After our 14 hour flight to Cairo we were all a little delirious, most of us having had very little sleep! We were all running on adrenalin and high on emotions, for every one of us had realised we were now living our dream – we’re actually in Egypt and it’s real, the dream is real!
Our group of girls are all different ages and from different backgrounds. The baby of the group is 43 year old Sarah, then the rest of the girls ages are upward from there, through to our eldest and no doubt the cheekiest, the lovely Mare, aged 68! We have amongst our group the married ladies – myself, Lorelle, Kaye B and Kaye N, then the singles – Catherine, Robyn, Sarah & Mare, followed by our girls with partners – Sei Moi and Barb – that makes up our group (pictured).
Right from day one this journey has been incredible and I just knew that each one of us was going to learn just a little bit more about ourselves through this time. In our fifteen days together in Egypt we have had some great experiences.
Our Adventures in Cairo started by some of us taking to the streets, which was like watching our lives flash before us every time we had to cross the road!! A taxi ride Downtown was next on the agenda – whoa, now that was fun, you just have to do it, I can’t believe how fast they drive in the crowds, no road rules it seems, but they are so patient in comparison to back home.
Next day we visited Khan al-Khalili Bazaar which was fantastic, what a shoppers paradise that place is. We were like kids in a candy shop. There was no stopping us, we shopped till we dropped, as only a woman can do! Other days in Cairo were filled with camel rides, those amazing Pyramids of Giza which just seem to pop out in the middle of suburbia, frocking up for a mosque, The Sphynx, Egyptian Museum – Royal Mummy Room & Tutankhamun Galleries, City of the Dead and more shopping, just for something different!
Oh and I almost forgot the Sheesha experience – How could I forget this very fashionable indulgence – a relaxing tradition which is about as authentically Egyptian as you can get! We managed to find ourselves a classy little Sheesha Bar in Downtown Cairo where a few of us tried the apple flavour – mmmm pure bliss!
From Cairo we went to Aswan in an overnight sleeper train which was a great experience, met the most cheerful steward who treated us all like ladies even got Barb up for a waltz!!
Fell in love with Aswan and could have stayed there for longer as it had so much to offer. Our hotel was perched right on the Nile and just across the road from the Sharia as-Souq, which was almost as good as Khan al-Khalili, but the stall holders seemed more desperate for a sale which put us off a bit. It was in Aswan we met Mohammad 3 (there are a LOT of Mohammad’s in Egypt!), the best guide we had on the whole of our trip. This guy really had it together, he was a credit to his country, friendly, always available and nothing was ever too much trouble. We became very good friends with Mohammad and learnt a lot about
him, his family, his values and the way of life in Egypt. He will always have a special place in our hearts – we became an extension of his family and were treated as such, we will never forget him!
Our first day in Aswan we were woken at 2:45am to join the convoy of vehicles being escorted across the desert to Abu Simbel, which lies near the Sudan boarder. Abu Simbel & Lake Nasser is something I wouldn’t miss. This temple is the grandest Ramsess II ever built – so self indulgent! While in Aswan we visited a Nubian Village, Elphantine & Kitchener Islands, had a felucca sail on the Nile – that was VERY relaxing and some of us took off to St Simeons Monastery, Tombs of the Nobles and the unfinished Obelisk, all of which were sensational. In fact one of my highlights was St Simeons Monastery. We accidentally went
wandering into the new Monastery (25 years old), which is inhabited by 5 monks, one of who kindly showed us through the grounds, garden and church, in return for nothing but a smile.
That afternoon we boarded our cruise ship to begin our journey down the Nile. The minute we stepped foot on board we felt like we were in heaven – five star all the way. The ship became our hotel for the next 4 nights and we stopped off at several sights including the amazing Temple of Horus, Kom Ombo and Temple of Philae. One evening on the boat we joined in a theme night/Galabea Party – what a blast that was. We had shopped for our costumes in the local souq (market) and we all came out looking like goddesses (well we
thought so anyway). I think we became the entertainment, as we took over the dance floor for most of the evening.
Luxor marked the end of our Nile Cruise, we bid farewell to our dear friend Mohammad and left the ship to continue with the rest of our journey. While not being as inviting as Aswan, there is so much history on offer here, including Luxor and Karnak Temples, The Valley of the Kings, Necropolis of Thebes, The Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and the great Colossi of Memnon. The Valley of the Kings was an awesome experience and walking down into some of those tombs was quite eerie, but at the same time fascinating – another sight that should not be missed.
On leaving Luxor, we drove across the Sahara Desert to Hurghada on the coast of the Red Sea. This journey took about 6 hours (with only one toilet stop!!), so we used the opportunity to catch up on a bit of shut eye, as our days in Hurghada were sure to be busy. They were indeed – we spent our time snorkelling off-shore in the red sea (another huge highlight), some went on a jeep safari, camel riding at sunset and visited the Bedouin people of the desert. Hurghada is very resorty, but well worth the visit if you can, as it
shows another side of Egypt which is just another experience. Seriously what can I say about the Red Sea – it is the best place I have ever snorkelled!!
As I’m writing this I can’t believe we fly home tomorrow morning!! After returning to Cairo we spent our last night together as a group out at a great restaurant called Felafel (recommended with a big thumbs up) and afterwards we just had to have our last crazy taxi ride, sheesha & mint tea. We’ve had such a great time that we have organised a get together in a couple of weeks time at an Egyptian restaurant, some time for reflection…aaaaah Egypt!!
You know I never thought that travelling with a group of women could be so rewarding – the laughter, tears, fun, friendships and unforgettable memories, all of which will last a lifetime. I am really looking forward to the next trip with my adventurous women.
Sue Hile is the owner of Adventurous Women, a specialist travel company exclusively for women. Adventurous Women are taking several trips this year and will be returning to Egypt in 2010, amongst other fabulous destinations!
Sue can be contacted on:
Telephone: (08) 9467 7304 or 042 305 7994