Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Egypt, *Tori*

Egypt Maymester

I traveled with Vanderbilt University to Egypt during May of 2010. We traveled from Cairo to Aswan to Luxor to Sharm el Sheikh to Alexandria and back to Cairo to fly home.

During the trip, we were fortunate to stay at nice hotels which I would definitely recommend as it is a somewhat unsafe country (although I never once felt unsafe). We went with a travel/tour agency that scheduled our days and provided a charter bus that we visited all of the sites with. As per Egyptian governmental rules, we had an armed guard with us at all times (again, he never had to do anything except save us from the solicitors at Giza.) We visited many churches and mosques as that was the main reason for our class and the highlights of the trip included:

  • Cairo
    • Statues of Memphis
    • The Step Pyramid
    • Carpet making factory
    • Felucca sailing on the Nile (dinner included)
    • Giza Pyramids and the Solar Boat museum
    • The Sphinx
    • Cairo Museum
    • Muhammed Ali Mosque
    • Dinner cruise on the Nile
  • Luxor
    • Market
    • Temple of Karnak
    • Temple of Queen Hapshepsut
    • Valley of the Kings
  • Sharm el Sheikh
    • Climbed Mt. Sinai
  • Alexandria
    • The Library
    • Royal Gardens

We took a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor, which was really cool and wonderful. The food on it, however, was not the best. The food throughout Egypt was mostly Mediterranean- hummus, babaganoush, gyros, etc. and a lot of the locals also smoke hookah nightly.  

As for dress, I would recommend breathable clothing that is modest as it is a Muslim country. The only city where you absolutely should wear long pants and shirts is Alexandria. Also, as in any Muslim country, be prepared for the Call to Prayer to be announced from all of the mosques multiple times a day. Another tip is for girls to wear their hair back, especially blondes- many Saudis visit Egypt and our professor had us stay very modest in their presence in the hotel.

Although I only spent a few weeks there, I really feel that I saw all of the sites of Egypt that I’d wanted to. We took classes in the hotel conference room and traveled a lot, but it was well worth it. It is important to note that I probably would not have felt near as safe if I wasn’t with such a formal group. That being said, most Egyptians are very nice and friendly.


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