Egipt – Hurghada – Part 2


RO: Hotelul Steigenberger Aqua Magic este adresat in principal familiilor cu copii, rareori am vazut cupluri fara copii prin resort (din cate am inteles Steigenberger Aldau este resortul preferat de cupluri) insa au si multe facilitati de rasfat doar pentru cupluri. Piscina si barul adults only de pe acoperis, zona de spa (in care nu am ajuns), cine romantice pe plaja, la lumina lumanarii si cu picioarele in apa πŸ™‚ Recunoastem ca dintre toate am tanjit dupa cina romantica (29 euro de persoana, in plus fata de pachetul all inclusive) insa cu cei doi copilasi ar fi fost destul de dificil. Am fi putut insa sa ii luam cu noi sau sa ii lasam cu baby sitterul de la hotel. A doua optiune nu era o varianta pentru noi, nu ne-am fi incumetat sa ii lasam cu cineva strain, suntem mai speriati cand vine vorba de astfel de lucruri si nu avem incredere sa ii lasam decat cu cei foarte apropiati πŸ™‚ Asa ca rasfatul de adulti a fost doar piscina de sus, la care am fost pe rand, cand dormeam copiii. Dar e bine de stiut ca exista varianta de baby sitter la fel cum exista si un Kids Club, cu activitati zilnice si variate pentru copii. Am cerut inca de la inceput programul activitatilor insa am ajuns o singura data. Din pacate cele mai multe activitati erau pentru copiii mai mari, de peste 4 ani, insa si cei mici puteau sa participe impreuna cu un parinte. Sau daca nu la activitati, puteau sa se joace cu jocurile din club. Sau la spatiul de joaca din fata clubului (separat de piscina de copii). Insa am reusit sa avem totusi un rasfat de cuplu, chiar daca impreuna cu copiii, si anume micul dejun in camera πŸ™‚ As spune breakfast in bed dar in formula actuala era cam dificil sa fie in bed :))) Asa ca a fost pe balcon. Sunt patru variante de mic dejun in pat disponibile, nu sunt incluse in pachetul de all inclusive dar sunt foarte accesibile ca pret (3 dintre ele costa 160 de lire egiptene – aproximativ 8 euro, iar unul 320 de lire egiptene – cam 17 euro). Toate sunt foarte generoase ca portii, nu am reusit sa mancam nici un sfert din toata mancarea.Β 

EN: The main target of the Steigenberger Aqua Magic hotel are families with children, we’ve rarely seen couples without children in the resort (from what we understood, Steigenberger Aldau is the resort preferred by couples) but they also have indulgence facilities for couples only. The adults only pool and bar from the top floor, the spa area (we haven’t tried it), candle lit romantic dinners on the beach, with the feet in the water πŸ™‚ We have to admit that from all these, we longed for the romantic dinner (29 euros per person, not included in the all inclusive package) but with our two small children it would have been quite difficult. However, we could have taken them with us or leave them with the baby sitter from the hotel. The second option wouldn’t have been feasible for us, we do not dare to leave them with a stranger, we are a bit too cautious when it comes to this kind of things and we only trust really close persons to stay with them πŸ™‚ So our adult indulgence was just the adults pool, in turn, when the kids were sleeping. But it is good to know that there is the option of a baby sitter as well as a Kids Club, with daily activities for children. We asked for the children activities schedule from the beginning but we only been there once. Unfortunately most of the activities are for bigger children, above 4 years, but the little ones could also participate along with a parent. Or if the activities were not an option, we also had a playground in front of the club (separate from the children pool). But we eventually had an adults retreat, even though it was together with our kids, and that was the breakfast in the room πŸ™‚ I would really like to call it breakfast in bed but considering the circumstances, it would have been a bit difficult to eat in the bed :))) So it was a breakfast on the balcony. There are four breakfast options, not included in the all inclusive packages but really affordable (3 of them were 160 Egyptian pounds – approximately 8 euros and the last one was 320 Egyptian pounds – around 17 euros). There are generous portions, we ate less than a quarter from all the food we had.

RO: Tot la capitolul facilitati as mentiona si faptul ca in cadrul hotelului exista un doctor si o farmacie, in caz de probleme medicale. In mod normal nu am fi fost foarte ingrijorati insa am fost avertizati in repetate randuri ca exista mari probleme cu apa in Egipt, in sensul ca apa de la robinet nu este potabila. De fapt nu doar ca nu este potabila, dar daca este inghitita accidental (la spalatul pe dinti sau la dus), poate duce la probleme de stomac, uneori destul de serioase. Initial ne-am gandit ca este o exagerare, insa dupa ce am primit zeci de mesaje de la oameni care au fost in Egipt si care s-au imbolnavit, ne-am alarmat suficient de tare incat sa consideram anularea plecarii. Insa ulterior am zis ca daca vom fi bine pregatiti si foarte grijulii, nu ar trebui sa avem probleme. Astfel ca am cerut medicului nostru pediatru o lista de medicamente (grija noastra principala erau copiii, nu noi) adaptata destinatiei si chiar daca am avut un sfert de troler plin de medicamente, am preferat sa procedam asa. Medicamentele erau in special pentru dureri de burta, afectiuni ale stomacului, enterocolite, deshidratare. Le aveam pe toate la noi si in caz de probleme urma sa contactam medicul si sa ne spuna exact ce sa luam si ce tratament sa urmam. Din fericire, nu am avut probleme, Alexei a avut un singur scaun moale si durere de burta intr-o dupa amiaza (dar si-a revenit imediat dupa somn si dupa un pliculet de Smecta si niste Linex Baby (pentru echilibrarea florei intestinale). Unii parinti ne-au scris ca inainte de a veni in Egipt au inceput o cura cu probiotice pentru copii si ca nu au avut deloc probleme, deci poate ar fi si aceasta o varianta. In schimb, probleme mai serioase a avut Andrei. Nu stim exact de la ce, dar l-a durut stomacul doua zile. Presupunem ca fie de la bauturile cu gheata (desi ei spun ca inclusiv gheata folosita este din apa imbuteliata), fie de la fructe (spalate cu ap normal probabil), fie chiar de la mancare si de la condimentele cu care nu suntem noi obisnuiti (Andrei reactioneaza de regula asa cand schimba mediul si mancarea, este in general mai sensibil). In orice caz, fie ca a fost sau nu de la apa, este clar ca exista o problema cu apa in Egipt. Inclusiv cei de la hotel ne-au sfatuit in prima zi sa ne spalam pe dinti cu apa plata, sa nu folosim apa de la chiuveta. Si au fost foarte intelegatori cu noi, imediat cum am spus de problemele de burta ne-au trimis in camera un cos de baby bananas si ceai de menta, sfatuindu-ne sa apelam la doctorul hotelului in caz ca se agraveaza simptomele. Oricum, indiferent de medicamente sau existenta doctorului in resort, credem ca este foarte important de avutΒ asigurari medicale. Noi am avut pentru toti patru, cat mai acoperitoare, inclusiv pentru pandemie (noi lucram cu un agent de la Groupama, care ne ajuta cu asigurarile de ani buni de zile).Β 

EN: Regarding other facilities, I would also mention the fact that inside the hotel there is a doctor and also a pharmacy, in case there are some medical issues. Normally, we wouldn’t have been too worried if we wouldn’t have been repeatedly warned that there are some problems with the water in Egypt, meaning that tap water is not drinkable. Actually, not only that it is not drinkable but if it is accidentally drank (while brushing the teeth or showering) it can lead to stomach issues, sometimes quite serious ones. Initially we thought this was an exaggeration but after receiving lots of messages from people that have been to Egypt already and fell ill we became quite alarmed and even considered cancelling the trip. But then we thought that if we will be well prepared and careful we shouldn’t have problems. So we asked our pediatrician to provide us a list of medicines (our main concern were the kids, not us) adapted to our destination and even though we had a quarter of a trolley full of drugs, we preferred this way. The medicines were especially for tummy aches, stomach issues, enterocolitis, dehydration. We had everything with us and in case of problems we would have contacted the doctor who would have told us what exactly to do and what treatment to follow. Luckily we did not have problems, Alexei had a single episode of tummy pains (but he was quickly recovered after a nap and some medicines for diarrhea and to rebalance the intestine flora). Some parents wrote us before that before coming to Egypt they have started a treatment with probiotics for their children and they did not have any issues at all, so this might also be an option. But Andrei had more serious problems. We do not know why, but he had stomach aches for two days. We assume that it was from the drinks with ice (although the staff from the resort informed us that the ice is made from bottled water), or maybe the fruits (probably washed with tap water), or even the food and the condiments we are not used to (Andrei usually reacts this way when changing the environment and the food he’s used to, he is more sensitive in general when it comes to food). Anyways, even if it was from the water or not, it is clear that there is an issue with the water in Egypt. Including the staff from the hotel advised us from the very first day to brush our teeth with bottled water and not use the tap water. And they’ve been really nice with us, right after we told them that we have some stomach issues that sent us a basket of baby bananas and mint tea, advising us to reach for the doctor in the resort in case it would have got worse. Anyhow, no matter the medicines we take with us or the fact that there is a doctor or not in the resort, we think that it is absolutely necessary to have medical insurances. We had for all four of us, as complete as possible, including for the pandemic (we work with a consultant from Groupama that helps us for many years).

RO: Personalul hotelului ni s-a parut extrem, extrem de amabil, mereu zambitori si dispusi sa ne ajute. Uneori simteam ca sunt poate chiar prea amabili πŸ™‚ Ni s-a intamplat chiar sa facem cumparaturi (suveniruri si alte lucruri necesare din supermarket), sa nu ne mearga cardurile (mare chinuiala cu cardurile) si sa ne lase sa plecam cu produsele fara sa le platim, avand incredere in noi ca ne vom intoarce sa le aducem banii atunci cand vom rezolva cu cardurile. Si ni s-au parut foarte grijulii cu copiii, mereu se jucau cu ei, ii distrau, amuzau, vorbeau cu ei (chiar si cu Anastasia, sau as spune mai ales cu Anastasia). Erau extrem de multi copii in resort, chiar si bebelusi mici. La hotel exista posibilitatea de a inchiria un carucior (ca sa nu venim cu caruciorul nostru), insa trebuie informati dinainte, ca sa fie siguri ca au disponibilitate.Β 

EN: The staff of the hotel was really, really nice, always smiling and wanting to help. Sometimes we felt that they were a bit too nice πŸ™‚ It once happened to shop in the souk (souvenirs and some things we needed from the supermarket) and our cards did not work (it is a real struggle to use the cards here) and they allowed us to leave taking the products without paying, trusting us that we will come back and bring them the money once we will solve our problem with the cards. They were also very careful with the children, always playing with them, talking to them (even with Anastasia, actually especially with her). There were lots of children in the resort, even small babies. It is possible to rent a stroller (in case we couldn’t bring our own one) but they need to be informed beforehand, so that they can be sure that they have one available.

RO: Tot in cadrul hotelului exista si un souk, o zona cu magazine, supermarket, suveniruri. Ne-a fost de mare folos pentru ca am ramas fara scutece (nu am estimat corect cand am facut bagajele).Β InternetulΒ merge cumplit la hotel (exista wifi dar e foarte slab) asa ca am fi vrut sa cumparam chiar si o cartela pentru internet, din pacate insa avem telefoane blocate in retelele din Romania si nu o puteam folosi. Insa este o practica foarte comuna, cei mai multi oameni isi cumpara astfel de cartele direct din aeroport, de la iesirea din aeroport, unde ar fi la preturi mai bune (chiar era coada cand am ajuns si nu intelegeam ce e cu atata nebunie cu aceste cartele de net). Greseala noastra a fost ca nu am luat de acasa modemul de net pe care il avem (mic, foarte usor portabil), l-am fi putut folosi pe acela daca stiam de aceasta problema cu internetul.Β 

EN: Inside the resort there is also a souk, an area with shops, supermarket, souvenirs. It was very useful for us as we were out of diapers at some point (we did not estimate correctly when packing). Internet is absolutely awful (there is wifi in the hotel but not a good one) so we wanted to buy a prepaid SIM card for internet but unfortunatelt due to the fact that our phones are blocked in the local Romanian networks we could not use it. But this is a very common practice, most of the tourists buy this type of cards directly from the airport exit, where they would have better prices (it was actually a queue when we got there and we did not understand what’s all the hustle and bustle with these cards). Our mistake was the fact that we did not take our internet modem from home (tiny and portable), we would have used it if we would have known that there is such an issue with the internet.


RO: Ar mai fi si alte lucruri care ni se par importante de stiut inainte de a pleca in Egipt. Spre exemplu faptul ca este destul de complicat de folositΒ cardul bancarΒ si ca se prefera platile cash, poate chiar in moneda lor (lire egiptene). Ar fi indicat de avut o aplicatie de conversie in moneda locala, noua ne-a fost de folos in vreo doua situatii in care era sa fim pacaliti πŸ™‚ Noi nu am avut foarte mult cash la noi, doar cativa dolari si a fost o adevarata aventura nu doar sa platim cu cardul dar si sa scoatem bani de pe card (patru carduri diferite, de la banci diferite si am reusit sa scoatem doar de pe Revolut, cu chiu cu vai). A si neaparat, e bine de stiut ca egiptenilor le place saΒ negocieze. Mult. De regula nu ne lasam deloc pacaliti in vacante insa de data aceasta chiar am reusit sa ne luam o teapa de zile mari cu niste poze dintr-o excursie cu submarinul, pe care am platit 80 euro (negociat de la 150). Ni s-a spus ca am fi putut sa le obtinem cu maxim 15 euro si ca orice negociere in Egipt (pentru excursii si alte servicii turistice) incepe din start de la injumatatirea pretului cerut initial. N-am stiut acum dar stim pentru data viitoare.

EN: There would be some other things that we consider important to know before going to Egypt. For instance the fact that it is quite complicated to use the bank card and cash payments are preferred, maybe in their own currency (Egyptian pound). It would be advisable to have a currency conversion app, for us it was quite useful in some cases when we were about to be fooled by some locals πŸ™‚ We didn’t have too much cash with us, just some dollars and it was quite an adventure to pay with the bank card but also to take retrieve money from the card (four different cards, from four different banks and we eventually managed to retrieve money from Revolut). Oh, and one thing to consider is the fact that Egyptian people love to negociate. A lot. We have never been tricked in vacations but this time we were :))) In the trip with the submarine, we paid 80 euros for some photos (negotiated from 150 euro). We were told that we could have taken them with maximum 15 euros and that any negociation in Egypt (for trips and other touristic services) starts from half of the price requested beforehand. We didn’t know that but we will for next time.


RO: Cat despre imbracaminte (a femeilor pentru ca a barbatilor poate fi oricum)… hm… este totusi o tara musulmana (90% din populatie sunt musulmani, 10% crestini – da, si noi am fost surprinsi sa auzim ca exista crestini in Egipt). Si chiar daca angajatii din resorturi sunt extrem de obisnuiti cu turistii, eu una am simtit ca este mai potrivit sa folosesc imbracaminte mai acoperitoare (cand nu eram la plaja). Bineinteles, au fost si zile in care era prea cald ca sa ma acopar complet dar incercam pe cat posibil sa nu am descoperiti in acelasi timp si umerii si genunchii. Eram insa printre foarte putinele turiste europene care faceau asta, deci poate ca nu era cazul sa simt o presiune sa fac asta. La fel si cu alaptatul in public. Am vazut multe mame (europence, in principal din Germania) care alaptau in public insa toate erau discrete. Fie alegeau un loc mai retras, fie se acopereau cu o muselina cat sa nu fie foarte evidente. La fel am procedat si eu.Β 

EN: As for the clothing (women clothing as men clothing can be as they wish)… hmm… this is a Muslin country (90% of the population is Muslin, 10% Christians – yup, we’ve also been surprised to hear that there are Christians in Egypt). And even though staff from resorts are used with tourists, I felt that it is more appropriate to use covering clothing (when I was not at the beach). Of course, there have been some days when it was way too hot to cover completely but I was at least trying not to have uncovered both the knees and shoulders at the same time. But I was one of the few European tourists that were doing this, so maybe it was not the case to feel the pressure to do it. The same thing goes with breastfeeding in public. I’ve seen lots of mothers (European mothers, especially from Germany) that were breastfeeding in public but all of them were discrete. They were either choosing a private place or covering themselves with a mousseline so that they wouldn’t be ostentatious. And this is exactly how I breastfed as well.


RO: Despre siguranta in Egipt am citit multe si in principal se spune ca este suficient de sigur pentru turisti, mai ales cei insotiti de un ghid. Noi insa nu avem foarte multa toleranta la risc, suntem in general mai panicati, cu atat mai mult de cand au aparut copiii. Nu ne-am simtit foarte confortabil vazand cladiri abandonate, multa mizerie, multa politie inarmata la colt de strada. Cel putin pentru noi, cu doi copii mici, nu era tocmai tentant sa ne plimbam prin Hurghada in aceste conditii (am vazut parti din statiune cand am fost cu masina catre excursia cu submarinul).Β Excursia noastra in Egipt nu a fost de explorare, oricat de mult ne-ar fi placut sa fie. In alte conditii, am fi vrut sa facem de toate. Si croaziera pe Nil, si vizita in Cairo, si mers la piramide, si vizitat Luxor-ul sau Aswan-ul, si vreo excursie la insulele din preajma Hurghadei. Insa am vrut sa fie o excursie de relaxare, in care doar sa ne bucuram de mare, de stat degeaba in resort si la plaja. In final am facut totusi doua excursii, una cu submarinul (toti patru, inclusiv cea mica) si un safari cu ATV-uri (doar Andrei si Alexei, nu era deloc potrivit pentru un bebelus aceasta excursie). Despre acestea vom vorbi in niste postari separate pe blog.Β 

EN: We read a lot about safety in Egypt and in general it is said that it is quite safe for tourists, especially for those that are accompanied by a local guide. But we do not have much risk tolerance, we are in general a bit more cautious, especially since we have the kids. We didn’t feel so comfortable seeing so many abandoned buildings, so much misery, so much armed police at every corner of the streets. At least for us, with two small children, it wasn’t quite tempting to walk through Hurghada in these conditions (we’ve seen parts of the city when we’ve been transferred by car to the submarine trip). Our trip to Egypt was not for exploring, even though we would have like it. In other conditions, we would have wanted to do everything. Nile cruise, a visit to Cairo, seeing the pyramids, visiting Luxor or Aswan, a trip to the surrounding islands of Hurghada. But we wanted to be a trip for relaxation, to enjoy the sea, to stay in the resort and to sunbath. In the end we did two excursions, one with the submarine (all four of us, including our little one) and a safari with ATVs (just Andrei aand Alexei as this was definitely not a trip for babies). But we will talk about these in separate postings on our blog.

RO: Concluzia este ca da, ne-a placut foarte mult in Egipt. Ne-a placut si ideea de vacanta in resort all inclusive, si faptul ca am avut totul la dispozitie, fara sa ne stresam pentru absolut nimic. Ne-a placut predictibilitatea acestei vacante, a fost exact ce aveam nevoie in acest moment (rutina, confort, program stabilit de masa si somn pentru copii). Si suntem convinsi ca in perioada ce urmeaza vom mai avea astfel de vacante. Cel putin cat vor mai fi copiii atat de mici nu credem ca ne vom aventura in excursii prea… aventuroase πŸ™‚ Iar hotelul Steigenberger Aqua Magic ni s-a parut foarte bun pentru ceea ce ofera, perfect pentru familii, cu extrem de multe facilitati atat pentru copii cat si pentru adulti. Sunt insa unele lucruri pe care ar putea poate sa le imbunatateasca putin, cum ar fi curatenia si confortul camerelor (mobila in special ar putea fi reinnoita). In rest, totul a fost extrem de bine si de… confortabil, o vacanta de rasfat πŸ™‚Β 

EN: The conclusion is that yes, we loved Egypt. We loved the idea of an all inclusive vacation and the fact that we had everything at hand, without worrying for anything. We loved the predictibility of this trip, it was exactly what we needed in this moment of our lives (routine, comfort, schedule for meals and sleep for our children). And we are sure that in the years that will follow we’ll have more vacations like this one. At least while our kids will be so young we will not be able to have adventurous trips. And Steinberger Aqua Magic hotel seemed to be great for what it offers, perfect for families, with lots of facilities for both children and adults. However, there are some things that could be improved a bit, as cleanliness and room comfort (furniture could be renewed). Other than that, everything was nice and… comfortable, a vacation for indulgence πŸ™‚

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