Africa. A continent many know of but only a few have traveled. Living in the United States, traveling to the place where some believe human life started, is a dream. The end of September, a group of us took a trip to Cairo, Egypt.
The trip actually began way before I got on the plane. Egypt is one of those countries where you need a Visa in order to enter. In New York, the Egyptian embassy is located in midtown Manhattan. After getting the Visa, that’s when I knew it was real. The news that I was going to Egypt for vacation was accompanied with every opinion and scary story friends and family could think of. “Is it safe”? “You sure you want to go during this time”? “Be Careful”? Even though I let everyone know I researched every news story, embassy warning and recent visitor review, people were still scared for me.
But it didn’t matter to me! I wanted to live. I didn’t want to be a prisoner to fear and I hopped on the plane Saturday evening. It was a night flight, so the 10 hours didn’t feel that bad! We flew Egyptian Air, which now I know is a “DRY” airplane. (Most Muslims do not drink alcohol).
In the airport, we stuck out like a sore thumb. As much as we tried to tell everyone that asked we were from Canada, it didn’t matter. Americans look different, walk different and we guess smell different, they could tell! Before we got out of the airport we had already met a new friend who promised to take care of us! Salone, a government airport worker had set us up with a ride to our hotel and a tour guide, Adam, who was ready to take us wherever we wanted to go. We were nervous about his generosity but it was a group of us, so we thought they couldn’t capture all of us.
Getting to the hotel was difficult. Although the roads in Cairo look like the ones in America, the cars didn’t follow the same driving guidelines we are used to. Finally, we safely we arrived at our our hotel, the Le Meridien. There we were greeted by bomb sniffing dogs and security precautions just to get into the hotel. We were happy that there was a huge emphasis on safety but worried as to why there was a need for it.
The 5 Star hotel was amazing, from the beautiful view of The Great Pyramids to the cleanliness of the rooms. I definitely recommend all travelers heading to Cairo to stay at the Le Meridien in Giza. After we grabbed a drink by the pool and freshened up we were ready to hit the town. A cruise on the Nile was indeed everything you expected it to be. The authentic Egyptian cuisine filled the ship and the beautiful belly dancers and singers entertained us until we docked!
One of the main reasons anyone travels to Egypt is for the history. We first went to the Egyptian Museum where we learned about many of the Kings and Queens who helped build the empires we have read about. After listening to the tour guide and seeing the artifacts behind a glass, it was time to get up close and personal. We took a camel to the pyramids of Giza. Piece of advice, riding a camel for more than 20 minutes will leave you hurting shortly after and the next day.
The pyramids are a creation that everyone needs to see. To be up close to witness how gigantic the steps are and to imagine how people with no machines were able to create them. The Sphinx was another historic sighting that will never be forgotten. The history of the royal families, the building of an empire and impression of Egyptian culture is something that we will take with us forever.
After being in a desert for 3 days we were curious to see what else is out there. Where was the beach? Where is the salt water? This is when we booked a flight to Sharm El Sheikh.