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Saturday, March 24, 2018

Road Trip - On to Marsa Matruh

After seeing all of the sights of el-Alamein, we next headed on to Marsa Matruh.  Matruh had been the original inspiration for this trip when I read about the re-opening of the Rommel Cave Museum.  In addition, Linda had discovered this sleepy little village by the sea many years ago on a trip to Siwa Oasis.  She described it as "a bus station, a few buildings and some goats," - just about the same description British soldiers had for el-Alamein in 1942.

It is a hundred miles on a good four-lane highway from el-Alamein to Marsa Matruh.  Naturally, that calls for another rest stop when "traveling Egyptian style," and we pulled in at a long low building with fuel, facilities and food.

The fellows in the "convenience store" section stood ready to make sandwiches, so we ordered up a couple to be prepared while we proceeded back to the "facilities" where we paid three pounds each for entrance and a few sheets of TP towels.

Sandwiches and tea soon appeared as did quite a few additional travelers from a couple of buses.
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This is a convenient place to re-arrange the load in your vehicle and this rug-truck crew was hard at work doing so for the 45 minutes we were there.

We passed other trucks that perhaps should have taken the time to re-arrange their loads.

A couple of different gates and monuments mark the entrance to the Marsa Matruh area and as we approached the town it was easy to see it had grown well beyond the size of Linda's previous experience.  Wikipedia lists 140,000 residents in the metro area and there are likely many more during the summer season on the sea.  The summer average high temperatures in the low 80s offer relief from Cairo's heat.(It was 100 degrees in Cairo today near the end of March.  Matruh was 25 degrees cooler.)

The town is very empty of tourists at this time of year.  Most hotels were closed and workers were out in force painting the railings along the Corniche.

We located the year-round Belle Vue hotel which reminds me of the Starship Enterprise.

The hotel has an open courtyard which provides employment for several people sweeping the perpetual Egyptian sand from the floor each day - a good reminder of why the British and Axis troops had such a struggle here.
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The Belle Vue had beautiful rooms for us on the third floor facing the beach and with a wide patio.  Highly recommended for your next trip to the North Coast. 

A driving trip along the Corniche revealed a town very oriented to summer coastal tourism.  The mermaid and sea horse seemed like a nice touch to me.

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