Egypt had been on my list as ‘my next travel destination’ for over five years. Somehow other trips kept taking precedence, but on a whim I finally felt compelled to go – despite short notice, despite the revolution, despite being too disorganised to warrant a travel buddy. With my expectation set super high, I would not have been surprised if disappointment prevailed. Luckily it did not. In fact, the two and a half weeks in Egypt ranked up there as my best holiday ever.
A word on the revolution
At no time did the political situation make me feel unsafe. Instead, it was the perfect time to go. The tourism industry has slumped and locals want tourist there to support their economy. This means that they are determined for you to have a good time. It was also incredibly interesting. Egyptians are mostly excited about the “rebirth” of their nation and will eagerly strike up conversations on trains or boats (or wherever they can) so that they can educate you, the foreigner, about what is really happening. With a distrust of the media, everything is through word-of-mouth and I was intrigued to hear different angles on the same stories throughout the country.
Egypt is a country of contradictions: the old world versus the new, the conservatively dressed women versus those continuing the ancient art of belly dancing, the wealth of the land versus the decay of the cities, the touts harassing you to no end versus the people who are so incredibly kind you cannot thank them enough. Symbolism is everywhere and all my thoughts were pushed to a deeper level.
Everything about my trip was fantastic – climbing Mt Sinai, practising with the world’s best dancers, cruising the Nile, and enjoying the metropolitan Alexandria and Cairo. I will post about places to eat shortly but if you want any specific tips, drop me a note.