By Ever since I was young, I had always dreamt of going to Egypt as I was fascinated by ancient history and the world of the pharaohs. I had gotten off the plane and had arrived at Luxor International Airport and was greeted by the representative and got a taxi to the hotel called the Steigenberger Nile Palace. The hotel was situated near the classic River Nile and offered a luxurious ambience with a mixture of modern-day Egypt and ancient Egypt. At that very moment, I felt at ease and was very excited to begin my adventure.
My first few days in Egypt involved getting settled and discovering the attractions of Luxor where I visited the Valley of the Kings. This was where I explored the antiquities of ancient Egypt, including the tombs of the great pharaohs surrounded by ancient hieroglyphs on the white, limestone walls.
I visited the ancient wonders by taxi and can honestly say that the traffic congestion was horrendous, especially in Cairo. The driving was absolutely crazy which I would describe as ‘‘wacky races’’ and other cars and buses would zip along at breakneck speed. Nevertheless, it was an interesting part of the experience and I had arrived at the attractions early every day!
I stayed for a few days in Cairo and explored the pyramids of Giza and felt as though I was taken back in time. One of my favourite moments was riding a camel late in the evening as the temperature during the day was scorching hot. During the camel ride, there were opportunities to capture photos of these wonderful moments, accompanied by enchanting views of the pyramids and a glowing sunset. Afterwards, I even witnessed a camel drinking a bottle of coke as a party trick for the locals and tourists!
Another one of my treasured moments was visiting the Khan El-Khalili bazaar- a market full of vibrance with colourful lanterns, dazzling jewellery and authentic souvenirs, located in the heart of Cairo. Here, I was greeted by friendly locals and was offered Egyptian mint tea for free! It was sweet but very refreshing!
Back at the hotel in Luxor, there was entertainment for all the tourists. One of the most striking performances was the whirling dervish which you would not want to miss! The whirling dervish originated in Konya, which today is known as modern-day Turkey. This has become one of the most popular performances in Egypt and is more colourful compared to the traditional Sufi dervish, found in Turkey. The performer ‘’turns’’ or whirls ceaselessly while manipulating vibrant and kaleidoscopic skirts, reaching that shining pinnacle of perfection. Then, surprisingly, the performer wanted volunteers to take part as a whirling dervish and I was one of the few that were chosen. Obviously being nervous but excited at the same time, I put on the skirt and started spinning around. Of course, I was all over the place, but it was very enjoyable, and I think the audience loved it too. I’d encourage anyone to give it a try!
By Tyler Leck, Travel Editor