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Posted by Cayla Capri
Egypt A Love Predating Time
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Acquaint yourself with the sand-tastic wonder of Cairo for a trip back in time that exudes marvelous antiquity. Serene nightspots and lively bazaars await you, while Sharm el-Sheikh offers a splash of mountainous horizon, a dash of Na’ama Beach palms, and the glaze of Sharm El Maya Bay - a picture-perfect backdrop for lazing away in sheesha cafes and dallying in soothing sulphur springs. Whatever route you choose, it’s sure to be one of pyramidic proportions!
the romance
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Savor the mystique of an evening out that only unrivalled Cairo can conjure. Get dolled up for a one-on-one dalliance with culture inside the walls of the Cairo Opera House, a glam structure teeming with tales of captured princesses and moonlit glades. If scenes of star-crossed lovers are too sobering, rekindle the mood by heading over to the open-air theatre and treat yourselves to a fun, folksy array of Arabic dance and song.
Surrender to the ‘The City of Peace,’ or Sharm el-Sheikh, a cosmopolitan community of resort-ful delights. Once a fishing village, Sharm el-Sheikh now flaunts its wares of uber-chic amenities, casinos and clubs. For something a bit more back-to-the-land, let the steadfast grace of a Dromedary camel deliver you into the Sinai desert, where you can dine by the crackling fire of a Bedouin campsite, drinking in the minty warmth of habak tea and nomadic company.
the scenery
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Egypt exudes an ever-evolving landscape embedded with a glittering history of ancient civilizations and modern innovations. Enjoy oleander-anointed air as you experience city center elegancy or embark on a desert safari awash with chalk cliffs and cream colored sand. Climb to the top of the Middle East’s most sacred peak, Mount Sinai. If you time it right, the heart-stopping view of sunrise will assuage any grumpy muscles from the three-hour hike.
the adventure
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Depart Cairo and head for Egypt’s largest seaport and second largest city, Alexandria, proudly settled on Mediterranean coast. Founded by Alexander the Great in 334 BC, this city was home to the likes of such drama kings and queens as Julius Caesar and Cleopatra. Unearth some of Alexandria’s key historical sights, such as the catacombs of Kom-el-Shuqqafa and the Attarine Mosque.
For couples who like to sit pretty but not for that long, an organized cruise down the river Nile, led by a team of expert Egyptologists, is ideal. Packed to the rafters with world wonders and archaic awesomeness, the cruise includes such potent pit-stops as the infamous Sphinx, the Great Pyramids, and the Palace of Giza. Venture into the tombs of the Valley of the Kings, once outfitted in treasure bound for the afterlife. Get a good dose of girl power by paying tribute to the Temple of the Queen Hatshepsut, one of the longest reigning female pharaohs of Ancient Egypt.
the secrets
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Slip away to the south of Giza where the sites of Saqqara and Dahshur thrive under the radar. Nothing says impressive like a snapshot of a third dynasty step pyramid. Fact alert! Dahshur’s Red Pyramid is the world’s first smooth-sided pyramid. So remember to sunscreen it up while doing your viewing in order to maintain super smooth skin for anniversaries to come.
Coptic Cairo, located in Old Cairo, was first inhabited over 2000 years ago, so kick back and get ready to get historic. Let a little cobbled street lead you past some of Cairo’s oldest structures such as the Hanging Church, the Ben Ezra synagogue, and the Babylon Fortress. Pour over an illuminated manuscript inside the Coptic Museum where you’re sure to go ga-ga over its ethnically eclectic artwork. Peacocks, and griffins, and saints, oh my!
the attractions
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Sharm el-Sheikh is home to some of the most sought after diving destinations on the planet, Thistlegorm being one – making the list for top ten dives in the world. A British merchant navy ship sunk during World War II, now rests at the bottom of the brilliant Red Sea waters, along with its quirky cargo of motorcycles, rifles, and boots. Dive at twilight and witness underwater nightlife around an immersed barge at Bluff Point. Patrons include lionfish, octopus, and moray eels. Needless to say, there’s no dress code!
One of the most popular attractions for the city’s newcomers is the Egyptian Museum, an upstanding institution chock full of relics. Allow yourself plenty of time to scope out an extensive collection that will surely satisfy your inner Material Girl. Displays include Egyptian bling encrusted with gold and glass, silver and lapis lazuli, while the emeralds are said to have been Cleopatra’s gem of choice. Other noteworthy artifacts include papyrus scrolls, sculptures, and perfumes, as well as deliciously creepy, mummified remains of some of history’s most legendary pharaohs.
Khan Al-Khalili is one of the world’s oldest bazaars, and is a favorite tourist hotspot for souvenirs (hieroglyphics included!) Or travel to Aswan, where you can get a gander at one Egypt’s most visited archaeological sites, Abu Simbel, as well as the Great Temple belonging to Ramesses II. Of course taking in the smaller temple dedicated to Hathor, goddess of love, music, and beauty, is a no brainer.
before you go
What to Expect
Spring: March to May are warm months (around 26°C/80°F), but it can get pretty crowded
Summer: June to August are very hot and humid (they can reach 45°C/115°F), so these months are not recommended, unless you’re searching for the best deals.
Fall: September through November are pleasant months, with temperatures averaging 20°C/68°F
Winter: From November to February the temperature is mild (around 13°C/55°F). This is peak season
Dress conservatively – the less skin you show, the more you will fit in with the locals; in resort areas feel free to loosen it up. Wear light colors, as it can get very hot.
The Egyptian pound
The Lingo
A valid passport and a tourist visa (obtainable at the airport)
Local Delicacies
Ful Medames: A dish of slow-cooked mashed fava beans with parsley, onion and lemon juice
Koshary: A dish of macaroni, lentils, chickpeas, rice and tomato sauce