Aswan was definitely another place I took a bit of a vacation from my vacation. In the interest of safety (and because it’s still relatively cheap in the US), I booked myself into a slightly nicer hotel – I stayed at the Movenpick Aswan. I knew I wanted to stay at least a couple of extra nights in Aswan so that I could head down to Abu Simbel. And I knew I’d likely want some time to regroup before deciding what was next, to catch up with the blog, and to plan for the travels ahead.
The hotel is giant and is on an island in the middle of the Nile (they have a 24 hour a day ferry service), and it’s got two incredible pools. My room was pretty big, with a giant shower and bathtub, as well as a great balcony overlooking the Nile. It was so fun to sit in the evenings and just watch the activity near the river. More than one blog post may have been written there! After so many nights in hostels this trip, it felt so fun and luxurious to have a really nice hotel room all to myself.
The gardens are giant and well-done, and also right on the river. There are tons of flowers, trees, bushes, and paths running through it. It was a wonderful place to go in the evening and reflect on the day!
One thing I love about the Movenpick in general is their ice cream – so I was really excited to get some while I was staying there! It’s low season, and tourism is hurting, so I was sad that they were only carrying a few flavors. But it’s understandable. I probably saw 20 other people in the whole resort? It’s broken into a new side and old side, and I think they have the old side closed except for the Panorama restaurant. (Or it seemed that way.)
I do think that everyone in the resort probably knows me as “the girl who only eats ice cream” because that’s all I had at the hotel! The mornings i was there I was leaving too early for breakfast, and then by the time I made it back, well, it was ice cream time. I was also being a bit touchy with food.
On the whole, Egypt did not agree with my stomach. No matter what I ate, it seemed to get upset. My guess is that it had to do with the food prep conditions. I did not see many people in food service washing their hands (ugh). So while I was at the Movenpick, I was “that” American – McDonald’s was just on the other side of the ferry, so I went there to eat.
I will take a second to defend McDonald’s – in this crazy world, they do a remarkable job of delivering a consistent experience globally. When you’re tired and just want a familiar meal, McDonald’s is great. There’s virtually always someone on staff who speaks pretty good English, the food is of reasonable quality (if you just rolled your eyes, trust me… it is when you’re comparing it to Egyptian food!), there’s generally free WiFi, and clean bathrooms (with toilet paper!). It’s funny how these things become value propositions when they’re so widely lacking elsewhere!
But most of what I did at the resort was rest – after all the tours of the cruise, and then the early morning at Abu Simbel, it was nice to have a rest. It was wonderful to lean back on the bed, watch BBC and see what happened in the world, and just generally feel a bit more “normal.”
The Movenpick was also amazing because it was a respite from Aswan itself. I don’t know if I was with men more in Cairo, or they’re more used to seeing women, but Aswan took the catcalling to a whole new level. Walking down the street was somewhat miserable, so it was so nice to just be in the resort where no one was catcalling me or staring.
It was definitely the right way to end my trip to Egypt!