I’ve just come back from fantastic holidays in the Western desert, between Egypt and Libya. Marie, Marie-Christine, Mario and I started with El Alamein – where the Second World War famous battle took place. All the cemeteries and battle remains are quite depressing there but the Mediterranean seaside is gorgeous and you feel like you’re in some Caribbean island. Just for info, our guide told us that, to this day, Great Britain and Germany still refuse to pay for the mine clearance programme, which means a shocking 17 million landmines still remain in the desert and occasionally kill Bedouins. I don’t salute you Cameron and Merkel!

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We drove on to Mersa Matrouh, a seaside resort which is meant to be lively and overcrowded in summer... but desperately empty in winter. We got so bored, we just wanted to die! The weather was too bad to swim and there was literally nothing to do. It really felt like walking through a ghost town. Note to self: when travelling through Egypt, always take a board game or a set of playing cards with you!

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The next day, we arrived in Siwa, a beautiful oasis in the upper part of the Western desert. We watched the beautiful sunset on a salt lake and found a delicious café in town... Well actually all the tourists go to the same café, so nothing amazingly typical there but it’s really nice. Over the four days we stayed there we visited the Fortress – from where the sunset is stunning –, we climbed the Hill of the Dead – where hundreds of Ptolemaic tombs were found –, we wandered in the Oracle Temple – where Alexander the Great came to ask about his future –, we swam in Cleopatra’s Well – where Cleopatra actually never came, but hey you’ve got to please tourists! –, we fought against flies and mosquitoes – and believe me, we lost the battle! – and we ate at a great restaurant – no, not the same one!

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On the third day, we went for a jeep safari in the Great Sand Sea, and this was the most exciting experience in my whole life – ok, I’ve got a dull life... We drove up and down sand dunes, we went sand boarding, we swam in hot and cold water ponds right in the middle of the desert – by the way, the hot water pond just stinks of rotten eggs, it’s really disgusting, and once in there, you feel like the water is really greasy... You just want to throw up! At sunset, Ahmed, our guide, took us to the top of a sand hill and prepared some mint tea on a fire. Yes ok, at this point, you might think what the f***, all they did everyday was watching the sunset from a different viewpoint, and you’d be quite right... but let’s face it, we were in the middle of the desert, what the hell do you want to do apart from watching sunsets?!

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The last day in Siwa was quite weird because it was Eid, so everything was closed and no one was around. Once again, the ghost town feeling came up. However we rented some bikes at our hotel and off we rode around the oasis, back to Cleopatra’s Well for a last swim and a pomegranate juice. We left Siwa with loads of great memories.

On our journey back, we stopped over at Mersa Matrouh again – as it is unfortunately the easiest option when travelling from Cairo to Siwa and back... but this time round we were lucky and the sunny weather allowed us to go swimming. Still, this seaside resort is shit! We drove back to Cairo yesterday, I was exhausted but very happy about my holidays, which made me realise there’s more to Egypt than Cairo, and thank God for that! I can’t wait for the next trip out!