Fairytale about a Billionaire and His El Gouna in Egypt

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El Gouna, Egypt, Red Sea.

El Gouna, Egypt, Red Sea.

A billionaire lived in the desert, and like many billionaires he was bored, constantly thinking how to spend his money. Sure enough, he traveled a lot and had seen many beautiful places in the world, but once upon a time, he came to Venice, Italy, and fell in love with this amazing and unusual city. (Hell, who wouldn’t?) Then, he decided to build a second Venice in his motherland, Egypt, and call it El Gouna, the Lagoon.

The shore of the Egyptian Red Sea has no natural lagoons. That’s why Samih Sawiris, our creative billionaire, decided “to carve” them right into the desert coast not far from the city of Hurghada. Definitely, it was not only a dream, but also a business project, and he chose a coast with a rich coral reef. He dug canals in the desert and created artificial islands, peninsulas, and lagoons where the city of El Gouna was built. All the channels were dug by hand (not by Mr. Sawiris, of course).

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Convent of the Capuchos: a Souvenir in the Forest

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The inner yard of the Convent of the Capuchos. Sintra, Portugal.

The inner yard of the Convent of the Capuchos

Probably, you have often seen toy home decorations such as tiny fountains. Each one has its plot: a little bit of mountains, a little bit of bushes, a tiny home or a mill with a small waterfall, or something similar. They are like bonsai, and they have one thing in common: they all seem to be from a fairytale. Maybe this is one of the reasons why we love them. Which of you did not love to listen to fairytales in your childhood? Please, raise your hand. Not one hand. I knew it.

These small home fountains are part of our childhood. Now, imagine such a home decoration in full size, like a real house. That is the concept of the Convent of the Capuchos in Sintra, Portugal, or Convento de Santa Cruz da Serra da Sintra.

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If You are Going to Die, Visit Hainan Island in China

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Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa. Hainan Island, China.

Sanya Marriott Resort & Spa. Hainan Island, China.

Today, China is experiencing a tourist boom even in the outermost provinces. Hainan Island is the smallest and most remote province of the Celestial Empire, and it is as different from the Chinese mainland as Beijing is from Shanghai. Gorgeous beaches, extinct volcanoes, hot springs, sea pearls, coconut groves, plantations of coffee, tea, mangoes, and bananas – all these things are there, on Hainan. However, the island has known bad times. For example, in imperial China, except for the death penalty, the strictest punishment was exile to Hainan Island for the offender and his entire family.

We were there for the first time ten years ago, when my Victor Travel Blog was not even a project yet. Sanya City—the tourist capital of the island—did not impress us, and squalid houses built on its outskirts were in stark contrast to a chain of luxury hotels on the half-empty Yalong Bay beach. Today, ten years later, Hainan Island is different, and its capital, Haikou, is looking more and more like Hong Kong.

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