I am at the moment planning my next trip to Egypt, a country that has inspired a real love in my heart.
When I was still at school and visited the British Museum and like a lot of other people, I became interested in Ancient Egypt but did not think then that I would ever get the chance to go and see the places where those marvelous artifacts came from. But as it happened by the time I became an adult the world had changed and holidays abroad became popular and eventually after visiting other places, I did get my chance and I first visited Egypt with a friend in 2011, we went on a Red Sea cruise that had stopped in Egypt and in Jordan.
That cruise just made me feel I needed to go back and my friend and I took a Nile trip in 2013. The trip from Luxor to Aswan with many stops was just packed full of interest, much more history than could be absorbed in just one visit. The various temples, the names of the Pharos, the beauty of a bygone age that still has the power to amaze and of course I just felt awe at all the amazing things they did, without all our clever modern tools and machines. We were so lucky we had the best guide possible Mr Amro Mounir and he helped us to understand Ancient Egypt both with his interesting style of talks, and the fact that no question asked was too silly to get an honest answer. He also told us about current day Egypt and encouraged us to talk to and barter with the Egyptian people we met on our visits, always close enough to be called over if help was needed. Although I have to say it is amazing how many Egyptians speak English to a greater or lesser extent.
It was a wonderful magical holiday the only problem that a week was not long enough, so the following year my friend and I returned and took more or less the same trip. It was Egypt and was enjoyable, but not as good as the previous trip because we did not have the same care taken of us. It just emphasized how good our guide had been from the year before. I like to talk to the vendors at the various sites and engage in the fun of bartering but most of the people on our trip had not visited Egypt before and were worried about it, unlike Amro after giving us a talk, our guide just returned to the coach. This meant, therefore, the other guests got to the end of the week having spent very little time speaking to the Egyptians or being able to buy any souvenirs with their holiday money. The staff on the boat, however, were wonderful and even encouraged me with my awful attempts at speaking Arabic.
My next trip was to Cairo and to make sure it was successful I contacted Amro and was lucky enough to be shown the wonders of Cairo, including the museum, the church where the holy family sheltered, and in the middle of the Kan el Kali market my favorite coffee shop. I just love sitting there watching Egypt go by, locals, people visiting from the country, people visiting from the rest of the world. The wonderful, wonderful pyramids, which greeted me every morning from my bedroom window and the stepped pyramid, Memphis, Alexandria and more, we filled the week with wonderful experiences.
Since then I have been back and back, I have grown to love the people and the places, the wonders of the temples and pyramids still make me marvel and there are still many places I want to visit. This year it was St Catherine’s monastery, St Pishoy’s Monastery, and Armenia.
What is next? The white desert? The new Egyptian Museum, Luxor Museum, the old cataract hotel at Aswan they are all on my list for the future. But this time it is just Giza and of course, there will have to be time for a coffee in that coffee shop. If you want to know where it is you will have to book a holiday with the man who in my opinion is the best tour guide in the business, Amro Mounir at Soul of Egypt Travel.
Written By: Lorna Tampling