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We decided to visit Egypt in Jan 2011. It was one of the most memorable and fascinating trips of all our travel experiences around the world.
At the end of 5 days we were brimming with history, learning, monuments and had tasted the most delectable food ever!
Here is a snapshot of our days discovering Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor.
Our first night at Cairo was spent on a dinner cruise over the Nile. Cairo at night is exquisite, especially with the Nile flowing in and the twinkling city lights of all the major hotels and eateries on either side of this glorious river.
While at dinner we were entertained by belly dancers and the man with a zillion colourful skirts!
It was a charming evening.
Next day early we left by car for Alexandria, it felt similar like taking the interstate in any US state.
As soon as you enter Alexandria, the blue Mediterranean sea takes your breath away, we drove for miles alongside it, till we reached our first stop at a famous palace in Alexandria. Nearby one could see the white cottages that are rented out to tourists for the summer, totally relaxing!!
Our day was spent roaming the ruins of Cleopatra’s palace and Pompeii’s Pillar. Lunch was at Mc Donald’s and everyone there seemed to be a touristJ
The next day we visited the most awaited part of our itinerary – the Great Pyramids and The Sphinx. It was the most amazing moment ever – the enormity of the structures is stunning. One can see them from a long distance away and the feeling of awe is hard to describe.
Another thing one observes at the Pyramids site is the number of people from around the world- you can identify - Europeans, Americans, Asians, and Australians and it is easy to understand how this wonder of the world can bring together so many people from so far off.
I must admit The Sphinx was smaller than we imagined it to be; nonetheless it was a beautiful structure.
The museum at Cairo was something like we had never seen before; one needs much more time than the two hours we took in exploring it. King Tut’s room and the mummies was the most interesting.
The news that it was plundered a few weeks later in the turmoil that followed in Egypt was very sad to say the least.
That evening we dined yet overlooking the Nile at a restaurant recommended by The Lonely Planet magazine and had the best Lebanese food ever!
Our next destination was Luxor and we caught a night train to arrive at Luxor on an early cold misty morning. This train again seemed exclusively for tourists only and we felt part of a mystery movie.
Luxor was a day full of more monuments, amazing architecture, history lessons, seeing the famous Obelisk and trying out the Hookah at a roadside cafe, absolutely delightful!
We visited the Valley of the Queens and the Valley of the Kings, explored the Karnak temple, Luxor temple and Queen Hatshepsut’s temple.
Our experience of interacting with the locals was very pleasant; everyone was kind, friendly and helpful. Our guides at Cairo, Alexandria and Luxor were very accommodating, friendly and just the kind of folks one would want to have to show around a new place. I observed in Cairo especially that women were confident and smart and dressed fashionably with a scarf on their heads; it seemed a perfect blend of culture and practicality.
The last day we spent shopping for carpets, a Hookah, Egyptian lamps, Papyrus paintings, gifts and other memorabilia for family and friends and roaming in Khan El Khalili – the oldest market in world. Our experience was amazing with the colours of the market, the people, the shops, the spices and the whole atmosphere surrounding us was absolutely fascinating.
Egypt has so much to offer, alas we had a flight to head back home, but we spent every time we got experiencing this culturally rich and immensely fascinating country.
I do hope more and more people get the opportunity to visit Egypt at least once in their lifetime.