Our best holiday yet has to be our Egypt family holiday last winter. It was cold in the desert, flights were canceled because of snow that fell from the skies, and 30-degree centigrade temperatures were average. But despite the wintry conditions, it was exhilarating to be sitting in the warm sand as our guide explained the colors, directions, and techniques of the ancient Egyptians.

Shopping in the huge desert bazaar was a treat.

There were countless prices that you can see through your fingers as he explained the many different products. constantly barging his way through the crowded market, I came across some baby shoes that I loved the look of and began to bargain.

Driving further north resulted in us joining the thousands of other tourists who were being guided in their camels to the Valley of the Kings. northeast of Lake Nasser a hot air balloon had been launched, and the families of the guide and I followed in her footsteps.

Some drove through the night to see a sunrise, others arriving much later to still be rewarded by a glorious display of the sun’s power. After walking through the dusty earth for hours we finally reached the Ensure Bakery.

I had bought three of their pastries and brought a heavily begging child on my lap to snack on the cool looking icy balconies inside. Looking back on this I was not so surprised with the timing. The municipality of erratic pricing has a well-deserved reputation for being fairly conservative with their concerns. Going to higher-priced restaurants and hotels takes the same amount of effort.

The rest of the journey

My hot chocolate was three-star, and my beggar’s children’s smiles were genuine. Theirs too was eternal. Egyptian coffee was the richest and most delicious variety. Red and green tea were served in small individual cups without ice. The flavor and aroma were exquisite, and the temperaments of the teas were just right. The heavenly cup of coffee was being pried from little mugs, not quite full, not yet quite empty.

Smelling that delicious coffee was a pleasure and a mild fear. Later I learned that many coffee shops still serve large sandwiches the one behind us was just one of ‘those’!

Some were no doubt bustling with business during the lunch break, but it was equally well worth the wait. We sat down to an early lunch at a nearby café and unpacked our very own tea bellies. As some of the freshest smells entered our chilly nostrils we began to discuss the finer points of washing without water. I showed them exactly how to do it and discovered that they were completely unaware of the odd detail.

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