It has been three years since the Arab Spring came to Egypt on January 25, 2011. We watched the events of those days unfold with rapt attention as we wondered if our planned trip only four months away would be possible at all.
Egypt is one of the world’s most ancient civilizations. For nearly 4,000 years, the Pyramids at Giza were the tallest buildings on earth. The civilization built along the Nile River has had a lasting impact on world history and culture. Much of Roman civilization was built on a study of the Egyptian culture before it. Egypt was also the world’s first tourist destination. It was one of the stops on the Grand World Tour. Visiting the pyramids and seeing the sphinx was required for the well-cultured traveler.
Beyond ancient Egypt, the modern country offers amazing scuba diving, beautiful sunny beaches and a launching pad to explore the Middle East. Recent security concerns have muted tourism, but we found the country can still be explored safely. We visited the country shortly after the January 25th Revolution (or what is also called the Egyptian Uprising of 2011) and had most of the historic sites completely to ourselves. Here is the best of Egypt.
Our Middle East adventure continued with a planned day of scuba diving in the Red Sea near Sharm el-Sheikh. Sharm el-Sheikh was a sleepy fishing village until the late 1970s. Through the 1980s and 1990s, the Egyptian government focused on turning this stretch of rocky beach into a world class resort destination. The beaches in
The Coptic (Christian) area of Cairo has been peppered with violence over the last several years as locals continue to play out religious conflicts in the streets and churches. Our guide was surprised we wanted to visit, but we couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Coptic Cairo is generally closed to vehicle traffic and police are
We awoke early again this morning to head straight to Queen Hatshepsut Temple before it got too hot. The multi-tiered temple is absolutely imposing set up against the rock. The building itself is on a grand scale, but most of the carvings were destroyed by Ramses II – a pity. But the carvings that remain
The neighboring Karnak and Luxor Temples are filled with unique statues and carvings that convey the glory of ancient Egypt.
We woke up at about 3:30am and left the boat by 4:00am for our hot air balloon ride. We had spent a lot of time debating whether to do it because 1) none of us are morning people 2) two of us were scared to death of heights and 3) it was somewhat expensive…but we
Edfu Temple is characterized by its amazing reliefs that soar into the sky and its in tact roof, which has kept some colors vibrant.
We slept on the boat which was still docked in Aswan. In the morning, my mother-in-law and I went to the Nubian Museum. It’s a great museum – well organized, not too big, with well-written descriptions in English. This museum is everything the Egyptian Museum in Cairo could be. After a couple of hours, we
Any visit to Abu Simbel would be spectacular. But being alone (or nearly alone) at the site was an experience in itself.
Intricate, massive carvings made our first temple visit of the trip an impressive stop.