by Marion Bunnik
Arriving in Egypt in October with Dennis and Sacha felt amazing – especially as it had been more than 12 months since my last visit.
It always gives me a buzz arriving in to Egypt at Cairo Airport, as there seems to be so many people and so much hustle and bustle – yet strangely it feels like an organised chaos! The traffic on the streets seems to go on forever, with all different kind of transport criss-crossing an area which should be for 3 lanes but here is used for at least 6! Yet I have never seen an accident, the traffic just seems to flow albeit with a lot of noise and hooting from the many impatient drivers!
Breakfast with a view
After a long flight and a well-deserved shower I collapsed in my bed ready to catch up on my beauty sleep, after travelling it’s so nice to relax on a soft pillow and a firm mattress! The next morning, feeling much more refreshed we woke to a delicious, hearty breakfast full of international and local cuisine. The three of us have travelled to Egypt many, many times and the Le Meridien Pyramids Hotel is really like our second home. The staff were all on hand to greet us with warm welcoming smiles and the chef definitely seems to know me as he made me a delicious omelette, just the way I like it! The location of this hotel really has to be one of the best in Egypt, if not the world, as it’s not every day that you can sit and enjoy breakfast with the backdrop being the magical pyramids. No matter how many times I see the pyramids they never fail to take my breath away – they truly are one of the of the wonders of the world, and everyone should visit them at least once.
Sightseeing without the Crowds
Our flight from Cairo to Luxor was smooth. The plane was full of local people and we felt like the only tourists on board, which was sad really as we know how much the Egyptians rely on the tourist dollar and they have so much on offer. Yet the local people were all very friendly and happy to see that we were back in their sunny lands to admire their wonderful ancient sites. Believe me when I say there is no better time to visit Egypt than now. There are very few tourists here at the moment and what tourists are here are mainly from France, Germany and the Netherlands. The sights are practically empty, which was great for us as we could enjoy them without the crowds and the hospitality of the local people was amazing. There is so much to see and to experience in Egypt that whether you are here for the first time or a repeat traveller you cannot help but fall under Egypt’s spell.
Relaxing by the Nile
Arriving in to our hotel in Luxor I make a drink and take it out to my balcony. Sitting here I cannot imagine anything more tranquil and beautiful, as I am overlooking Egypt’s mighty Nile River while the sun sets, colouring the sky red with white-tipped clouds. Flocks of ducks are flying low over the water in a kite-like pattern. I listen to the sounds of the call for prayer drifting over the water – this place really has a mystical quality to it. Experiencing this magical moment really makes me feel like one of the luckiest people in the world.
From Luxor we travelled onto Aswan – which is in a world of its own, as there is just so much to see and experience. We stayed 2 nights in the Movenpick Hotel on Elephantine Island, it was amazing. The hotel was beautiful, the staff friendly and accommodating, the pool was fantastic and the food was delicious. During our stay here we met three groups who were travelling across Egypt on our own Bunnik Tours. It was great to see some of our clients and they all told us how much they were enjoying being in Egypt. The overwhelming feedback was that everyone felt safe at all times and they were really glad they had made the decision to come. We had dinner at the Tower where you get an overview of the whole city of Aswan with its twinkling lights. From here we visited the unfinished obelisk, the souk and the ruins on Elephantine Island whose history is from the Greek Period. These impressive ruins are not well very well-known and as such not very visited but they were well worth the trip.
Enjoying our cruise on a felucca
We walked through the colourful Nubian village on the Island and saw how the traditional Nubian people live. We also enjoyed a felucca sunset cruise which was so peaceful and scenic. Little boys came and sang for us while peddling on their makeshift boats. Some of the boys got a ride with one of the motorised water taxis which bring people from one side of the Nile to the Island and return.
We admired the graves of the noble people in the huge hill at the other side of the island and we walked through the botanical gardens where we met a group of school children who sang and danced for us. In the evening we watched the sunset from Nubian Restaurant overlooking the Nile, this was really a wow moment. They served us a delicious hibiscus drink while we were mesmerised by the beauty of the sunset over the Nile. No wonder writers and poets have found so much inspiration here as it’s so peaceful and serene which I’m sure helps clear the mind and enhances happiness!
If you have ever dreamed of visiting Egypt now really is the time to go. The lack of tourists mean that you are able to see some of the world’s most amazing sights without the crowds, and it’s not going to remain like this forever!
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