How can you not be enchanted by Egypt? After studying Egyptian history this summer at Cambridge, I knew I had to get there. Where else is history so ancient, visible, and larger than life? It’s absolutely insane that the “new” kingdom was around 3,000 years ago!?!
Looking at the flight prices to Cairo (and given unrest and terror concerns), I assumed that a trip would be far out in the future. But, the stars aligned and I found an amazing airfare deal one afternoon and impulsively booked a trip. Read on for day 1 of my Egyptian adventure!
For the first part of my trip, I stayed at the New Palace Hotel and traveled with Ray of Egypt tours. They did such an amazing job of making me feel comfortable as a solo female traveler! Dr. Ahmed, the owner of both companies, treated me like family and ensured that I was able to explore Egypt safely. I stayed in an all-female dorm room that cost $5 per night and included internet, a hall bath with hot water, breakfast, and a TV.
On my first day in Egypt, he introduced me to the women who work at his company, so that I could make some local friends. I had so much fun going shopping and learning more about life in Egypt from them. In Heliopolis, I loved seeing the old palaces contrasted with the very modern SunCity mall.
Later that night, we explored Downtown Cairo and ate some delicious Shwarma. I love the open-air cafes and bustle of people at night! Downtown Cairo’s architecture is a beautiful mixture of French, Greek, and Arabic influences. It has European flair, but an Arabic soul. Minarets poke out all around the city, and at prayer times the air is filled with calls from mosques in every direction.
Cairo is a massive city, with 22 million people living in the Metropolitan area. This makes driving (and navigating) the city a little bit crazy! I’m very grateful to be in good hands with Dr. Ahmed and Ray of Egypt tours.
Next stop: the Pyramids of Giza!