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My trip to Alexandria & Siwa with My Vacation iPhone app

I’ll admit to being a late starter where iPhones are concerned. While every blogger in the world seemed to have one, I dithered at the expense, until one day my husband took matters into his own hands and just bought me one. Now my iPhone is my constant companion, we’ve been on holiday together and although it wasn’t love at first sight, I think it’ll be a long term relationship.

My Vacation iPhone App SummarySince an iPhone is nothing without a few apps to play with, when I was asked to review the My Vacation iPhone app from Jasper apps I decided to give it a go on my recent trip to Egypt.

The My Vacation iPhone app allows you to create a mini blog of your journey and share it with your friends and family. You choose your theme, set up your trip, and then each day you can write a mini journal on your iPhone. Add some photos that you’ve just taken on the iPhone, or maybe even some audio if you’re feeling daring. Behind the scenes a map is created from the location of the photo, so that you can see where you where you took it and later see the whole map of your journey.

If you take the time to build up the record each day, by the end you have a cool record of your trip that you can show friends in a slide show with commentary on your phone.

My Vacation iPhone App photoAll that is fun to share at the end of the trip, but to be honest I wouldn’t be making the effort if it weren’t for the fact that there are multiple ways to share the record that you’ve created. For instance you can e-mail the record of each day or several days to friends and family, send one of the photos as a cute email ‘postcard’, export the whole set of photos to your Flickr account, or send the photos as Tweets. If you have a WordPress or Blogger blog you can also send the journal to create a new post, and you can see the results at the bottom of this article.

I haven’t covered the features exhaustively, for instance you can also use the app to make lists before you go, but these are the features that I found useful and enjoyed. It was fun to e-mail my husband & kids a visual account of what I’d done that day, or to send friends a ‘postcard’, and just this weekend I was showing my parents the slideshow on my iPhone.

I also think the map feature is really cool – if you click on the map links in the blog post at the bottom you’ll see what I mean. It’s a bit spooky to get the close-up satellite view of the place I was standing when I took the shots –  better make sure you don’t mind revealing your whereabouts or you’d be found out big time.

My Vacation iPhone app postcardDownsides? Obviously if you’re in the middle of the desert in Western Egypt the free wifi is not on every street corner, and with my roaming switched off I couldn’t be quite as spontaneous as I might have liked, but had to wait until I got back to the hotel to do my sharing. Also I noticed that when I took a few new pictures, the app didn’t access them until I turned the phone off and on again.

On the blogging front, the way that the content was imported into my site wasn’t that attractive, but there would be nothing to stop me doing a quick bit of editing to make it pretty before publication. Take a look below and see what you think.

Still for £1.79 I’m hardly complaining. If you’re really skint you can download the free lite version and give it a try first, and this will allow you to set up one trip with up to 15 photos, then upgrade if you like it.

As a blogger, who’s already photographing, audio recording, shooting video and scribbling notes in between, I did find it was a bit arduous to remember to do it all again on the iPhone app. But then I don’t represent most travellers, for whom this could become their mini blog of the trip. That said I’ll definitely use the app on future trips as a way to send updates to friends and family and the ability to upload photos directly to my Flickr account without any wires is alone worth it’s weight in gold to me.

My Vacation apps to giveway

JasperApps kindly gave me a couple of free apps to give a way, so if you’d like one please leave a comment at the bottom and in a week or so I’ll choose 2 of you at random to send a free download code and give the app a try. If you can’t wait then it’ll only cost you £1.79 anyway.

I was not paid to do this review but Jasper Apps kindly gave me a free app to try & a couple to give away.

Where you can get the My Vacation iPhone App

My Vacation iPhone app on iTunes
Jasper Apps website

Take a look at the video below covering the My Vacation iPhone app features

And here’s how it came out as a blog post

Alexandria, Matrouh , Siwa, El Alamein
Sat 07 May – Sat 14 May


Day 1 – Off To The Airport

 

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Just off to the airport

Flying Egyptair from Heathrow to Cairo and on to Alexandria. Will get there after midnight.

On the coach to Heathrow
[Map]
Egyptair through Cairo to Alexandria
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Day 2 – Arrived In Alexandria

 

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Had a relaxing morning staying with my friend who works and lives in Alexandria.

Then I went downtown to meet a fascinating English gentleman called Gordon who knows everything about the architecture and history of Alexandria.

He took me around the old Italian and Turkish quarters where all the buildings are crumbling and through the different areas of the market with each street selling something different, from stationary to party decorations to fruit and finally the jewellery street. Most of the shops were closed on Sunday but I still managed to find one that was open and chose a pretty necklace.

The Majestic Hotel where the we’re E.M.Forster sta
[Map]
Into the part of the souk where they sell everythi
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A lunch of Meze and kebabs in Tahir square
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This dried root is made into a drink that gives wo
[Map]

Day 3 – On the coast at Matrouh

Matrouh

Monday, 9 May 2011

Set off early for the 3 hour drive along the coast west to Matrouh, a resort that’s a very popular holiday resort for Egyptians, especially those from Alexandria.

On the way we passed many separate developments of holiday houses, each with slightly different designs but all built closely together between the busy main coast road and the sea. Every so often there was a gap where you could see what the desert was like before the building boom.

We reached Matrouh in good time and checked into the Beau Rivage Hotel, a resort style hotel beside the sea on the edge of town. In high season it would be packed but in May it was pretty deserted even though the sun was hot, the pool inviting and the sea a clear turquoise.

Later we drove into town and found a fish restaurant where the fish was all laid out on ice for is to choose what looked most fresh – it was all locally caught. Then we finished the evening in a cafe catching up on the emails using the free wifi surrounded by men (not a woman in sight) sitting on pink and purple plastic chairs smoking shisha pipes. Most incongruous.

On the private beach at our hotel
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The pool at Beau Rivage Hotel
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My room at Beau Rivage
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Day 4 – On To Siwa

Siwa

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Drove on through the desert to the oasis at Siwa where wells and springs have created a number of lakes and a green oasis in the middle of the desert.

We checked in to the Siwa Safari Gardens hotel which proved to be a mini oasis within the Oasis with palm trees in the garden and a swimming pool fed from the spring.

We took a drive around some of the sites and saw the temple that Alexander the great had visited and then on to Cleopatra’s spring, a round pool fed by a spring with gas bubbling up through the green water. We sat in the open air cafe beside the spring and drank hot sweet lemon grass tea served in a metal pot workbench glasses.

We met a local English lady who showed us the house in the old quarter that she was renovating, using traditional techniques of salt blocks and clay. What a labour of love!

Siwa Safari Gardens Hotel
[Map]
Oracle temple at Siwa
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Oracle temple at Siwa
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Cleopatra’s spring at Siwa
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Tea at Cleopatra’s pool in Siwa
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Day 5 – Around Siwa

 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

We enjoyed Siwa so much that we decided to stay an extra day and had a look around the Shali, once the fortified old town. The mud brick houses are all broken down leaving a somewhat lunar landscape and you can clamber up to the top for great views over the town.

In the evening we did the traditional thing and went to see the sunset from Fatnas island, sitting under the date palms sipping sweet mint tea.

Mint tea at Fatnas island
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Sunset at Fatnas island, Siwa
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Day 6 – Siwa to Marsa Matrouh

Matrouh

Thursday, 12 May 2011

A last look around Siwa and then drove 3 hours through the desert to arrive back at Marsa Matruh, this time staying at the Jaz Almaza Beach hotel just outside the town. The hotel is part of a resort complex with 3 other hotels and is 5 star luxurious but nothing much to see or do outside the hotel.

We had the place to ourselves as it would normally be full of Italian holidaymakers but the start of the holiday season had been postponed due to the Libyan crisis, but they were expecting to be full the following week.

Jaz Almaza Beach hotel in Marsa Matruh
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Beach at the Jaz Almaza beach hotel in Marsa Matru
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Gardens at the Jaz Almaza beach hotel in Marsa Mat
[Map]

Day 7 – Al Alamein and Alexandria

El Alamein

Friday, 13 May 2011

On the way from Marsa Matruh to Alexandria we stopped at El Alamein, site of the famous Allied desert campaign in WW2. We looked at all the information and uniforms in the museum with a different room for each of the nations, German, Egyptian, Italian and British. There were plenty of different tanks and army vehicles on display outside.

Just down the road we stopped at the Commonwealth and British war ceremony, beautifully kept up by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Then onwards back to Alexandria

The museum at El Alamein
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Tanks at the museum at El Alamein
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Tanks at the museum at El Alamein
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Day 8 – Holiday Ends, Home Again

Alexandria

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Early start from Alexandria airport and on to Cairo then home to the Uk

Photo 1
[Map]

 


Sent from my iPhone by My Vacation app (www.myvacationapp.com)

Check for the best hotel prices in Egypt and book here.

 

www.flickr.com

heatheronhertravels' Egypt - My Vacation iPhone App photos photoset heatheronhertravels’ Egypt – My Vacation iPhone App photos photoset

 

This article is originally published at Heatheronhertravels.com – Read more travel articles at Travel Blog Home

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Sherry Ott
    June 2, 2011 at 7:37 am

    Heather – this looks like a pretty cool app – I’m really interested in trying it for the Mongol Rally to create very simply posts for my site and also updating social media. I know you need wifi to do the uploading – but did you need wifi to take your journal notes or save the photos? Please let me know as I might be interested in getting it if it doesn’t need connectivity to do the writing – and you can just upload a whole post at night. Would love your thoughts on how it might work on the Mongol Rally for me!
    Sherry Ott´s last blog post ..signs

  • Reply
    Heather
    June 2, 2011 at 8:26 am

    @ Sherry You don’t need wifi to create the journals, you just type them and then you just choose photos that you’ve already taken on your iPhone. The map tracking of photos location also seems to work when you are no-where near wifi. So you can create everything on the move and then share or upload it when you get back to wifi – that’s what I did in Egypt.

    Personally I wouldn’t publish the blog as it stands but it’s a quick way of getting it into draft and then you can spend some time improving the layout before you publish.

    You’d also have to hope that your wifi bandwidth was sufficient to send the photos as that could be very slow if connection speeds were low.

    I’d give it a try now while you’re preparing, as it’s pretty easy intuitive to use and then you can decide whether to use it on the Rally, I don’t see that you’ve got too much to loose.

  • Reply
    Haley
    June 2, 2011 at 8:32 am

    Your Iphone is so stylish and pretty.It seems that you have a great vacation.Thanks for your sharing
    Haley´s last blog post ..Getting Fast Loans- What You Need To Know

  • Reply
    Sunee
    June 3, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I’m not an iPhone user yet, but I do think that app could come in handy for anyone who would like to keep track of their holiday. As said, the posting to the blog still needs a little tweaking, but it’s good start at least and nice to record the little things you might forget about on the fly.
    Sunee´s last blog post ..Nuts for Cheeky Chipmunks

  • Reply
    Heather
    June 5, 2011 at 9:45 am

    @ Sunee I believe that I could have posted the photos in a larger size on the blog which would have helped

  • Reply
    Ludivina Wiker
    June 17, 2011 at 10:43 pm

    Have you been on a trip since this one (I know its only just over a month) and did you / would you use it again? In ither words, is the app and ‘must have’ or a ‘nice to have’?

    • Reply
      Heather
      June 19, 2011 at 9:40 pm

      I have been on a couple of trips and I didn’t have time to use the app, but I think I may on other solo trips to keep in touch with the family. The problem is that I’m probably not the average user as I’m already juggline with audio and video recorders as well as the camera an notebook, so I keep forgetting to take pictures on the iPhone as well

  • Reply
    Ludivina Wiker
    July 21, 2011 at 6:16 pm

    Another quick question, did you pay for this app? The reason I ask is Virgin have just launched an app called ‘trip journal’ which allows users to share holiday photos, videos and notes on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Picasa and Flickr. It also includes destination guides and travel tips from the airline’s social community at vTravelled.com. It seems everything needs to be free these days !

  • Reply
    6 misconceptions I had about Alexandria – in Egypt | Heather on her travels
    August 2, 2011 at 10:07 pm

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  • Reply
    Date palms and donkey carts – things to see in Siwa Oasis in Egypt | Heather on her travels
    October 1, 2011 at 3:56 pm

    […] misconceptions I had about Alexandria in Egypt What makes the perfect holiday in Marsa Martrouh? My trip to Alexandria and Siwa with My Vacation iphone app #flickr_badge_source_txt {padding:0; font: 11px Arial, Helvetica, Sans serif; color:#666666;} […]

  • Reply
    THunt
    December 15, 2011 at 7:18 am

    Wow! That app seems interesting and cool. Perhaps, I should give it a try when I’m scheduled for a trip. I’ve just downloaded a travel app called 25 things to do in Boston. It’s not actually the same as My Vacation app as it has no built-in journal where you can record your day to day activities, but it’s a good app that I used while going around Boston as it has a map that works fine even offline and a list of great POIs to visit. Anyway, I really had a great time reading your post. Gave me an insight about a good app. Thanks!

    • Reply
      Heather
      December 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

      @THunt – glad that the article was helpful – it woul be worth trying the My Vacation App if you want something that will be like a micro-blogging activity

  • Reply
    Egypt
    February 13, 2012 at 10:39 pm

    Excellent article on this app. The resulting blog post looks great, save for some formatting issues, but when you’re on the road, I suppose those don’t really matter! Since this article is from May, I’m wondering: have you tried any new blogging apps since then?

  • Reply
    Heather
    February 18, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    @Egypt I have to admit that I haven’t tried any othe rblogging apps. I think that this or similar apps would be great for someone that doesn’t already have their own blog but I find I have plenty to do making notes, recording video & podcasts.

  • Reply
    My Vacation iPhone app review – My trip to Alexandria & Siwa in Egypt — Cool Travel Gear
    February 9, 2013 at 9:22 am

    […] article was originally published here on my other blog at […]

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