Friday, April 22, 2011

91:365 View from a Balcony

My balcony, to be precise. This interesting apartment building, the Nile, and in the background, the back end of Tahrir Square - that's the government administration building that burned during the Revolution.

I took so many photos every day that it's going to be challenging to pick just one for 365 for each day.

Our hotel - the Cairo Marriott was once a palace. It was very beautiful! We had a room with a view of the Nile - which is unheard of - but because there are so few tourists in Egypt right now, we really had the best of everything, everywhere we went.

If you have been thinking about traveling to Egypt - NOW is the time to go. My friends and I traveled with Spiekermann Travel (AWESOME - I cannot recommend them highly enough). Everywhere we went the Egyptian people were gracious and welcoming. The conversations usually went something like this:
Where are you from?
America! Where in America?
Chicago! Welcome! You are welcome here! Welcome to Egypt! (always accompanied by an amazing smile :-) )

Traveling in the Middle East is very different from anyplace else I have been. Two of my traveling companions had traveled to Egypt before, but I and my roommate had not. Thus, I was surprised to see a very visible police and military presence pretty much everywhere. I didn't know it is standard practice to have armed security everywhere - every hotel has a metal detector and armed security at the door. Every monument has the same with members of the Antiquities Police. In Cairo we had a plainclothes security man (with a sidearm) with us daily. This is standard. I wondered if we needed it because I was never fearful, never afraid. And once we were in Luxor, our guide gave us the option for the daily security - which we declined -
and because there are so few tourists there at this time, I saw the wonders of the ancient world on what amounted to a private tour.

There were only four of us in the group - I am now very, very spoiled. First, Gap Adventures to Morocco last year with only 15, and now Egypt with four. I will not take a big-bus tour again.


Fujiyamamama said...

Wow! That is amazing, you are an intrepid traveler and it has really paid off!

Kristyn said...

What a beautiful view. Sounds like it was an amazing adventure.

A :-) said...

Thanks :-) It was really the trip of a lifetime - and yes, quite an adventure!