Egypt

When

  • April 2012 for twelve days

Places

Dahab

  • Snorkelling the Blue Hole in Dahab.

Cairo

  • We could see the Pyramids from the roof of our hotel in Cairo;
  • Egyptian Museum – amazing but very worn down (there is sticky tape holding cracks together with Tutankhamun’s jewels!);
  • The hanging church where apparently Jesus was hidden as a child;
  • The biggest citadel in Egypt, Cairo Citadel, with the clock that has never worked (a gift from France) up top of the Mosque of Muhammad Ali;
  • The Bazaar is pretty cool and big too – good place to get lost here;
  • A couple of us got some henna done at the markets while we were waiting for the rest of the group to join us;

Giza

  • The Saqqara Pyramid had a fair bit of scaffolding holding it up when we were there;
  • King Chupes Pyramid is huge and amazing condition and so is the other two pyramids (for King Chupes’ son and grandson) – they are incredibly impressive and up close you actually get to see how big each rock is;
  • Get on a camel and ride in front of the pyramids for some cool happy snaps (I was lucky and even got to go off on my camel by myself and ride around everyone!);
  • The Sphinx (a lot smaller than I expected!).
Standing on King Chupes' Pyramid with his sons' in the background.!
Standing on King Chupes’ Pyramid with his sons’ in the background.!

Hurghada

  • All inclusive hotel on the beach –I went for a massive walk all along the coast.

Luxor

  • A donkey ride in the Valley of Kings was a crack up and a pretty funny experience;
  • Valley of the Kings itself was incredible – your allowed to go into three tombs (out of a 11 that are opened on different days) but no pictures;
  • The temple for Queen Hatshipsuit was also amazing;
  • Edfu Temple (the second largest in Egypt) and Karnak (the largest in Egypt and even had its own lake);
  • We went to the Luxor Temple at night when it was all lit up which was a different experience but very cool.
Felucca sailing down the Nile..
Felucca sailing down the Nile..

Aswan

  • We went for boat ride down the Nile to a Noubian village for a group dinner and some singing and dancing to go with – they also had some young crocodiles that we could hold;
  • The high Dam is just a dam so nothing too special;
  • Philae Temple is beautiful and the very pretty temple for the Goddess Isis;
  • Spending a couple of nights on the Nile in a felucca was a definite highlight and waking up for a dip in the morning before sailing to the next spot was amazing. We spent two nights on the Nile sailing from Aswan to Luxor.

Abu Simbel

  • A day trip to Abu Simbel is well worth it and to see how the moved the two massive tombs for King Ramses II and his wife, Queen Nefeti – so impressive.
Abu Simbel.!
Abu Simbel.!

Accommodation

  • Accommodation was organised through the tour.

Language

  • Arabic but English is fairly common and you shouldn’t have any issues.
  • Hello: Salām (Arabic)
  • Thank you: Shukran
  • Good bye: bāy bāy
  • Yes / No: na’am / lā

Visa

  • Egypt tourist visa is required for Australians on arrival, valid for 1 month, visa fee US$40.

Money

  • Egyptian Pound (7.15 EGP = $1 USD)

Food

  • Lots of dishes with legumes and vegetables
  • More shawarma here
  • Macaroni béchamel
  • Dolma – grape leaves stuffed with a rice mixture and either sautéed ground beef or vegetarian style
  • Moussaka –lightly grilled eggplants with sliced onions, green peppers, and jalapeños
  • Shakshuka – eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce
  • Typical breakfast – white cheese, cucumber and tomato – in a salad
Hanging in front of the Saqqara Pyramid..
Hanging in front of the Saqqara Pyramid..

Tips and tricks

  • Another country to cover up and show respect. It is also for your personal comfort as well as the men do stare and you don’t want to bring unwanted attraction to yourself with revealing clothes.
  • It was very touristy but I loved going on a camel in front of the pyramids – made for a cool experience and I was lucky that they let me go off by myself instead of all the camels going along in the line. They also told me how to make the camel run etc. so I was running laps on the camel around everyone else – great fun!
  • Felucca on the Nile from Aswan to Luxor is an absolute must here. Such a cool experience spending two nights and a whole day sailing down the Nile pulling up at various beaches and going in for a dip (we got told that the Dam does keep the crocs out!). It was surreal waking up and the boys had already set sail and we were on the move as the sun was rising – bliss!

Egypt blog posts

Camel riding in front of the pyramids!
Camel riding in front of the pyramids!

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