An Egyptian holiday

11 Sep

Egypt is one of those mysterious countries that a lot of people dream to visit. With an ancient history that Egyptologists are still only speculative of, there are many treasures Egypt has to offer. While making our way home to Australia, we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to drop in – it was on our way after all – so we too could experience what every visitor raves about.

Taking on a 16-day tour (also including five days in Jordan, a neighbouring country) we were taken around Egypt to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphnix, Hurghada and Dahab on the Red Sea, Luxor Valley of the Kings and Karnak Temple, Aswan, Abu Simble temple and many more historic sites, tombs and temples in between. But we’ll focus on our favourite Egyptian experiences we were lucky enough to have while here:

Relaxed Dahab
Starting with Dahab, probably our most favourite city in the whole of Egypt! It has a small beach-town feel (probably because that’s exactly what is it), super-sweet locals and the draw-card for all tourists, the blue-blue waters of the Gulf of Aqaba (part of the Red Sea). We spent our full day in Dahab snorkelling the infamous Blue Hole dive spot. It is exactly that – a 130m-deep hole in the ocean that is about 22m across with coral walls and an abundance of colourful fish. We began snorkelling at a chasm which drops to blue nothingness in a matter of meters from the beach. The visibility is amazing. We could see about 15m below and around us while we slowly snorkelled our way down the beach until we reached the Blue Hole itself. It was spectacular, although Matt has said that it has nothing on Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef – our next snorkelling trip for sure!

From the crystal clear ocean to the desert, which we drove Quad bikes through for a couple of hours, becoming dusty versions of ourselves by the time we arrived at our starting point back in Dahab. But we were soon refreshed again for our second night along the main strip, a colourful street full of restaurants, cafes and shops. With ‘mates rates’ including massive portions, free starters (a main meal in themselves), dessert and shisha (that sweet-smelling and tasting tobacco from a water pipe), we enjoyed the good life in the restaurants of this small town. Our time in Dahab came to an end all too soon!

Felucca’ing
The one thing you have to do when in Egypt is a sail on the Nile in a traditional sail boat, the felucca! This experience is either a must-do or must-don’t for pretty much all visitors to Egypt. There is one reason why people don’t – the simplicity of the feluccas means no amenities or toilets. But we loved it. Spending two nights aboard the felucca is an amazing way to relax, something we certainly needed after two super early mornings travelling to Abu Simble temple and hot air ballooning over the Valley of the Kings two consecutive days previously. With nothing else to do but to read, snooze, swim or chat to our fellow felucca-goers, our day on the Nile was one of the best days we spent during our whole time in Egypt.

Fit for a King
Valley of the Kings was another highlight for us.  It is a historic sight is Egypt that is packed with the tombs of nobles and Pharaohs, including King Tutankamun. The temples are brilliantly preserved – hieroglyphics and original colours adorn the temple walls. It’s incredible to see the tombs as they were (although without the treasures) when they were used to mummify the Pharaohs after their death and to send them on to the afterlife, which the Ancient Egyptians passionately believed in.

It’s one of the most interesting sights in Egypt, but with it come vendors…. lots of them! In fact, we came into contact with vendors at all the Egyptian sights offering us camels (for a wife), ‘good prices’ and ‘free to looks’. They love bargaining, now as much as ever since tourism has dropped a massive 95 percent since the revolution began in early 2011. They are screaming for tourists, and we wholly encourage you to go! It’s not only a safe, but an incredible country to visit.

The Great Pyramids of Giza
Why come all the way to Egypt and not see the pyramids?! Yes, crazy people do do this! It’s like going to a water park but not enjoying the rides. What can we say about the pyramids anyway… they are awe-inspiring and it’s quite surreal to see and touch them when after seeing them in movies, in documentaries and in books. Go see them… they are cool!

After Egypt…
After Egypt comes Jordan… so stay tuned for the next blog!

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2 Responses to “An Egyptian holiday”

  1. jane cook September 12, 2012 at 10:41 PM #

    Lovely reading Mel.

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today was meaningful

a collection of thoughts, life lessons, and days full of meaning.

Liv Hambrett

An Australian Writer in (North) Germany

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