By Helen Shingler:
I’ve just returned from three weeks holiday by the Red Sea in a place called El Gouna, forty minutes from Hurghada Airport in Egypt. The first question everyone asks me is “Is it safe?” My first response is “Is it ‘safe’ anywhere these days?” It is of course a preconception on past evidence that it is dangerous to be in that part of the world. However, look at what happened in Manchester, London, Barcelona and Paris. Evil is everywhere but we can’t stop living our lives and enjoying our freedom. I felt safe from the start because of the stringent airport security at both ends of the journey; we flew from Bristol.
I was staying with my family in a purpose built self-contained gated residential community and resort called ‘El Gouna’. My daughter, son-in-law and three grandchildren ages 4, 9 and 11 moved there in May and all of them love it. They are living there, not just on holiday; the older kids go to an International School and will take GCSEs , my daughter has a very successful online business and is a ‘digital nomad’ which means she could live and work from anywhere in the world if there is an internet connection! They love the climate, all year around sunshine and warm weather, the beaches, facilities and style of living. They have lived in France, Spain, Italy and Crete before Egypt and England only very briefly (too cold!)
I went there for the first time thinking I wouldn’t want to live here all year round and I still wouldn’t. I love England, having four different seasons, having to wrap up warm in the Winter, the possibility of snow, being able to pursue all my hobbies/interests, quaint little village pubs, the eccentricity of British people, driving an hour and being in another village or coastal resort and not surrounded by desert. For a holiday it was good and of course primarily we went to visit our family but everyday the sun shone and it was around 30 degrees which a lot of people love.
Twelve years ago we visited Egypt and stayed in Luxor where my daughter was then living (she has always loved Egypt) and we saw a different Egypt then. Luxor was ‘real’ and ‘raw’ and I loved the West Bank, Luxor and Karnak Temples, the Nile Cruise, the Museum in Cairo, the Pyramids and the Sphinx. Ancient Egypt totally gripped me and I’m still fascinated.
Then the troubles started again and Luxor and Sharm el Sheikh have suffered in terms of foreign visitors and holidaymakers. Those two places are still quiet, sadly. However we flew into Hurghada with Thomas Cook and the plane was full of holidaymakers on package holidays because they are cheap and it is overall cheaper to eat and drink out in Egypt. Hurghada is very popular as a resort and it is situated on the other side of the Red Sea to Sharm el Sheikh. We know several people who have visited El Gouna and loved it. It is a gated community as I have said and there is plenty of security around so you do feel safe. Personally, I would feel less safe in America where anyone can own a gun.
So there you have it, it’s all down to personal choice and how adventurous you want to be but I will be going back next year but probably when it’s cooler! An upside of October in El Gouna was that there weren’t any mosquitoes and I took loads of repellent!