Posts Tagged With: Spring Tours

Reflection on my Trip to Egypt

I’ve been dreaming about going to Egypt since I was about 7 and read my first King Tut article. I’ve been obsessed with Egypt ever since. I own at least 40 books on the subject and am even going to school to become a certified Egyptologist just for the fun of it. Going into this trip I had no idea what to expect. My friend had backed out because of the revolution so I was technically going alone. I had “met” Alexis, Janelle, Megan, and Sonja through Facebook months prior to the trip. This was also my first time flying by myself and my first layover. So I was anxious and excited all at the same time.

Though my luggage was lost and I had to deal with the stress and lack of clothing and toiletries it was still the best trip of my life. It was everything I hoped it would be and more. Contiki, Spring Tours, Sherif (my tour guide), and my tour mates made the trip unforgettable. I honestly wish the trip was longer and covered Alexandria and Abydos.

Despite what was going in Egypt while I was there, I felt completely safe. We were kept informed about what was going on and Sherif kept us out of harms way. In southern Egypt it was completely calm and that’s where we spent the majority of our time. The locals we interacted with were all friendly. They all appreciated the little Arabic I knew and all of them were genuinely upset over my missing suitcase. So many of them wanted to stop and chat and not in a creepy way.

Egypt is beautiful! Words cannot even begin to describe how amazing the tombs, museums, statues, and temples are. You are immediately transported back in time at each site. If I had my way I could have spent hours at each site. There is just so much to see!!! I was like a kid in a candy store. I just couldn’t stop smiling knowing that I was seeing first hand what I have read about and watched on TV. My absolute favorite site was Abu Simbel. I am so glad I decided to take the 45 minute plane ride to see it. It was breathtaking! It is officially my favorite place on earth besides my beloved home city of NYC.

I knew I would be in awe of the history, but I had no idea that the Nile and Red Sea would also bring me joy. Sitting on the top deck cruising down the Nile was literally the most relaxing experience I’ve ever had. You just felt like life couldn’t get any better. The Red Sea is gorgeous and you feel like you are at a Caribbean resort and not in the middle of the Middle East.

I do not regret my trip whatsoever! Best decision I’ve probably made. Would I go back? I want to go back with my family and relive it through their eyes. I want to see places I didn’t go to like Alexandria, Sakkara, and Abydos. Would I go back in the near future? Sadly, no. The area is too volatile. I got lucky with when I went to Egypt and several other countries. There is only so many times you can go to a country during war and revolution and have a safe experience. I wouldn’t want to push my luck. If I had to go back now then I would stick to the south where things are soooo much calmer. It’s a different world down there.

Thanks for reading my Egyptian adventure. I still need to post my postcards from the trip and maybe even some of my souvenirs.

Pictures below aren’t in order. They are just some of my favorite ones from Egypt.

295689_10150356385702316_410227_n 285430_1987449890835_1736016_n cropped-s5004802.jpg cropped-s5004940.jpg Egypt Map

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Categories: Africa, Egypt, History, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Cairo to Paris

8/6/11

5 am. So tired!! Less than 4 hours of sleep. I get up and I feel awful. I feel so sick! All I want to do is stay in bed, but I have a ride and a flight to catch. I get to the lobby and my 6am ride is ready. The driver and Spring Tours representative are nice. The airport is chaos! My representative and a family argue back and forth in Arabic about security. Thank goodness I have the representative guiding me. He helps me change my seats to aisle seats. He also helps me fill out my forms. I tip him $5 and go through security. I see the men with the dark spots on their heads from praying too much. Sherif had told us about them. The dirt smudge from putting your head on the ground is considered a good thing.

I find a place to buy a water bottle, which was pretty expensive. I also find the lounge only to find out that they have free water bottles. They also have wifi. Yeah I get to do a 4sq Egypt check in. I use the restroom and don’t tip the lady. She’s mad at me. I figured I would use the restroom one more time before I boarded and would tip her then. However, not too long after the guy who runs the lounge runs over to me and tells me my flight is boarding. What! So early? Thank goodness he told me since the announcement was made in garbled Arabic. There is more security at the gate. Goodbye water bottles. We wait for the tram to take us to the plane.

My seat on the plane is small. Lovely. I have an Egyptian American teenage girl next to me. She’s working on history homework. I offer to help her and we spend some time chatting. She goes to school in California with her brother (who is sitting behind us). I watch Water for Elephants. I also watch No Strings Attached. I spill water all over myself, which is quite fun. I soak the blanket and my pants. We finally land at Charles de Gaulle Airport.

All my entrance tickets

Categories: Africa, Egypt, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Losing my Luggage in Amsterdam

7/30/11
We land in Amsterdam. A woman waits for the 8 of us heading to Cairo. She takes us to our next gate where we are instructed to throw out our water bottles. BOO! When I ask the woman about my bag I get a rude answer. Then at the gate, I ask again and they tell me that they do not know anything about it. When the woman goes to check me in she tells me that my reservation doesn’t exist and I can’t board the plane. After me arguing with her she makes a phone call and magically I turn up in the system. After getting groped by the gate agent for security, I finally board the plane. We are delayed, which is a mixed blessing. My luggage now has 1 hour to make the plane. New question/worry: will my Contiki rep wait for me? I’m in the 2nd row of the plane next to some British guy.

They serve my meal and I have no idea what it is. It looks disgusting! I eat the 3 spoonfuls of white rice and a piece of bread. The bread tastes like sawdust. I’m given one Belgian chocolate and I put on the movie Sucker Punch. About 15 mins in and I feel ill. I feel like I am running a fever, have chills, and am extremely nauseous. I am informed that there are no pillows or blankets on the plane. Not even for first class. What the hell? I turn off the movie and put on Glee, but even that doesn’t help. I try to review some hieroglyphics, which helps for a while. I try to sleep, but cannot. I can’t stop thinking about my suitcase. The stewardess comes around and offers each of us a blue delft house, which was the best part of the flight. Then I’m given a waffle, which looks and smells amazing. However, I am too sick to eat it.

We land in Egypt and take a shuttle to the airport. I see a Contiki sign and I couldn’t be happier! Yeah Muhammad did wait for me! He points me to the passport line. However, I decide to use my first Egyptian toilet before dealing with the passport line. Not bad. The passport thing was easy since I already had my visa. Next it was time for luggage. I stood there praying that I would see a hint of lime green, which would indicate my bag was coming. The crowd started to get thinner and thinner. The 8 of us were standing there and no one had their bag. Now what? Muhammad and I go to file a claim as he explains to them we leave Cairo tomorrow. He asks me if I have any other clothes and I reply that I do not. I’m praying Janelle, Megan, Lexi, and Sonja will take pity on me. I exchange $220 American and check out the only shop in hopes of deodorant. No luck.

We drive through Cairo in the Spring Tours van. The roads are smooth at first and I read my hieroglyphics book. Then we encounter Cairo traffic. There are absolutely no rules! From the time I landed it takes 2 hrs to get to the hotel. I pick up my room key and am shown to my room. The room looks just like the pictures on the web. Within minutes I have a mosquito bite on my ear. I check the bed for bed bugs and then dump my stuff on the floor. I take inventory of what I have and don’t have. Thank goodness for first class amenity kits. I now have 2 pairs of airplane socks, ear plugs, toothbrushes, tooth paste, and scented cream (to act as deodorant for now).

I go downstairs for the meeting and I don’t see anyone, but then I hear someone call my name. Turns out Sonja and Lexi were in the bar. I fill them in and am introduced to some of the guys. Next I run into the twins. It’s so crazy to finally meet all the girls after talking for months. We sit down in the lounge and Sherif comes in. What a relief to see him! After all the Contiki research I had done, I felt like I knew him. He explained the trip and then I explained my suitcase situation to him. He told me not to worry and that it happens all the time.

The hotel informed us that fighting was going on outside so we convinced the boys to join us in a walk to the gas station for stuff. I desperately wanted water, food, and deodorant. Luckily I found all 3. I debated about buying flip flops, but they were expensive (16LE) and I hoped my suitcase would just be a day late. Besides the lack of traffic lights, it wasn’t so bad outside. I’m glad we didn’t see the fighting that was happening nearby.

After the gas station we went back to the restaurant in the hotel. Everyone got food, but me. Found out Mike is Greek, Alli had a strange situation with a guy from the previous Contiki tour, and that the special price for Contiki guests was actually more expensive then the menu prices. I ate the chocolate I bought in the gas station while everyone else ate food from the restaurant. My goal is to barely put any Egyptian food in my mouth while here.

I borrowed a night shirt from Janelle and turned my jacket into a skirt. That will have to do as PJ’s. I killed the mosquito and used my headphones from Delta with my earplugs to drown out the traffic noises.

Categories: Africa, Amsterdam, Egypt, Europe, Travel, Trip with a Tour Group | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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