2018: Milestones and more (Egypt)

View from our apartment.
It was a year of monumental change for us. We sold our lovely home in the Luberon hills of Provence in record time (2 days), did some serious downsizing and moved to an apartment on the French Riviera. Emptying that house of at least 75% of the contents at flea markets, online sales and more was a demanding challenge. So was finding a new roost. But, we did it all and here we are. The apartment is spacious with a to-die-for view of the Med and mountains. At night, it is magic. Life is less complicated. We are closer to commerce. And, a beach where I look forward to Med swims when the weather warms. And Italy, just 20 minutes away where we love to shop. Benissimo!

Four mainly outdoor cats accompanied us. We could not abandon them. Pets are a

My feline family.
lifetime commitment, not to be tossed out if inconvenient. That, too, has been challenging, but now we are down to three felines. My precious boy Adam was peacefully euthanized on 1 Dec. (age 14, cancer). We miss him. He was special.

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Bob and Adam. Filippo in rear.

Not monumental, but a milestone. I am now a French citizen — and an EU citizen. (lots of paperwork, perseverance and patience) I will not relinquish my American passport, but have dual citizenship. Vive la France!

Before the stress of the move preparation, we had two wonderful trips in 2018, Egypt and India. See previous posts for more: Drifting Up- and Down-the Nile, Apr 2018; India’s Big Cats, June 2018; Alok and Ankita’s Wedding, Jul. 2018.

Part II of our Egypt adventure was a beach holiday following the Nile cruise. Interesting.

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Pool, one of several, at our hotel. Gardeners work hard to maintain the lush greenery in the midst of the desert (see below).
I booked an all-inclusive package at a French travel agency and expected we would be at a mainly French hotel. Surprise. Instead of speaking French, I needed my German. Ninety percent of the hotel guests were German. The huge hotel (505 rooms) was sold to a German company in 2017, I learned.

Desert surrounds Hurghada.
Hurghada on the Red Sea is a popular beach vacation destination. Until the 2015 crash of a Russian passenger jet brought down by a bomb over the Sinai, Russians were the primary clientele. No longer, and due to this and other terrorist incidents in Egypt,

Red Sea beach near Hurghada
international travel took a hit. Those intrepid Germans were the first to return, but last year many others followed. Tourism was bouncing back. However, the recent attack on a tour bus near the Gaza pyramids will not help which is tragic. Egypt needs tourists. We felt very safe during our travels.

Our hotel was not in Hurghada, but on a section of beach about 45 minutes  from the town.    Large hotel after large hotel, all with mainly German guests, line the shore. Deutschland can be bleak with too little sun as we know from the many years we lived there. It is no surprise that Germans are known to seek the sun on holiday.

Having had a cancerous bump (basal cell carcinoma) removed from my nose, I try to avoid those tanning rays. I was surprised. Most hotel guests had no fears of the sun. They bake, hour after hour. Some of the tans outdid those old Coppertone ads.

The perfect tan can be hazardous.
What to do if you don’t want to broil all day? There are organized beach games, a variety of excursions, scuba diving. On a previous trip to Dubai, we had done a desert tour. During our cruise, we visited the sights of Luxor. No need to repeat those. I signed up for a snorkel trip with the intention of moving on to scuba. But, the snorkeling was not that exciting. I feared a beginner’s scuba trip would be about the same. I passed.

We also passed on a visit to Hurghada since we had heard it did not offer much – mainly more hotels. We did take a taxi to a shopping center which was much like a shopping center anywhere, but had a genuine Egyptian restaurant.

Hotel beach.
That was a plus. One day we went for a long walk along the beach, the hotel strip, assuming we would come to a restaurant for lunch. Nothing. All the restaurants are part of hotels, for hotel guests only.

There is no shortage of food on these all inclusive package tours. Copious buffets are offered three times per day. All kinds of food. It is astonishing how much some folks put away, plate after plate. Snacks are available between meals. Beverages, including wine, beer and cocktails, are also included. Caipirinha were popular at the bar in the middle of the swimming pool

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Alcoholic drinks included in the package price. Caipirinha — cocktail of choice at pool bar.
Our hotel had two main restaurants, a huge hall with a terrace and a large outdoor beach restaurant. And, a courtyard with specialty restaurants (Chinese, Italian, Burger etc.) which you could book ahead for dinner. We tried them all. Overall the food was not bad, but not great. Our shopping center lunch was our favorite. It seemed like real Egypt.

I talked to a couple from Niedersachsen, Germany, on their fifth winter visit to Hurghada. “It’s reasonable. It’s warm. We are happy here.” So are thousands of other tourists who fill the 175 hotels in Hurghada which provide jobs for some 200,000. Average salary is about 70 euro per month.


Hurghada, called a “touristic hotspot” by one publication, is booming with more hotels under construction. For the sun and sea and all you can eat, it’s a deal. But, we much preferred our week on the Nile to our week on the Red Sea.

Words of wisdom for 2019 from my hero and inspiration, the late Anthony Bourdain:

“If I’m an advocate for anything, it’s to move. As far as you can, as much as you can. Across the ocean, or simply across the river. The extent to which you can walk in someone else’s shoes or at least eat their food, it’s a plus for everybody. Open your mind, get up off the couch, move.”

We will get off that couch and begin 2019 with adventure:  the US then Costa Rica.

fullsizeoutput_11f6Happy New Year.  Happy Trails to all.

At last, a new recipe. Broccoli Parmesan Gratin is worth a try — even if broccoli is not on your favorites list.  See top right.

If not a talesandtravel, follower please sign up (upper right).  Your address is kept private and never shared.  Rajasthan, India,  coming soon,

Please comment .  Click below then scroll down.  I love to hear from my readers.makeread2


25 thoughts on “2018: Milestones and more (Egypt)”

  1. Happy New Year ,Leah & Bob ,have a wonderful holiday in USA &Costa Rica
    Thank you for Tales &Travel,we look forward to the next one .continue to enjoy life in your new home

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Leah: Congratulations on your French/EU citizenship. Looking forward to seeing more of where you two are living now. Please keep the stories and photos coming. Happy New Year to you both, What a great start.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The US? When ;where? You’ll love Costa Rica (not a big fan of San Jose’ typical third world but knowing you you’ll probably love it )! More about USA. Surely you jest but I’ll hop in my Lear meet you anywhere

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great stories Leah. You brought back lots of memories for me as I’ve been to Egypt. I have even ridden a camel across the dessert. I can remember how hot it was and can understand the attraction for Germans. They sure love the sun and tan so easily!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Leah – Bonne Annee! et Bienvenue au France! Thanks for the notes and the recipe – will have to try soon – it sounds wonderful. It will be good to get off the Brussels Sprouts bandwagon and back to broccoli….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So fun to catch up some on you 2. Love the picture of you both. So glad the move is a good one. Congrats on your French citizenship. Happy New Year. Hope to see you in 2019. Any chance you’ll get to CO?? We’d love to see you. Let us know.
    Love, Kathy and Bob

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I loved reading about your travels in Egypt. So sad that their tourist business is down. The photo of the generously sized bathers by the pool bar is priceless! Germans or Americans? Happy New Year to you and Bob!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Happy new year! As usual, enjoyed reading, learning, imagining being with you. Congrats on becoming a French citizen, Leah! Look forward to your US visit!!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Sounds great.     May we all survire eight years of The Donald in the White House.   Cheers,Barney         > Message du 01/01/19 19:03 > De : “Tales and Travel” > A : barney.k@orange.fr > Copie à : > Objet : [New post] 2018:  Milestones and more (Egypt) > >WordPress.com

    leahlarkin posted: ” It was a year of monumental change for us. We sold our lovely home in the Luberon hills of Provence in record time (2 days), did some serious downsizing and moved to an apartment on the French Riviera. Emptying that house of at least 75% of the contents”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Come on Barney…let’s be positive. No more than a few more months. Mueller must save the country. And, hopefully soon. Great to hear from you. Must rdv next time we are in Paris.


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