I want to share my experience in Egypt

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Jan 17th, 2013, 12:41 PM
  #1
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I want to share my experience in Egypt

I want to share my experience in Egypt, We truly had the experience of a lifetime!

Our group of 20 of us did an overnight tour in Cairo, which for we singles was less than 1/3 the price of the HAL tour (same hotel), in a mini-bus. 3 hours from Alexandria to Giza the first day was a long trip, but there was a pleasant roadside stop. Our guide gave us lira to use the toilets (common in the middle east).

Our destination was the pyramids at Giza. When we came around the corner it was a-maze-ing! Our guide taught us how to say NO THANKS to the “mosquitoes” of vendors trying to sell you something. “One dollar” they shouted for nearly anything they wanted to see to you. It was not unlike any beach in Mexico, and I found the bartering fun, but many people did not enjoy this part of the location. I bought some pens (10 for $5) and postcards.

Could have bought a lot more if I’d had dollars. The vendors indicated that Americans are staying away from Egypt and they were happy to see us there. We saw Saqqra, with the amazing well preserved crypt paintings, which I still can’t believe aren’t covered. You can touch them! We over- nighted at Le Meredien Pyramids in Giza. Beautiful hotel, but I don’t think they can get parts to fix things.

Of the three of us singles, one room had no electricity in the wing, my toilet flushed constantly and when I toyed around with the flushing mechanism I realized someone had put a bobby pin in it to hold it to the wall. We had dinner in the hotel, which had a lovely buffet for 180 Egyptian Pounds, , about $30, but we weren’t that hungry.

I sat down to a table alone, which I guess in a no-no in Egypt. I wasn’t recognized until my two table mates had arrived. We had martinis and steaks, and it came in under $20 per person. Jeanne ate the salad, we had ice in our drinks, no problems. The elaborate buffet breakfast was included in the a.m. before our group was off at 8:00am.

Today we were off to Cairo city center. Woah! 26 million people living here. Drivers have a sophisticated series of horn honks, and pedestrians wait by the roadside for mini-van shared transport, using hand signals to indicate where they are going. These vans stop on freeways to board passengers. It’s a dance, and everyone understands it, except the tourist. Most women wore the hijab, many in full burkas. Some wore very sophisticated clothing, and a hijab. Older women wore scarves tied at the neck.

Many men wore the galabia, a long cotton or linen robe. Then there were the cosmopolitan office workers in trendy black pants and button-down shirts and ties. We headed up to the Citadel to see the amazing silver mosque. We were allowed inside, and it is elaborate and ornate.

Just simply beautiful! We had a lovely lunch at the Happy Dolphin Restaurant, right on the Nile river. The buffet was varied and plenty. Drinks or bottled water was $2, diet coke $3. A visit to Tahrir Square and the Archaeological Museum was next, but getting there was a trip in itself. Traffic in Cairo is hectic, frenzied and constant, to say the least. As we drove, our guide answered every question we had about the Arab Spring uprising.

The museum was filled with many important statues and relics from tombs of pharos and queens. The whole second floor was a portion of the contents of King Tut’s Tome (less what was on display in Seattle at the time), and the gold room worth the price of admission all by itself. Afterward, it was a 3 hour drive to Port Said, through vast desert along the Suez Canal. We kept seeing Maersk Line container ships, all in a row, kind of like a convoy of ships.

What I didn’t realize until later, our ship was entering the flotilla and escorted out of Egyptian waters. I felt very safe the whole time in Egypt, and every person I came into contact with seemed genuinely happy to see us. Port Said had a long line of vendors as we headed for the pier, but the same old stuff we’d see for the last two days, nothing new, and we were cutting it close to departure time, so no shopping.

I would highly recommend Egypt excursions ( www.egyptshoreexcursions.com ) for the lovely trip at a reasonable price. Far and away the most exciting part of our 16 day cruise.
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Feb 14th, 2013, 05:12 AM
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Very interesting experience indeed We had a similar one, but in Luxor & Aswan. During our 2-days private trip with Red Sea Reisen (highly recommended) we've experienced a lot! I personally like Upper Egypt more than Cairo and Delta, don't know why. Maybe because in the South the life is more peaceful, one can just stop and ponder over something, overlooking the Nile and the green fields. And maybe when one is on a holiday, he wants to escape the rush and stress of a busy city and just relax in the nature. Plus of course, we wanted to see all the famous monuments there! Especially Aswan is a magical place. The Nile, islands, Nubian museum, felucca ride... words are not enough to describe my feelings when looking back at our 2 days! I think we were quite lucky to have chosen a private trip. We had enough time to explore and admire everything and to ask our guide anything we wanted. He was there just for us Very helpful and friendly at the same time, he knew a lot about history and life. We also met some other family from Austria and they said they would book a private trip too, next time. Mainly because of the kids.

I'm still hesitating, if I shall give it a try and visit Cairo, but the stress and the traffic makes me scared.. would appreciate your advices on how to survive in Cairo and still have a nice and relaxing trip Thank you, Mel
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Feb 21st, 2013, 11:31 AM
  #3
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
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hey cruisemer!
my name is irina. i am managing this blog
http://euroarab-excursion.blogspot.com/ that is creating for EuroArab project of AEGEE.
So we are posting on friday's articles about arab world. i read yours and i like it a lot.
and i wanted to ask your permission to post this article on our page with your name as the author and plac from where you are. i am waiting for you answer as soon as possible!
thank you
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Feb 21st, 2013, 01:25 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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hello melanie. Cairo has a special taste, but still it's always crowded and hectic. Did you ever consider going to Sinai (Sharm El Sheikh, Dahab, Taba, visit Saint Katherine Cathedral) or may be go by the red sea in Hurghada, Safaga, Marsa Allam? Also there's a completely different experience if you try a tour in the oasis of the western desert like Siwa, Baharia, Dakhla, Kharja & Farafrah.

You can (at the end of your trip) save 2 nights for Cairo just to get the taste.
Enjoy.
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Feb 26th, 2013, 05:04 AM
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Hi Wella, I've already been to the Red Sea area, that's where I booked my trip to Aswan from. Actually, I've never considered traveling to the oases, but yey, it's a nice idea! Thank you! Maybe I'll visit Petra from Sharm next time. I'm not that type of tourist who likes to visit religious places like monasteries, but maybe a sunrise on the Mount Moses will be beautiful
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Apr 15th, 2013, 05:59 AM
  #6
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So glad to hear you enjoyed your trip to Egypt as well - we possibly even passed each other at some point! I look forward to reading your trip report.
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