Happy New Year! It’s been far too long since my last blogpost. I’m hoping this year will bring me motivation to write more than I did in 2020. The past year was challenging to say the least, but here we are in 2021 and I’m feeling super optimistic about it. I began 2021 the best way possible by traveling to a new country. I had leave booked at the beginning of January for my best friend’s wedding in Melbourne. Unfortunately due to heavy restrictions in Australia I am still unable to travel home so I used this time to travel to Egypt instead. It’s hard not being able to travel home to see my family and friends (it’s been 15 months too long) but the situation is out of my control so I might as well not let it upset me. One of my favourite quotes I live by is “it’s either going to control you or you’re going to control it” which helps me maintain a positive attitude no matter what life throws my way!
Egypt has always been high on my bucket list, I’ve longed to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza since I was in my early twenties. Egypt felt like such a far fetched dream when I was living in Melbourne. As it would happen my friend Marina also had leave at the beginning of January so the two of us decided to travel together. Egypt’s capital Cairo is only 3 hours flight from Dubai and since the borders are open it felt like the right destination to travel to during this time. We booked a private tour through Mina Samir (details at the bottom of this blog), who offers great prices and discounts to cabin crew and bloggers. I know many others that have used him to visit Egypt and I would definitely recommend him for those planning to travel. Mina organised our entire trip from Cairo to Luxor so that Marina and I didn’t have to worry about a single thing. He also takes the BEST photos!!!
Cairo & Giza
We departed early from Dubai to arrive in Cairo around midday. Mina picked us up from the airport and took us to the Egyptian museum to learn about Egyptian history. The museum is huge as it is home to many great Egyptian artefacts from centuries ago. You can even see a real life mummy, it’s crazy to think how long they could preserve a human body.
After the history lesson we set out to the river bank for a sunset cruise on the Nile. This was the perfect way to end the day as the sunsets in Egypt are nothing short of amazing. I believe Marina and I had the pleasure of witnessing the sunset every day of our trip. Each day I was consistently blown away by the size of the sun (HUGE!) and the colour of the sky. We finished off our first day with a delicious feast where we tried some local Egyptian food. Mina took us to a great little place not known to tourists. My favourite thing to try was the eggplant tagine and the stuffed vine leaves. the eggplant dish reminded me so much of my grandmother’s which is probably why I loved it so much, I miss her!
We woke early the next day to start our journey to the pyramids! We had booked a room with a balcony view of the pyramids however due to the amount of fog we were unable to see them from our room. The first stop of the day was Saqqara Pyramid, the first Egyptian pyramid to ever be built. The cool part about this pyramid is that the inside is still in tact so we were able to climb inside and look at the hieroglyphs on the walls.
It was then time to visit the Great Pyramids of Giza and turn my dream into a reality. It felt so surreal to stand beside such an iconic monument. I feel so blessed to have finally visited the world wonder and to have seen such history before my eyes. I still don’t understand how they built them, it must have been the aliens!
We spent a long time here taking photos of course, Mina even took us to a great spot for the most beautiful panoramic view of the pyramids. We were so lucky to have him as he knew all the best places for photos!
After many photos… and when I say many I mean MANY (poor Mina) we made out way to the final stop of the day – the Great Sphinx. Again I felt so in awe that I was finally witnessing such an amazing historical monument. We were so lucky to not have many tourists around so we were able to capture wonderful photos with the Sphinx without anyone in the background. This was one of the best things about visiting at the time of corona, there were hardly any tourists there. So often Marina and I were one of the only people at the sites that we visited. It was amazing, I am so glad I travelled here when I did. I think the addition of many tourists would have completely changed our experience for the worse.
Mina then drove us to the airport to catch our flight to Aswan. Here we would embark on our cruise which set sail along the Nile river from Aswan to Luxor.
We woke up at 4am the next morning for a 3 hours car ride to the Abu Simbel Temples. The temple constructed for King Ramesses II was honestly the most impressive temple I have ever seen in my whole life (and in my many years of travel I assure you I have seen a lot of temples). We were fortunate enough to be one of the only ones visiting at the time so we virtually had the entire place to ourselves. I highly recommend the trek to the Abu Simbel temples, it’s a little out of the way but it was definitely worth the journey. I would say it was my favourite place to visit on this entire trip.
After a few hours spent exploring the temples, we made our way back to Aswan city to check in for our 3 night cruise from Aswan to Luxor. We chose to sail on the Sonesta Star Goddess Nile cruise ship which is one of the most premium cruises to choose from. Marina and I are both goddesses so we thought it was only fitting for the two of us! The cruise included breakfast, lunch and dinner so after eating our lunch on the ship we headed out to the temple of Philae, a temple built on a beautiful island. It looked like something out of Game of Thrones, I was in awe of the sea water colour and island’s beauty. We took a little sail boat to reach the island, it was simply stunning!
After visiting the island we made our way back to the cruise ship as we set sail overnight on route to Luxor.
Our next stop was the Temple of Kom Ombo, a double temple dedicated to two sets of Gods. What does Egypt and Australia have in common? The answer… CROCODILES! Half of the temple is dedicated to the falcon God while the other half is dedicated to the crocodile God. Yes, the Egyptians used to worship the crocodile, they believed it would keep them safe from the hungry crocodiles in the Nile.
We headed back to the ship for a bbq lunch on the rooftop with another two flight attendants working for Delta Airlines in the USA. They were travelling on board the cruise ship with us. I love meeting fellow crew – it doesn’t matter where they are from I always feel an instant bond and there is never a dull moment in conversation.
The ship set sail and soon after we arrived in Edfu where we took a horse and carriage through the small town to Edfu temple.
On the second last day of the cruise, we arrived at our final destination Luxor. I have to say I really enjoyed my time in Aswan and Luxor compared to Cairo. It’s a completely different feel out of the city, Aswan and Luxor are so green and luscious, full of palm trees and flowers. I really felt like I was in Africa when I was sailing the Nile river, absolutely stunning!
For our first day in Luxor we visited Karnak temple, the largest temple in Egypt followed by Luxor temple. During out visit to Luxor temple, we were surprised to see that there was a movie or tv show being filmed at the site. Apparently we were surrounded by many Egyptian celebrities… unfortunately I don’t know any famous Egyptian celebrities so it wasn’t so exciting for me! xD
The day ended perfectly with live music, a traditional belly dancer and tamboura dancer to celebrate our last night on board the cruise.
The next morning we checked out of the boat and made our way to the final destination of the tour, the Valley of the Kings. Here you will find 63 royal tombs hidden within the mountains. It was amazing to visit such a magnificent burial ground, can you imagine how many powerful people were buried here!
The final temple of the trip was the temple of Hatshepshut but as Sami our tour guide told us we can call it “Hot Chicken Soup” if the pronounciation is too hard, that became the running joke of the day. It was funny at the time ok!
We had a spectacular late lunch at a local restaurant by the Nile and just when you thought things couldn’t get any better, we checked into our hotel for our last evening in Egypt, the Hilton Doubletree which was absolutely amazing located right on the Nile River waterfront. Unfortunately, we only had a short period of time to enjoy the hotel as our afternoon flight to Cairo the next day was cancelled so we had to take an early morning flight instead.
As we ended up flying back to Cairo earlier than planned, we arranged for one of Marina’s friends to pick us up from the airport and take us around Cairo to see the “upper part of the city” away from the pyramids and the craziness we witnessed on our first day. We went for an amazing Egyptian feast at a restaurant called El Mohamady where I tried many traditional dishes. My favourite was the Molokhia, which is an Egyptian spinach soup!
I finished my evening with a longggggg wait at the airport as I wasn’t able to board the flight I intended to take back to Dubai. Unfortunately my COVID test results weren’t emailed to me in time so I had to take the next flight out of Cairo 5 hours later. It was a little annoying but at the end of the day I am just happy the result was negative and I was able to safely return to Dubai. Despite this, my entire trip went completely smooth and I am left feeling eager to return to Egypt again. I would love to visit the coast and go diving in some of it’s clear sea waters.
If you are interested in visiting Egypt, I highly encourage booking a guide as you will find it a lot easier to get around without any hassles (particularly if you are female). Marina and I felt so safe and taken care of the entire trip. I must say I was completely surprised by the Egyptian men as they treated us like absolute queens, I don’t think I opened one door or lifted a finger the entire trip… it felt so lovely, I really am in love with chivalrous behaviour. The princess life is something I could easily get used to but I’ll try not to get Cairo-ed away now! hehehe 😉
It feels so good to be travelling and writing again, I’m feeling completely inspired! I’ll start editing the footage of my second vlog on Egypt for my youtube channel. If you haven’t seen my first vlog on Lisbon check it out HERE.
Well that’s all from me… I’ll try to be more active with my writing this year now that the world is slowly resuming back to normal. I have another few weeks of annual leave coming up at the end of February and I’m still deciding where to travel. I really want to go home to Melbourne but given the current situation I don’t think it’s possible. If you have any suggestions let me know, otherwise I wish you a amazing prosperous 2021… onwards and upwards!!! xxxxx
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