Pyramids and sphinxes, the great bustling city of Cairo and the life-giving Nile – there are few countries that have captured the public imagination in the same way Egypt has. An ever-popular holiday destination, people come here for the history, for the vibrant culture, the wonderful food and above all, to see a country that is for many the epitome of all things mysterious and wonderful.
Adventures in Egypt
Stepping off the plane after a five and a half hour flight, that first breath of hot dusty air, blue skies with not a cloud in sight, the red sea glistening a deep vibrant blue, sand as far as the eye could see and the jaggy rock formations of the Sinai mountains…of all the holidays I had been on before, none could have prepared me for the beauty and blistering heat of Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt.
After we got our visas, which cost £12, our holiday rep took us to our awaiting bus. Travelling to our hotel, in the middle of the desert, we marvelled at this amazing land – it was as though we had arrived in another time. Everywhere you looked there were monuments and statues, reminders of an Egypt thousands of years past.
Egyptian heat and three big pyramids
Arriving at our hotel, we settled into our respective rooms, which all had air conditioning. The sun set around seven thirty, and what a sunset! The rainbow of colours as the sun got lower in the sky was indescribable, disappearing behind the mountains, which had a surreal effect. Never have I seen a mountain range quite so stunning.
Getting up bright and breezy the next morning, we claimed our sun-beds beside the pool and went in to get some breakfast. As the temperature soared into the hundreds by the afternoon, the pool was like an oasis in the desert. Even sitting in the shade was hot. It was recommended that you drink at least 3 big bottles of mineral water a day, sometimes even this wasn’t enough, as you just sweated it back out!
On day two, we organised our trips to Cairo and Luxor, one each week. The hotel had a lot of entertainment for the guest, something different every night. Light shows, belly dancers and a whirling dervish, which was fantastic.Our first trip was to Giza to see the pyramids and sphinx. After a 40-minute flight, we landed in Cairo. It was very hot, even at 8am in the morning. We travelled through Cairo on a coach, while our guide told us all about the history of Cairo and Giza.
I’ll always remember the first glimpse I saw of the three great pyramids. Towering above everything, magnificent in the distance, shaded by a purple haze. Awestruck by the splendour and sheer size, these were after all one of the original wonders of the world, which I had only ever seen in books.Nearly five thousand years of history stood before us, grandfather, son and grandson. I have never before in my life been so overwhelmed or honoured to be standing where once the mighty pharaohs stood watching, as 30,000 labourers built these monumental tombs. It took 63 years to build all three. Our guide took us up to a plateau where we could take picture and also take in the stunning views and surroundings. After the plateau, we went down to the two larger pyramids, were we could walk around but could not touch.
A camel, some papyrus and King Tut’s Tomb
Here we encountered our first camel. Absolutely huge. We all got to sit on the camel, which was an experience. Back on the bus for a five minute journey down to the giant sphinx. A lot of people said to us before we went that the sphinx is not as big as you think it will be, but I though it was huge. It really depends on what you are expecting to see I suppose. After 20 minutes we went for some cool refreshments at a nearby café, which had the most spectacular view of the sphinx and the pyramids. We visited apapyrus factory, where we watched as the demonstrator showed us how to make real Egyptian paper.
After a quick browse, we purchased some of the unique artwork that is on display. After a bite to eat, we were taken to the Museum of Cairo. We seen the mummies of kings and queens and all the displays of gold taken from King Tut’s tomb, including the gold death mask and the two gold sarcophagus’s, all perfectly preserved. Cairo is one of the largest populated cities in the world, it was bustling and busy.
Our hotel was situated 10 minutes away from the local resort of Naama Bay, where there are loads of restaurants and shops. The food was very tasty and extremely cheap. As you cant use the piped water for anything but a shower, nobody had an upset stomach. We also spent a couple of hours at the beach, and went for a swim in the red sea, very clean and clear.
Our next trip was to Luxor, which was in total contrast to Cairo. A relaxed atmosphere, with carts pulled by oxen and donkeys. We crossed the Nile. After a quick stop on the bridge, we resumed our journey to the Valley of the Kings. We went into the tombs of kings, and although they had been covered with sand for thousands of years, the hieroglyphics were still bright and colourful. We visited the temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the only women to rule Egypt as a pharaoh. This is an impressive temple carved into the mountain on the other side of the Valley of the Kings. Down the road from the temple is an alabaster factory where the ground glitters like diamonds. Here there are amazing hand carved figurines and statues all made from stone.
After lunch we visited Karnak Temple and the Temple of Tutankamun. These temples are amazing. Huge pillars and statues tower into the sky. Many of the colours can still be seen at both these temples. We left King Tut’s temple via an avenue of Sphinx’s that once joined the two temples.
On our second last day, we went on a glass bottom boat trip on the Red Sea. The sea is crystal clear. We seen thousands of different fish, the corals were incredible, brightly coloured and alive. The boat trip lasted an hour and was a trip well worth doing.
Video Slayt About Egypt
This was definitely a holiday that I will never forget, and a country I will go back to time and again. If not for the sights, but the friendly and pleasant people and the good food. I would recommend Egypt to everybody.