On quieter evenings or during a busier work-day afternoon, I sometimes journey back to my random trip to Egypt 3 years ago. My foliage of memories at times do feel like a canopy – shielding me from daily routine. That to me, is the pure goodness of travel. And when a trip is random, and (nearly) completely unplanned, the unexpected charts new grounds for us. Let me take you alongside, as I share anecdotes of my 12 days journey to the Land of the Pharaohs.
I flew with Qatar Airways, with a seamless connection in Doha. It was their summer promotion that really caught my attention. There are daily flights from all the main hubs in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Muscat too – with Emirates, Etihad and Oman Air respectively. The second leg of my flight was memorable – jetting through the deserts in Saudi Arabia – and the descent over the Gulf of Suez and the rocks and sand dunes was equally enthralling.
There are many charming heritage hotels in the main city, I used Expedia as a main guide for prices. Big 5-star names line the Nile River as well. I chose to park myself at Giza, a 2 minute stroll from the side entrance to the Pyramids! At a very local homestay; there is always beer and complimentary tea all day and at 7pm, most of us congregate at the rooftop to be in awe, time and time again, at the light show that brings to life, this wonder of the world. As the hotel/homestay owner quipped ‘is like paying the ticket for the light show, and staying for free at his place’.
TRAVEL DOESN’T BECOME ADVENTURE UNTIL YOU LEAVE YOURSELF BEHIND
In Cairo, there was so much to admire from museums to markets. I also reminded myself to truly escape and to take it all in at my own pace; and so I did, sometimes without a guide. The double visits to Coptic Cairo – to leaf through pivotal moments in history, were deeply fulfilling. I even took the bus! Uber is the easy taxi option in Cairo. I recommend taking their metro as well, it is a flat fee for any number of stops.
Staying at the homestay gave room for travel plans to be shared and going as a group also reduced the price by a fair bit. The rooftop lounge area is like a daily pilgrimage for all of us who stayed here – and naturally, friendships were forged.
The Abu Simbel Temples have been on my bucket list since I was 14. So, together with a new travel mate, we took a night train down to Aswan and arrived around noon. I spent the rest of the day at Movenpick Resort Aswan (best deal is direct booking on their website). It was another 2 hour van ride the next morning to the temples.
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