Discovering the Hidden Treasures of Egypt: A Fascinating Adventure

Discovering the Hidden Treasures of Egypt: A Fascinating Adventure by @SRobbinsAuthor #Egypt #travel #wellness

Visiting Egypt – A Must!

C’mon, admit it! Who hasn’t dreamed of visiting Egypt?

Cruising down the Nile and walking the land of the Pharaohs, coming face to face with the Sphinx, climbing up to the top of the Great Pyramids of Giza, walking into the depths of the catacombs, roaming Luxor to view the Valley of the Kings, and standing atop the Aswan Dam looking over Lake Nasser?

We can tell you that the pictures, the stories, and the legions of books written about the cradle of civilization, don’t come close to doing it justice. The sheer volume of monuments dating back nearly five thousand years and the incredible details that still remain boggle the imagination even as one stands and looks directly at them. It doesn’t require a degree in history or ancient mythology to appreciate the enormity of what these ancients were able to achieve.

Discovering the Hidden Treasures of Egypt: A Fascinating Adventure by @SRobbinsAuthor #Egypt #travel #wellness

Like many people today we were torn when we first considered our trip. This was the dream of a lifetime but was it reasonable?

Would we be viewed as outsiders, infidels?  Would we be safe in this strange and mystical place? The reality was far different from anything that could be imagined.

Egypt’s Evolution – Old Vs. New

Egypt has evolved into a hustling, crazy, schizophrenic amalgam of the old and the new.  Its people long for acceptance in the modern world, clearly stating their thirst for a democratic state while treasuring their history, their culture, and their diverse society.

Even our travel agent cautioned us to be modest in our dress; for Lynn to wear a head scarf, long sleeves, and no shorts. As it turned out, if we stood out as tourists at all, it was because we were the ones who were unusually modest! It’s certainly true that many Middle Eastern states tightly control public behavior and disdain non-Muslims, but the Egypt of today embraces its diversity; it has a history that includes early (Coptic) Christianity, Catholicism, and even a small number of Jews.

As in many developing nations, there is a high rate of poverty and the need for infrastructure was immediately obvious; the roads are clogged with traffic that seems to move as a single, unbroken mass. Egyptians ignore lane markings, and every two-lane street has three cars across, bumper to bumper; every three-lane highway squeezes into five lanes as cars travel forward with less than six inches between them.

It makes New York City traffic look like a rural area.

There are a host of decaying buildings in the cities as they try to recover from a very difficult period in their modern history.

Egypt History

Until the 1950s, today’s Egypt was ruled by a King. That changed when Gammel Abdul Nasser became the “President,” albeit he was more akin to a dictator. When Nasser died, Anwar Sadat took his place with a vision of bringing peace to the region in the treaty with Israel. That bold move cost him his life as he was assassinated for his vision.

Hosni Mubarak then took his place and ruled until 2011 when the “Arab Spring” inspired Egyptians to congregate in Tahir Square and demand a democratic government. Unfortunately, the Country had little experience and fewer qualified leaders, and Morsi, a member of the Islamic Brotherhood, was elected President. The Brotherhood is closely aligned with Islamic fundamentalist groups in the region, and Morsi wanted to establish an Islamic state like we are seeing with ISIS.

Within two years, there was another popular revolt as most Egyptians seek a more peaceful, diverse, and democratic Islamic state. The current President, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, is an extremely popular figure with the people enjoying roughly 75% support throughout the country.

So, what does all this mean to Americans wishing to visit this ancient/modern place? We found Egyptians to be much more welcoming and warmer than almost any other country we’ve visited. Everywhere we went, we found a desire to have closer ties to the U.S., and everyone encouraged us to tell our friends how much they want visitors, from the shopkeepers to waiters, tour guides, drivers, and the people on the streets.

Egypt Travel Tips

Here are a few tips if you go:

  • Get a guide. I highly advise hiring a personal travel guide (an Egyptologist) who stays with you for the trip. The difference in cost between a personal Egyptologist and being part of a group tour is negligible, and the difference in what you can learn, see, and do is huge.
  • The Egyptian economy is struggling. Bad news for them, but great news for us. American dollars are highly prized, and because of the exchange rate, there is no better time to go than now. Everything is so cheap even I was encouraged to tip generously!
  • It’s hot! Take clothes that are designed for travel and can be washed and dried easily.
  • Security is everywhere. It didn’t take us long to realize that we could roam Cairo’s markets around Tahir Square safely on our own; the only fear in doing so is getting hopelessly lost in the maze of streets and alleys. Many people speak English and are happy to help with directions, however.
  • Don’t try to rush the trip. There are so many things to see that it is hard to comprehend. The antiquities are in amazingly great shape due to the dry, hot climate. Huge temples and monuments abound, all with hieroglyphics that cover every inch of visible surface.
  • A great camera is a “must.” I only wish I had a “Go Pro” to take video, as still photos could never capture the breadth.
  • Some of the monuments require a bit of “exercise.” Climbing into the Great Pyramid of Giza and walking up to the top room where the Pharaoh’s body was entombed is a once-in-a-lifetime requirement, yet strenuous. Prepare accordingly.

The best tip we can offer is simple; GO. GO NOW. There will never be another Egypt.


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