After the long layover in Amsterdam, I flew to Cairo and arrived at Terminal 1 at the International Airport. It was a little confusing because after standing in line, I was directed to go to the "bank" stall to get my Visa. There wasn't any signs indicating to get your Visas at the stall, but yes, I received my Visa, and entered Egypt. After picking up my luggage, it was unclear where I would go to catch my Egyptair flight to Hurghada. I was told to catch the shuttle so I went outside (it was early morning and still dark) but there was no shuttle to be found. On a security note, I saw only two armed guards behind a steel plated wall while walking down the ramp. After asking the passengers and taxi drivers where to find the shuttle, they all pointed to walk up the dark and empty street, where no shuttle was visible. I decided to negotiate a ride over to Terminal 3, after asking a couple women passengers if this was safe to take the unmarked taxi. Of course, at the time, I had no idea where I was going and hoped for the best! But, my taxi driver roared and weaved through the airport streets and I arrived at my destination. I was a few hours early for my flight, but decided I'd try to check in. After receiving my itinerary for all my flights, a man came over to help me load my luggage on the ramp and then asked me for some backsheesh. After declining I was left to load the rest of my luggage myself! After 2 days of flying and 3 flights I finally arrived in Hurghada!
It really is an amazing site to see all the desert for miles and miles finally meet the crystal blue waters of the Red Sea. Look at the amazing reef up to the shore of the beach! And off the tip of the pier there was a great spot to snorkel. The water was like bath water, so warm!
I stayed at the all inclusive adult only Makadi Spa and Hotel, afterall, this was my trip of a lifetime! I decided to stay in Makadi which is about 30 minutes north of Hurghada as the reviews indicated the beaches and snorkeling were better. The Makadi Spa is actually a chain of hotels with the Grand Makadi and the Makadi Palace so you could enjoy the pools, food and beverages at the other hotels but the other hotel guests were not able to do the same. The Cafe Vienna made the best macchiatos! And the rooms were amazingly wonderful and I'm sure larger than my condo!
I felt completely safe at the hotel and in Egypt everywhere. The hotels are gated and you needed a pass in order to get into the hotel community. The Egyptians were all so friendly and always wanted to ensure my safety and wanted the tourists to let people know that it was safe to travel through Egypt. All the children said "Hello" and "Welcome!" They really have been struggling with their economy and it was very evident in Hurghada, where many of the new hotels stood vacant in various stages of construction. Hurghada is where all the Europeans vacation, especially the Germans and Russians. Due to the bombing of the Russian passenger plane from Sharm el-Sheikh by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)'s Sinai Branch, who claimed responsibility for the incident, tourism has declined tremendously over the years in this area. The resultant airline restrictions at the Sharm el-Sheikh airport, global travel warnings, travel ban between Egypt and Russia and ongoing political instability have had a major impact on tourism along the Red Sea and that of Egypt. Apparently, travel restrictions were being lifted soon and airlines will be flying direct to Sharm el-Sheikh again so there is hope for a revival of the tourism industry along the Sinai Peninsula and down the coast of the Red Sea.