Thursday, February 21, 2013

Back from the Sahara

Last weekend we hopped a plane for a short, two and a half hour flight ... to Egypt!  We booked this fully-refundable trip quite a while back, when things were pretty quiet in Egypt.  Of course things heated back up with the two year anniversary of the revolution in January, so we weren't sure if we should go or just take a weekend drive to Austria.  All the schools are out and most people are away on ski break (coming from Texas, I'll never wrap my head around this one).  We were packing for Austria and Claudia had even taken ski lessons, but, when it came down to it, we were sick of the snow and had gotten many assurances that things in Giza were nice and calm.  

So, to Egypt we went!  And we were so thankful we did.  I don't think I've ever been so awe struck as when I laid eyes on the pyramids.  I kept saying "it's a pyramid!  It's a pyramid!"  We had been reading the story of Moses leading up to the trip, so Claudia was pretty thrilled to sail down the Nile (though, we did not ride in a reed basket as she suggested).  Before going, we understood that Egypt is dependent on tourism and that this period has been tough on the industry.  Still, I was overwhelmed and heart warmed by the excitement, extra attention and care from everyone we encountered.   Here's some pics we snapped from the trip.
camel riding in the Sahara
Giza pyramid complex  (the road cutting through the pyramids is the tour bus route... took a bit of time to get a shot without one of those shiny yellow buses in the picture).
This came as a surprise... the Sphinx is not that big.  And poor guy is missing his nose! 
Daddyboy and Paddyboy and the Great Pyramid
These kind camels were slow, steady and sweet. Claudia and I rode "Abdul."  Russell and Paddy rode "Mickey."
This solar boat behind us was found buried in a chamber next to the Great Pyramid.  It was a symbolic boat intended to float the Pharoah to his afterlife.  And it's 5,000 years old!
Smiley Abdul
Paddy at the pyramids.  He was largely focused on prying pacifiers out of my hand and pockets for most of the excursion.  
The Nile was full of rowers and feluccas, traditional Egyptian sailing boats.
We took a felucca boat ride on the Nile too.   We didn't have much wind though, so it was more floating than sailing.   Still lots of fun, though.
Egyptians used these boats to sail up and down the Nile to get from the Upper Kingdom to the Lower Kingdom.  If the water was high, they could make it from upper to lower Egypt in about two weeks.  That is assuming the boat did not get tipped by a hippo or crocodile.
Luckily, we did not have a problem with hippos or crocodiles.  Big smiles for that.

Patrick was such a smiley guy the whole trip...
...and was most happy when he was with Daddy (his most favorite person ever).
Oh, fun times with Daddy.  Paddy was just a wailing and I'm pretty sure he was saying "Let me up, let me up there!!"
I'll admit it.  Daddy is the fun one.
We girls had some fun times too.   The weather was sunny and warm so we went swimming and, per Claudia's request, we drank "fancy juices with straws!  (fancy juice = OJ + pineapple juice + strawberries).
Claudia confided that she missed doing things with just me a few weeks back, so we are doing special "girls only" things every week, as we can.  I need to pick up the ingredients for some "special juice."  I think it would go well with popcorn and Wall E tonight.   
And that is our Egypt trip.   In the end, we are so thankful we went.  If you are in close proximity to Egypt (or even not), don't count it out as your travel destination!

Our hotel was absolutely perfect. The amazing concierge arranged all our outings, transportation, guides and even arranged for picnic lunches in the car for when we went out.  They met us the moment we stepped off the plane (literally carried Claudia and my bag off the plane), picked up our luggage, handled our passport and visa clearance. For C, they had a cupcake decoration bar  waiting in the room when we arrived.  For Patrick, they had diapers, wipes, baby cream, wash, powder and baby toys all lined up.  They could not have made it any easier or stress free.  In short, this is still a country dependent on tourism and they want their tourists back.  We were happy to oblige and happy for the amazing memories Egypt!

If you are even thinking of going, I can give you more travel details ... and also where to get some amazing Egyptian cotton sheets.  =)  


20 comments:

  1. Wow! I had no idea you guys were going - looks amazing! Would love the info!

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  2. AMAZING! i'm just going to live vicariously through you! what a fun jouney y'all are on!!

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  3. What an amazing trip! I am green with envy! So awesome!

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  4. That sounds amazing! I love that she requested a reed basket. That is so sweet.

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  5. oh this looks like such fun! that photo of Claudia holding the sunblock(?) is just too much! she's such a beauty. and how fantastic to have a photo of your sweet family riding camels?! i'm sure you'll cherish those memories.

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  6. Wow! What a memorable and exciting trip that must have been! The photos you took of the pyramids, the Nile, and of course your family, are stunning! Thanks for sharing!

    Cheers,
    Kristina

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  7. Incredible. Wow. Amazing. I'm jealous!! What great memories ;)

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  8. Wow! What an amazing trip! I will never look at the Sphinx the same way again. I always thought that thing was HUGE like the pyramids.

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  9. Your trip looks incredible! It would be so great to see the pyramids up close.

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  10. Wow! Looks like such an amazing adventure! Riding a camel (I love their smug smiles) and seeing the pyramids are totally on my bucket list! And I must ask, where does your daughter get her amazing curls?! They're just to die for!

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  11. amazing photos! my cousin and her family live in egypt...I'm glad it was a good experience! I

    know what you mean about not wanting to be around more snow. a warm vacation would be wonderful!

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  12. what! a weekend trip to egypt?! it looks and sounds AMAZING. that is definitely on our bucket list :)

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  13. I was jealous of all the European travel before, but now this? I'm pretty sure I hate you. I think Egypt is my #1 travel destination dream. Josh won't even consider it and I'm pretty sure the USMC wouldn't be crazy about it either... Looks like an awesome trip. Love C's shades/bandana combo. Your kids are beautiful. :)

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  14. Speechless...and I totally missed this post! Even Jason is sitting here totally envious of your travels! So cool!

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  15. How fun! Looks like you guys had a great time! Love all the pics of CC and Paddy also! :)

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  16. Oh, this sounds like an amazing trip! I'd love to visit Egypt one day. The furthest I've ever gotten in that direction is Tunisia, which, let's face it, isn't that close ;)
    I'm always so inspired by other parents who choose travel destinations that are somewhat off the beaten path, that others would consider "no-go zones". In my experience you just go, and roll with it, and it's all much easier than you think! Plus, what an amazing experience for your kids.
    And talk about concierge service. Amazing.

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  17. Great pics..... looks like we are living parallel lives.... we were in Egypt too; riding camels..... you and I even have the same idea of appropriate camel attire! :) Glad you had a great time.

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  18. This trip looks ah-mazing! I've wanted to go to Egypt ever since I studied Ancient History at highschool. This has rekindled my desire to go, did you feel safe? Just looks so incredible. Looks like you guys had a great time! Belinda x

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