My Travels in Egypt
My wife and I are avid travelers; we try to get out and do as much as we possibly can while we're young. Our vacations have been quite diverse over the last few years- some have included backpacking and hiking, while others have been more luxurious with castle hotels and brunch at 16th- century chateaus. One of our more recent trips is by far the most unique, and the most memorable- Egypt. It still sounds weird to say that.
Some of our friends have asked, "Why on Earth would you go all the way to Egypt?", or, "Did you feel safe?". Truth be told, there were a few unnerving moments (like darting across a busy street at night while cars with no lights are approaching), but nothing we couldn't handle. We not only wanted to visit Egypt because of the obvious heavy-hitters like the Great Sphinx, pyramids galore, and The Valley of the Kings; but also to immerse ourselves in a culture so vastly different from our own.
My wife and I aren't really "beach people"- meaning we've never been on a vacation together in a tropical region. The way we see it is, we'll get all of the physically difficult destinations checked off our list while we're in our younger years, so then when we're a bit older we can relax on beaches all we want! My wife is also extremely fair-skinned, and we're not so sure how she'd fare out in Saint Thomas or Key West. Perhaps I'd end up with a crispy lobster-woman by the end of a beach vacation?
Anyway, back to Egypt- the land of Ramses, Hatshepsut, and King Tut! Here's how it happened. I found us a great deal on some flights, so we decided to visit in late January. I sent out a few emails, and the next thing I know, I'm performing in Egypt! As expected, the weather was beautiful at this time! The mornings were a bit brisk, so we needed a light jacket until about 10am. The remainder of the day was a perfect mid-70's.
We began in Cairo. Our private guide, prearranged via Viator, was waiting for us outside the airport. He had one of those little signs with our name on it. He introduced us to our driver, and off we went to the Pyramids of Giza! He gave us a nice little refreshing history lesson during the 30 minute car ride. It was much-needed- I received 105% while studying Ancient Egypt way back in 8th grade, but there was much that I'd sadly forgotten. He had us sort of keep our eyes down until we were in the perfect spot to see the largest pyramid. When we finally saw it, we both got a slight chill. This thing that everyone has learned about in school, seen on television, and read about in books... it's actually real? It was hard to believe that we were actually standing in front of it. This time of year happened to be a school holiday, so local families with children were out visiting and being tourists just as we were. To my surprise, the pyramids were not as protected as I would have expected. People were climbing all over the large one, and carving their names into it! After visiting Stonehenge, which is locked up and untouchable, I expected it to be roped off with guards making sure the monument was preserved and undisturbed.
Side note. One of the most interesting things I saw while on the road was a small pickup truck piled about 8 feet high with giant sheets of cartons of eggs! I don't know how they didn't break, but it was impressive.
After a nice train ride down to Luxor, a different guide and driver picked us up. We really connected with this guide- we even added him on Facebook and took some photos with him! We found it funny that although the weather seemed perfect for us, he was cold! On several of our days with him, he wore a long sleeved shirt with a sweater over it! I suppose it's similar to a Texan experiencing a cold front.
After visiting the Temple of Luxor, we noticed something kinda funny. Walking out of the temple, we see a giant, 3-story McDonald's, with the most prime real estate spot imaginable. We went inside to the third floor, to find the most incredible view of the temple. It was just so wild that you could get this kind of view while dining on some McNuggets and fries.
If anyone reading this is interested in taking a trip to Egypt, I'd be happy to give you some pointers, or refer you to our wonderful guide! Egypt is not the easiest place to travel to, but it's well worth the long flight. The experiences you'll have will stay with you forever, and you'll always remember the chills that went up your arms when you stood at the base of the famous Pyramids.
Until next time!