BY MICCA VANVIELD
It was in 2013 that I decided to embark on the trip of a lifetime. I was having a conversation with a friend where we discovered we were both craving that time away. She had always wanted to travel to Egypt to see the pyramids and her inspiration came from the book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Coelho. .Being the true adventurist that I am, I decided to dive right in and take the trip. When asked about their dream destination, most would say that I want to be laying on a beach for days without a care in the world. Ohers would say, I want the opportunity to embrace culture. I say I want the opportunity to do it all. My journey to Egypt did just that and it was a trip that absolutely changed my life.
Like every traveler out there, I started to do my research on the places I wanted to see and the things I wanted to do while I would be away. I had my itinerary set and of course the news hit about a possible revolution. Now, I am a firm believer in nothing being a coincidence, so with my faith ahead of me and some extensive research, I embarked on my journey. Being in the business that I am in, I embrace all things custom and getting the most value out of everything I do. I created an itinerary that had me visit family in London on my way to Egypt. It was almost like having two vacations in one.
It wasn’t until I arrived in Egypt that I discovered what direction this decision would take my life. Not only was it an amazing opportunity to see a land that plays such a significant role in our history, this trip really gave me an opportunity to find myself. I was at a point in my life where I felt like I needed clarity in certain areas and had no idea that this trip would offer that. I’ve compiled a list that will give you an idea of the experience.
The People: After arriving in Cairo at almost 3:00am we were met by a local representative with a warm welcome. He guided us to get the visa that was needed upon entry and even got our bags from the carousel. Though I noticed a difference in the look from the people of Cairo to Aswan to Luxor, the warmth and offers of hospitality remained the same. I believe that great characteristics of the people of a country you plan to visit is always a plus to make your vacation unforgettable.
Sightseeing: Where do I begin? If I start to point out the beautiful places, monuments and temples you can visit in Egypt, it’ll be such a long list. I started out my first full day in Egypt visiting the pyramids, located in Cairo (the largest city in the Middle East and also Africa). There is still something so surreal about waking up in a beautiful hotel, then driving minutes away, not realizing that you are about to witness one of the world’s great wonders. In Cairo you can also visit the Sphinx, Egyptian Museum, Sakkara, Nile Cruises or Felucca Sailings. Every day was something new and amazing. One of my favorite sites was my journey on a boat to Agilika Island (in the south off the shore of Aswan) where I sat in the courtyard of my favorite temple (Philae Temple) and listened to many myths including the story of Seth and Horus (this is now highlighted in the new film Gods of Egypt). I also had an experience which I now know as my realization of a divine connection. To my understanding many people tour the lands of Egypt for this specific purpose. It is definitely life changing. Bathing in the River Nile, visiting the Valley of the Kings, Abu-Simbel, viewing the remains and treasures of the nation’s greats are just a few of the highlights you can explore while visiting Egypt. When you feel like you have visited one too many sites you can opt for rest and relaxation. You can visit Sharm El Sheikh and Hurghada for sun, sea and sand; in other words the ultimate relaxation trip. Water sports such as diving, snorkeling and windsurfing are definitely a must here especially in Hurghada due to the very rare colored coral reefs that amaze divers. Alexandria is also full of great surprises and is a fantastic choice for a honeymoon.
Culture: All we can say about the current culture in Egypt is that the atmosphere is one that should be experienced. It’s amazing how energetic, cheerful and optimistic everyone is. From young kids running up to the tour bus to play their role in the family business to sitting in a coffee shop having hibiscus tea in the middle of the afternoon or indulging in a local pastime of shisha. The food in Egypt is definitely mouthwatering and depicts the culture. Enjoying Kebab and Kofta in 5 star restaurants showcasing New Age Egypt to dining in the courtyard of a Nubian home or on the Nile while sailing Felucca. The experiences are truly priceless.
Weather: Egypt is a sunny place year round. It rarely rains in the winter and you’ll always find close to perfect weather. Summer runs from May to August and the temperatures can be quite high. I remember visiting the Valley of the Kings on a day where the temperature soared to 48 Celsius. This was definitely an afternoon to cool off in the pool (or the Nile). Winter runs from October to February and may get cool to the point where you will need a light jacket. September, April and March are also great months to travel where the temperature isn’t sweltering.
It doesn’t matter the reason for your trip. If you a person who enjoys relaxation or you prefer a crowded full of life place? Whether it for clarity, culture, people, sites or food, a trip to Egypt will definitely satisfy. Egypt certainly knows how to combine between a lot of aspects; a glamorous nightlife, oriental places, Nile cruises or the ultimate getaways. Follow your heart, take that trip. I might see you there.