15 day Egypt Tour "Pyramids & Beaches"

We flew with Alitalia and had a stopover in Milan for 8 hours - our flight to Egypt would've only been 5 hours total! Ah well the things we do to save a few pounds. We arrived to Cairo airport at 02:25 and thankfully had an airport transfer waiting for us. The traffic is madness, no lanes, cars paying no attention to speed limits, donkeys lugging carts, overcrowded buses etc all constantly sitting on their horns. We checked into the hotel and slept til 1pm, and then decided to venture out, we didn't get too far but just sitting watching the traffic and people is entertainment and eye opening enough. Crossing the road was an experience, I was a bit scared and ended up just clinging to Niki, you just weave in between the cars, they kind of slow down for you. Surprisingly in all this madness we didn't see one accident or road rage.

Day 1 was just an arrival day so no formal plans but later that afternoon a few others had arrived so we went out to dinner on a cruise on the Nile. It was pretty tacky but also fun, and obviously just unreal to be on the Nile! We had entertainment from a freaky belly dancer who kept eyeing Niki up and shaking her fake boobs at him, freaking him out, also there was a sufi dancer (male) they basically spin around and around with these big skirts, so they look like spinning tops, and do other stuff while continually spinning for ages and ages!! It's pretty cool.
Day 2 we met at 08:30 for a "meet & greet" and then hopped on the coach for the first big whammy - visiting the pyramids! What can I say - they were every bit as amazing and impressive as you imagine. We also did a camel ride which was sooo cool. Later we went to the Egyptian museum, the main attraction there for me was seing King Tutankhamen's mask and stuff found in his grave (his actual mummy lies at the Valley of the Kings).

That night we boarded a train to travel to Aswan (13 hours!). The train was "first class" - and surprisingly not as bad as I thought it would be, but still I refused to use the loo. What can I say - super woman bladder!
Day 3 we had a wake up call at 03:00 as we had to join a police convoy to travel out to Abu Simbel. This is an incredible sight - by far the most impressive temple mostly because of it's location, carved right into the rocks and it's very well preserved.

We spent 1.5 days on a felucca which is a sort of sailing boat, large flat deck with storage underneath. We just lazed around in the sun and docked at night. Niki also braved the cold water and had a dip in the Nile. It was sooo relaxing and fun on the felucca. We had a tape player belting out Marley songs and a 2 man crew who sailed (obviously!) and also cooked for us. Was such an awesome experience, the only downer was the lack of toilets and by that stage everyone had funny tummys! (just to clarify - not funny haha).

We left the felucca at 7.30 on Day 6 and hopped on a coach which drove for an hour where we visited Kom Ombo Temple and Edfu Temple en route to Luxor, where we arrived at 1pm. We checked into the hotel and were stoked to learn that there was a swimming pool on the roof! Had a fantastic afternoon lounging by the pool and ordering western type food, washing down those imodium tablets.

On day 7 we had an early morning and had an hour donkey ride to the Valley of the Kings. It was really fun and amazing to see all the dessert.

Out of the 18 on our tour, only 5 of us had booked the 15 day rather than 9 day. We left Cairo on day 9 at 06:00 on a mini bus arriving at Dahab at around 14:00. Dahab was fantastic, there was no formal programme as such, we just were told what was on offer and had a GoBus rep available for any queries and he hung out with us for dinner etc. The first night Niki, Scott and I decided to climb Mt Sinai (Moses Mountain) and tagged along with another tour group. We left the hotel at 23:00, drove for an hour and then walked up the mountain which took approx 3 hours, when we got to the top we hired skody mattresses and blankets and had a kip until 06:00 when we were awoken for the sunrise... It was pretty special.

We got back to the hotel at 10:30 and had arranged to go snorkelling with Marina and Bridgit that day so even though we were tired we trooped on. Unfortunately the weather wasn't the best so it wasn't very enjoyable but still cool to be in the Red Sea!

Niki and the other 3 in our group had all decided to do their PADI open water dive course over the next 3 days so I was left alone to sunbathe etc...Bliss! Marina didn't like the feeling of being constricted (can't blame her!) so I had a friend after day 1 (yay). Niki really enjoyed the challenge and saw some awesome fish - on the last day they dove to 18 metres and he passed his test so is now an open water qualified diver - woohoo!! Another expensive hobby to add to the list...flying, snowboarding and now this =)

We lounged by the pool, had a few drinks, ate out for every meal (heaven!) - awesome food and service - and got a few souvenirs. Going to Dahab was so different to the rest of what we'd seen in Egypt and a fantastic way to end our Egypt trip.

Day 14 we departed Dahab at 13:00 and were on our way back to Cairo...and Day 15 was the departure day so nothing too exciting going on. We were the last to leave with our airport transfer not leaving until 01:00 on Monday - arriving back into London finally at 12pm. A trip to the laundromat and then over to Mandy & Azz's for a well deserved night's rest.