Contiki Egypt & the Nile: Day 1
Hello from beautiful Cairo, Egypt!
I left JFK yesterday afternoon on a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt, had a 4 hour layover & another 4 hour flight from Frankfurt to Cairo. I actually slept for the majority of my flight to Cairo, so I’m more rested than I thought I would be.
After our plane landed in Cairo at about 2:15 PM, I made my way to passport control where I was met by a Contiki representative who helped us obtain our visa on arrival for $25 USD before going through passport control, getting our bags, clearing customs and showing us our complimentary transfer to the hotel.
During the transfer, we passed through the streets and highways of Cairo. The city is sprawling with huge, tan, high rise apartment buildings in every direction. The infrastructure was pretty good, too – the government used to dedicate most of the money it brought in for armed conflicts, but now it is for the betterment of the society.
In order to get into our hotel parking lot, our van was inspected. Once we got out of our van, we went through medical detectors. I’ve never had to do that before, but I feel safe!
After arriving at the hotel, I explored the grounds a bit. It has a beautiful pool, a bunch of cabanas & even a hoard of flamingo pets! I then ran across the street to get a SIM card for my iPhone. I got 3GB for the week for 260 Egyptian Pounds or $15 USD!
Our tour guide’s name is Sherif & he brought us through the jam packed itinerary for our week which includes highlights like The Great Pyramids, the Sphinx, Luxor, Abu Simbel and a 3 day cruise down the Nile! He said they used to have weekly Contiki tours of 40 people, but due to less demand it’s now monthly and our group is just 24 people.
After our meeting, we grabbed dinner at the hotel. I had baba ghanoush, hummus & spring rolls. We even had the opportunity to watch an Egyptian wedding party walk past us.
I am beyond excited about this trip. Not only will it be the fifth continent I’ve been on and Egypt is my 45th country, I have always dreamed of going to Egypt. I was fascinated by Ancient Egyptian civilization when I took a Global History class in high school & now I am going to see the Great Pyramids first hand, visit the Sphinx and ride down the very Nile River that was the lifeblood for the ancient civilization.
We have our introductory meeting with the rest of the group this evening – when that is done, the adventure can truly begin!