, Ramses II and Thutmose III Transferred to the GEM

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A collection of 356 artifacts have been successfully transferred from the Egyptian Museum in Tahrir to the Grand Egyptian Museum, 37 artifacts from the treasures of the Golden King Tutankhamun were among the collection and are set to be displayed on the grand staircase of the museum.

The artifacts included a pink granite statue of King Ramses II, a black one of King Thutmose III and a naos for King Nectanebo, in addition to a box of quartzite that is used in preserving canopic pots from the collection of King Thutmose III.

Significant artifacts that have been previously transferred included the statues of King Ramses II, Sekhmet and Seti, and a huge pink granite portray of Ramses VI. 

Just last week, the Ministry of Antiquities and Tourism announced that the GEM is done with restoring around 47,000 artifacts from the items in the restoration center of the Grand Egyptian Museum.

And with 50000 artifacts to be displayed, the Grand Egyptian Museum will be the largest in the world dedicated to one civilization only.

 

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