Monday, 6 May 2013

Egypt


It seems like a lifetime ago, but I went to Egypt in the summer of 2010, the year before all hell broke loose over there. It is a country where many have very outspoken opinions about, the same can be said for me.
When we where discussing Egypt as a possible holiday destination we got numerous not very positive advices from friends and family. The main thing everyone warned us about was the immense heat during the summer months. I guess all our friends weren’t joking, it is a good thing people can’t melt otherwise I would have been a puddle at the bottom of one of the pyramids!
After a short flight of only 3 to 4 hours we arrived at our resort around 8 in the evening. In Egypt it already gets dark around 6 so we couldn’t really see anything when we first arrived in this humid country. The funny thing about all of this was that we couldn’t even find our way back to the reception the next morning because all of the darkness the evening before. In the morning we found out that our room was close to the sea and the beach (only 20 meters from each)! The first days we relaxed and went to our tour operator to see witch trips we wanted to take during our two weeks there. We decided to do the following:

  • Snorkelling and visiting Giftun Island.
  • Day trip to Luxor, visit the Valley of the Kings, colossi of Memnon and the Luxor temple.
  • Quad tour through the desert + riding on the back of a camel.
  • Cairo, visit the pyramids, the Egyptian museum, the palace of Nefertiti, and a boat trip on the Nile.

  
The snorkelling trip was amazing, right before we arrived at Giftun Island we came across a large group of dolphins. My first time ever to see dolphins in the wild! When we arrived at the island we got the opportunity to go snorkelling and explore the sea. I have to mention that this was my first time snorkelling in an area where coral reefs could be seen. However, in my imagination they had always been prettier than when I actually saw them in real life, I might have been overdoing those images a bit in my head.. Giftun Island was a true paradise, I had never seen such white beaches in my life and the sea was so blue, I absolutely wouldn’t mind getting lost at sea and ending up on this amazing island.

Our visit to Luxor was really, really hot. The bus ride was only 3 hours and on our way there we made a few stops, one of them at the Colossi of Memnon. 

After that we arrived at the Valley of the Kings, I didn’t find it that amazing, this was probably because it was so terribly warm and we had to walk an awful lot to get to the different graves. I have so much respect for all those people working in those places every day. I know that most of them are used to it because they were born there but anyways, I wouldn’t trade with them for the world. After a quick drive through Luxor in our air-conditioned bus we made our way to the Luxor Temple. I have so many pictures from the different statues and walls and beautiful drawings on the wall but it’s impossible to show them all.


What I remember about the Luxor temple is how small it looked from where the bus stopped and how big it was in real life. The statues and walls were all at least 10 meters high; I couldn’t believe that people build all of it so many years ago. I can’t even imagine people building things like this right know! The details on some of the walls and statues already began to fade especially on the bottom, but when you looked up you could still see some of the colours and detailed drawings that once covered everything.
A detail about the temperature this day was that there was no wind and the thermometer reached 49 degrees that day.
The Quad tour was something that I was really looking forward to; I had never driven a quad before and thought that I would be just awesome at it. The opposite was true, after only 5 minutes my right thumb felt like it was going to fall off and because of that I wasn't able to push in the gas (you do this with this thumb). The bumps in the deserts where massive and each time we had to drive only a bit crooked I had this feeling that I would overturn. 


We drove the quads for about 45 minutes (after someone taught me how to press the gas properly). when we finally arrived at the destination where we would be drinking some tea and ride the back of a camel. After that we also had to drive back for almost an hour. On our way the group who was less advanced luckily could drive via an easier road, I still found it really hard so I can’t even picture what the advanced road looked like. On our way back we saw several big whirlwinds, it is fascinating to see how from a little burst of wind they turn into these big whirlwinds.
Something you might want to know if you are ever going to drive a quad through the desert; sand gets stuck EVERYWHERE! After two days of swimming in the sea and the pool I still found sand in my ears, ugh, so gross!


Cairo was a pretty long trip from Hurghada (where we were staying). We had to get up at 6 and we left about 30 minutes later, the bus took us to the capital in about 6 hours. 

We started our tour at the Egyptian museum, got a really nice tour in the most horrible English you could ever imagine. Unfortunately we weren't allowed to take our cameras inside, so no pictures. After the museum we went to the border of the city to visit the pyramids. They were soooooo big, you hear stories about how massive they are but it’s only till you've been there yourself that you can truly say that they are BIG. It was so funny to see that the police rides camels there instead of cars or bikes. 

We also went to see the sphinx, I really thought that it would be nicer, but you can almost not see the facial features anymore because it’s so damaged. Last stop was the palace of Nefertiti, the first thing that comes to mind are those damn stairs that you had the climb and those salesman at the end. 






We stayed in and around the resort for several days, we visited a hammam. I can really recommend you to visit one when you are in Egypt, it is really calming and relaxing. The service in the resort was amazing as well, the staff really try to help wherever they can. The morning chef even knew what I wanted for breakfast , so you can’t say that they are not dedicated to their work.

Now you know what I liked from my short trip to Egypt, I also had a few thinks that were a bit less alluring.
  • The payments for two pieces of toilet paper.
  • The salesman who almost attack you to get you to buy something.
  • The nausea I got because I had to get used to the heat at all times of the day.
  • The sexism, they always talk to men first and don't even look at the women. 
  • Traffic, I thought I would die sitting in a cab (they honk for everything).
  • All the unfinished construction sites. 
I don't think that I will revisit Egypt, but who knows what happens, maybe I will.



I was wondering if you have any experiences with Egypt, did you like it? Would you go back?