Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Express Egypt

I suppose it’s a bit ambitious to think that one is capable of covering an entire country in the space of eight days- but I can't be faulted for trying.

With that said, I believe I did a pretty good job of it- despite not sleeping, not showering, planes, trains, boats, and the sheer exhaustion of it all. 
I could have spent another month in Egypt and still not seen everything I wanted to see- but one deals the best they can with what they are handed. As for me- I was handed a little over a week, a Lonely Planet guidebook, and a credit card (oh…my poor credit card…)The original itinerary was fanciful to begin with-
however, it was not only followed, it was stretched- stretched so far that it probably should have snapped and fallen completely apart.
I may be catching up on sleep for the next few weeks but I wouldn't have changed a moment of
the trip. Should anyone find themselves with a week to spare in the Northeast corner of the African continent, I highly reccommend the following:

Day 1; Pyramids and Sphinx of Giza, Sakkara pyramids, private tour of Coptic Cairo, the hanging chu
rch, Abu Serga and Ben Ezra, mezze for lunch in the Islamic quarter, Khan-el-Khalili bazaar. Overnight train to Aswan. Day 2; Tour of Aswan; unfinished obelisk, high dam, Philae temple, boat ride to Nubian village. Dinner and cruising aboard a felucca along the Nile, bonfire on the beach at night, overnight on the felucca.

Day three; Visit by bus to the two temples of Abu Simbel. Transport
 (by boat or bus) to Luxor. 
Tour of Luxor; Karnak temple, Luxor temple, the sights in between. Stroll along the Corniche before dinner, a bit of          souking, and finally a long and deservedly relaxing dinner- followed by sheesha in a local coffee house.

Plane or bus (I recommend the 1 hour plane, as opposed to the
 many hour bus) to Sharm el Sheikh. Day 4; Transport from Sharm to Dahab.

Days 4,5,6; SCUBA SCUBA SCUBA- a three day course diving in some of the most beautiful reefs of the Red Sea- with the backdrop of the Sinai mountains.
Dahab (meaning Gold- like the mountains that surround it and the beaches it is b
uilt on) is like a little known treasure only about an hour trip from Sharm (but I am just as happy leaving the English-speaking drunks and fast food chains behind in Sharm.)

Day 7; Sunrise climb up to Mt. Sinai (where Moses received the commandments- for those of you who skipped Sunday school)- and a tour of St. Catherine's Monastery.
Day 8; Return to Sharm, Fly to Cairo, and pack it in.


Ultimately, part of me does regret not seeing everything I wanted to see- especially because I was RIGHT THERE- but worst-case scenario- I go back to Egypt one day. 

And that wont take much convincing…

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