Home to gob-smacking monuments, the majestic Nile River and a sprawling capital city, Egypt is everything you’d expect it to be – and more.
After touching down in Cairo for the Topdeck 9 Day Egypt Express, I quickly realised this place was going to stay with me forever. And what an impact it made.
Read on for a few personal take-outs from this incredible experience.
There’s no better way to travel down the Nile than in a felucca.
A fel-whatta? A felucca, aka a traditional wooden sailboat and the ONLY way to float down the Nile River. Amp up your transport game and make sure you add a voyage on a felucca to your 2017 bucket list. You’ll ditch modern luxuries and technology (because who needs to Snap and ‘Gram 24/7 anyway?) to enjoy river life just like Egyptians have for hundreds of years, all in the company of an amazing local crew and new sailing buddies. Add a touch of Nubian nightlife (read: dancing and singing around a campfire) plus unbelievable sunsets, and you’ve got yourself a cruise to remember.
You’ll eat your best meal when you least expect it.
There’s nothing better then an unexpected, out-of-the-blue and spontaneous feed. Take note: when your Trip Leader pulls over to what looks like an empty café, and then runs down a side street and strolls back beaming with pride holding two bags of food that smell like heaven, you know you’re in for a treat. Seriously, just imagine the BEST falafel wrap on earth (x1000) and you might get close to the amazingness that we sampled. Fresh, flavoursome, and straight from a local kitchen = DELISH!
Sunsets on the Nile make Santorini look #basic.
With cloudless skies almost guaranteed, enjoy dusk and dawn on the Nile and soak up every amazing minute of it. The ancient Egyptians believed that the Gods underwent birth, death, and resurrection each day during a journey to cross the sky. The east (where the sun rises) was thought of as a place of birth and growth, and the west was considered the place of death, thus all tombs were built on the west bank and the temples on the east. Impressive? You bet!
Egyptians really, really loved their Kings.
Four words: Valley of the Kings. Situated on the west bank in Luxor and home to 63 tombs, the Valley of the Kings epitomises the importance of the after life for Egyptians. Think: tombs, decadent paintings, phenomenal carvings and all things royal.
The Great Pyramids of Giza are EVEN MORE impressive in real life.
Filter or no filter, it doesn’t even matter as the Pyramids do ALL the talking without any digital enhancements. They’re guaranteed to make you question how on earth these man-made structures were created and somehow survived for hundreds of years. Get up close and personal with the Pyramids, and be sure to get creative and capture that classic tourist photo.
As for the Sphinx – apart from a missing nose, this half-human-half-lion creation is still looking strangely sharp after four thousand years of existence.
All about ‘Koshari’.
One of the most important lessons: DO NOT leave without sampling Koshari, Egypt’s national dish. Basically the invincible dish, for most travellers, the initial encounter with the dish will be inside a small local restaurant on the backstreets of Cairo, and like most things abroad – looks can be deceiving. Offering a mixture of macaroni, brown rice, chickpeas and lentils topped with a layer of fried onions, it’s an experience to rock your taste buds. To complete the dish, pour over a small bowl of tomato sauce and you’ve got yourself an essential Egyptian belly-filler.
To get up and close with all things Egypt, go here.