This paradise search is slightly different from the usual ones. I didn’t have an exhaustive batch of pictures of the place to show you, yet it was such a unique experience that I felt those bits and pieces were still worth sharing.
So, a “mud villa”, that sounds a bit like a joke right? The truth is, I didn’t really realize how rustic it would be until I got there. That trip to Siwa oasis was really motivated by a fantasy of mine around that extremely dry and mineral environment, which means that I didn’t doubt for a second when I saw the pictures. This looked rugged and antediluvian, in the best possible sense!
I only realized that this was maybe a bit eccentric when I saw my husband’s face when he discovered the place. He looked at me, puzzled: “are we really staying in a mud house?”. That was no big deal to me and actually felt quite natural, I didn’t seem to see such a big difference between staying there or in an old white-washed Greek house. Let’s not say that this was completely business-as-usual though. Far from it actually!
The house itself was completely restored and is actually quite vast, with several bedrooms, a living room and of course a bathroom and a kitchen. The main feature though is that amazing roof-terrace, with several lounging spots and a seating area built around a foyer that’s lit up every night. All around you is the shali, Siwa’s half crumbled old town, and that’s a pretty unique environment which feels primitive and utterly magic at the same time. Let me tell you you’re in for some pretty magic sunsets sitting on that roof!
I also loved all the local crafts present in the house, the sun-washed carpets, the soft and rustic blankets, the colorful dream catchers and the rugged ceramics. The place was really redone with tradition and authenticity in mind and this feels right. Good job Penny!
Mud houses, you would have guessed, are not rain-proof. This means that when it happens to rain in the oasis -which is a possibilty- some damage may occur depending on the age of the structure. This is why the houses require quite a lot of maintenance compared to concrete buildings and are therefore slowly being abandonned by locals, even if they are much more efficient at remaining cool in summer and warm on cold winter nights…
See my Egypt itinerary and visit Somewhere different’s website.