…and home

Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

Spiny anemone

Not a lot to write about for the final day. We checked out around midday and had a bit of an explore in the afternoon.

The beach near the hotel is fantastic and the stuff in the rock pools very interesting. Hermit crabs, brightly-coloured fish, black starfish, spiny anemones… Really cool. We also found the other pools we’d not spotted the entire week including the slides. D’oh!

Sharm el-Sheikh airport isn’t bad, but it’s very expensive. Definitely do your souvenir shopping elsewhere and also try to use the toilets at the hotel before you arrive. The ones are the airport are filthy. After a sleeping Little Mister pee’d down me in the security queue, we went to sort his nappy out. In the gents we went to, there wasn’t a single one he could sit on to go pee. Not

Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

Clam

one. The seats in each were so wobbly that he’d have fallen in. And that’s not to mention the faeces smeared on one, and the puddles of urine left on another by the man who was in before us. Oh, and don’t worry about flushing. You can’t. The mechanisms are missing, kicked backwards into the walls.

Our flight home, however, was a little early which was nice. Other than the really uncomfortable seats (Thomson, have you squeezed an extra row in somewhere and stolen that vital inch of legroom?), nothing to say really. Though will someone explain how a taxi to Glasgow Airport cost us about £8 on Saturday morning, but over £18 to get back home from on Sunday morning?

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Jetting off again – at last

Image by Iain Purdie via Flickr

Nearing Egypt

Even at Glasgow Airport, I was making last-minute arrangements for our holiday in Sharm el-Sheikh. Finally the email came through from Emperor Divers to say that they had our details and I could pay for the courses and dives we had organised. Yay for mobile broadband and a smart phone!

This was my first “family” holiday with a family of my own, and the first trip abroad with my parents since I was 12. They’d decided to accompany us as they’ve never been to Egypt and they thought we might want someone around to help with the kids. Nice as it meant Gillian and I could spend a day diving together.

As usual, we had a meal in the Wetherspoons at the airport with its ridiculously malformed cutlery. Stocking up on drinks for the flight, we found out that it’s far cheaper to get your water and snacks from Boots than WHSmith. Noted for next time. I’m still gutted they closed the Greggs down a few months ago.

I was sat next to Little Mister for the flight, which was about six hours. Quite a long time for a 3 year old, but he coped really well. He conked out as the plane was accelerating down the runway and slept for the first hour or so. There were a few toilet issues as he filled his nappy and managed to get it all down his legs in the loo. Fortunately, he was fine afterwards apart from getting bored and deciding he needed the toilet every 30 minutes, which meant asking the very nice man at the end of our row to let us past far too often!

Little Miss had hijacked my headphones, so I watched Ong-Bak on the netbook as it’s subtitled.

We landed in Sharm el-Sheikh at around 10pm local time and I checked into FourSquare. I then got a text message from Three telling me that I had spent £3.50 and perhaps I’d consider a roaming package? Instead, I switched all data roaming off on my phone instantly. If it costs £3.50 to check into FourSquare via an app, what kind of cost would it be to check email? Ridiculous.

Our hotel, the Hauza Beach Resort, was only a ten minute ride down the road and we were soon there and unpacking.

Time enough for a quick drink by the pool (after Little Miss decided to go wading in it and didn’t see where it got deeper… *sploosh*) with the folks as we planned out the week. One hint, and I guess this holds for most all-inclusive resorts, is to bring your own large drinking vessel. A tumbler, plastic pint “glass” and so on. Otherwise you’ll find yourself traipsing back and forth a lot as the ones they provide are like thimbles.

Sunday was easy to plan – we were going to sit on our arses by the pool all day. Sorted.

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Iceland – Country 38

Coat of arms of Iceland.

Coat of arms of Iceland

Or 39 if you’re including the UK. At least I think so. I hope I’m not losing count. I should make it to 42 by summer!

The short flight from Glasgow to Keflavik was uneventful and smooth, and when I landed I thought we’d gone round in a circle. It was dark and raining – although Iceland‘s currently warmer than Scotland!

It’s currently 3am and I’ve spent a good three hours catching up on my email so I’ll be quite brief. Keflavik Airport seems nice and is all polished and smart. I’ll try to get some pics of the outside when I return on Friday as it’s a nice building. The tourist info was open even though I got through customs at around 11pm. I do feel sorry for the people who lugged bottles of vodka all the way from Glasgow only to drop one on the floor of the luggage collection area. Oops.

I got the Flybus direct to the HI Hostel, but was overcharged. The airport website states that the Flybus will take you direct to various hotels (including the youth hostel) for free. This is not the case. After arriving at the hostel, I checked the prices on the posters here against what I’ve been charged and also had a look at  Reykjavik Excursions’ website (the company that run the bus).

Prices are:

One way airport to Reykjavik central bus station (or other way): 1500 ISK

Return ticket purchased in advance: 2700 ISK

One way to/from one of the hotels/hostel : 2000 ISK

Return to hotels/hostel: 3700 ISK

Now, I wanted to go to the hostel but till be returning from the main bus station. I explained this to the girl selling the tickets, asking if there was a return ticket that was cheaper. Because I was going to the hostel she sold me a 3700 ISK return… which is more expensive than buying two singles for the two separate stops (2000 + 1500 = 2500).

In addition, had I known there was an extra charge – which I was never told and the airport website says it’s free – I’d not have paid it. Instead I’d have hopped off at the BSI station and walked it. It’s only about 20 minutes on foot. Overall, I’ve been overcharges 700 ISK which is roughly £4 at current exchange rates. OK, not a fortune, but it’s the principle. I may try to find their office and complain tomorrow.

Enough whinging. The hostel here is lovely and the staff very warm and welcoming – full review on the Accommodation Guide. I’ve only seen my room in the dark so far, as I ditched my stuff before taking a quick walk to get some (expensive) munchies and then setting up to get online.

And here I’ve been sat for three hours. Oops.

Time for bed and hopefully I’ll know where I’m meeting my hosts for the next two nights in the morning.

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