Hello: Salaam Ala Coom
Thank You: Shukran
Currency: Egyptian pound
Tipping: Restaurants - about 10%; everyone in Egypt expects a tip but the amount is usually some small change. There are entire web pages dedicated to the subject, so do your research!
I was eager to arrive and ready to leave. Egypt is comprised of an incredible history manifested in pyramids, tombs and paintings still vivid in color and character, with a backdrop of sand along the river Nile. But there was more than the heat and humidity to make the atmosphere stifling. People seemed disconnected from themselves and their country, moving as ghosts through the cities. I visited Egypt only weeks before the unrest erupted in early 2011, resulting in the teardown of the government.
Traveling south from Cairo and down the Nile to places such as Abu Simba, we saw a change in landscape but could not escape the overall attitude of the Egyptians. I often thought, “What has happened to this country?”
Egypt is an amazing place because of the deep history and the unique civilization. However, it is sad that it has become such a disrupted country over the last few years and even fewer people will be able to experience it.
What to experience: every ancient site is worth seeing
Food: Egypt had some of the best food I’ve ever enjoyed in any country. There is a great variety of vegetable and meat dishes served at most meals. While we were on the Nile cruise, our food was outstanding and varied from day to day allowing us to sample many dishes.
How I traveled: I booked my trip through Adventure Center and the tour was conducted by Imaginative Traveller. We had a small group of six which allowed flexibility with our schedules. The lodging in Egypt was just okay and the boat for the Nile cruise was in need of a refresh but the crew was excellent, the food spectacular, and we had the boat to ourselves. Accommodations in Jordan were quite a step up.
Memorable Moment: As part of our tour, we actually rode donkeys up through the village to visit the Valley of the Kings. Having never ridden a donkey before, I couldn’t help but laugh when my little steed took off in a little donkey canter as we neared the end. Being an equestrian, it seemed as if we were barely moving compared to riding a horse. But once you ride one, it is easy to understand why you see them everywhere, carrying goods and people that seem to overwhelm them. Despite their size, they are certainly hardy little beasts.