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Egypt

Curious what backpackers do in Egypt? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Some time last night we started our transition of the Suez Canal.
    I have actually done the trip many times before, but always north to south, this is the first time I have travelled south to north, not that there is any real difference in the journey.
    I must say though that it never ceases to amaze me how they managed to dig out the thing 150 odd years ago, and in only 10 years.

  • Luxor was our next stop on our Egyptian adventure. Although it took 10 hours by bus to reach the old capital from Cairo there were many things to see once we arrived since Luxor is claimed to hold 1/4 of the world's monuments.

    The Valley of the Kings was the main attraction which is the burial site of many of Egypt's kings. This site was chosen for its mountainous terrain which made it difficult for tomb raiders to access. The most famous pharaoh whose tomb was discovered in 1920 was King Tut. We ventured deep inside his underground tomb where he still lays mummified. It was a pretty amazing experience standing next to the body of King Tut and being in his tomb where they found him adorned with all his valuable possessions and lots of gold ornaments. Unfortunately pictures were not allowed!

    We also visited Hatchepsut Temple made for Egypt's first female pharaoh along with Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple. All of these places were equally impressive due to their massive size, carvings, and details that went into creating these temples that were made to honor the ruling King of Egypt at the time they were built since the Kings in Egypt were considered to be descendent of god.

    If it wasn't enough to see Luxor at eye level, we took a hot air balloon ride over this beautiful city to see it from up to!
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  • After an almost 24 hour journey, we made it to Egypt to take part in a 9 day tour of this ancient world! We knew we couldn't and probably shouldn't take on the task of navigating through this country like we had done in our past trip so a guided tour was the best option.

    We started in Cairo which is a very busy and dirty city but quickly found our way to the surrounding areas of Saqqara and Giza to see the great pyramids! At Saqqara we saw the first ever pyramid to be built as a burial site for one of Egypt's kings in 2,740 BC, almost 5,000 years ago!! Not only did we get to see this engineering marvel from outside but as well got a glimpse of the pyramids from the inside as well.

    If that wasn't enough our next stop was the most popular site of pyramids at Giza where the Egyptians perfected the pyramid shape taking 23 years to build using around 2.2 million bricks with weights ranging from 2 tons to 20 tons for the Great Pyramid alone! We got some magnificent views of one of the seven wonders in the world on our camel ride where we definitely popped out the selfie stick to capture the moment!

    Our last stop was to see the Spinx which was carved out of one rock and represented the depiction of the king in the eternal afterlife which impressed us as well.

    After the first day we knew we'd be in for a treat on this trip as we make stops across Egypt admiring and trying to wrap our minds around this ancient civilization that put thought, meaning and scale into everything they created!
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  • This was one of our more adventurous trips of the year - 2 nights on a traditional Egyptian sail boat. It was fairly primitive but a great experience!

    The boat had one flat and padded area for the 12 of us to sleep on "sardine style". The boat had 4 crew members, but no motor or bathroom. The cook had a small stove top, and somehow managed to make some of the best food of the entire Egypt trip on it.

    We really got to know the rest of our tour group much better after living together on the boat. There wasn't much to do other than relaxing and gaze into the sunny horizon, but the time passed quickly eating, drinking, swimming, playing games, and building a campfire on the shore where we docked for the night.

    Certainly a memorable experience on the Nile!
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  • We took an optional trip to Abu Simbel the site of King Ramesses II's temples. The bigger of the two temples was dedicated to himself and the second smaller temple was made for his wife Queen Nefertari, with 4 out of the 6 statues depicting himself instead of his wife. King Ramesses II ruled Egypt for 67 years and was probably the most influential, arrogant and self-centered ruler in Egyptian history.

    The site of Abu Simbel, close to the boarder of Sudan, was actually not the original site of the temples. The original temples which were carved into mountainous rock were threatened to be flooded due to a large dam being built and were physically moved to where they sit now in a valley which was excavated to relocate the temples in 1968. This was the most impressive part as its hard to imagine with the scale and massive size of the temples how they were originally built in the 13th century BC and then moved with most of its original architecture intact.
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  • At last we're back in Cairo after exploring the East and West Banks of the Nile River where we also rang in 2017! We saw a lot of amazing history dating back to one of the first civilizations on this planet and witnessed the magnificent temples, pyramids and tombs first hand. Unfortunately modern day Egypt didn't keep up with the progress made by the ancient people. Cairo now the capital of the country is actually pretty dirty and congested. There are many abandoned buildings, half built apartments that would have their ancient relatives rolling in their tombs, piles of trash on every street, and 9.1 million people struggling to make a decent living off of the hurting tourism industry.

    Looking past all that, while in Cairo we visited the Egyptian Museum which houses thousands and thousands of artifacts that gave us an even deeper looking into this civilization. We got to explore the mummy exhibit where we stood in front of many of Egypt's past Kings and Queens. Many still had their hair, teeth, and nails! It was a cool experience that left you feeling a bit chilly! In the museum we also visited the King Tut exhibit that holds many of the gold treasures found in his tomb. The most impressive was the solid gold face mask that covered the King which is the most iconic image of ancient Egypt. It is said that if tomb raiders hadn't robbed the tombs of many kings over the years, then Egypt would have been the wealthiest nation in the world today!

    Lastly, attached are a few pictures of various temples we visited along the way that we haven't posted about yet, at Edfu and Philae Temple. Overall, Egypt was a great experience and we're glad we could visit before there is even more uncertainty in this region of the world! We'd recommend it if you have an open mind about safety concerns and take a well known organized tour!
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  • Last night, Peter Dimitrov the hotel director, invited the four of us, along with two other couples for a meal in Chops Grill.
    And as is usually the case with Peter we had a wonderful meal with superb company.
    Peter tends to invite people he likes to dinner and not just people who are pinnacle members, who, even though I am one of them myself now, do tend to expect to be invited to meals with senior officers.
    Anyway the meal and company were brilliant.
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  • A year ago, men attacked several tourists in a hotel in Hurghada with a knife. It was not the hotel I had checked in, but since the incident, the government has increased the security precautions so as not to lose more tourists. "All nonsense of the media in the West. Every little thing is exaggerated to an assassination. A man had only paid no wages and wanted to take revenge on the manager, "my taxi driver said. The ISIS later claimed the attack. That remains unmentioned. What is truth, what is not? It is clear that since the Arab spring, since the attacks and the unexplained aircraft crash, Egypt has been suffering from the lack of tourists. On 25 January was the sixth anniversary of the revolution. Hurghada and all of Egypt is full of military checkpoints. However, some do exist since 20 years. Alone on the way to Luxor we passed more than 20 checkpoints. Partially, tourist buses are accompanied with military convoys to prevent raids. Many hotels in Hurghada lack bookings, but each has a security man as well as an airport scanner for man or bag in front of the hotel. Depending on the hotel the guards are equipped with old, out-of-service-like AK-47 or pistol. Some take their job seriously, others less. From my point of view, it is not helpful to ward off new attacks, but to give the remaining tourists a feeling of security.

    Everywhere in the city are remnants from the times of the boom. Half-finished houses and hotel ruins line the streets. Now the waste of the street is gathering in them. It makes me sad, but only as long as the next street hawker comes running to me to lure me into his shop. Rarely, I was so aggressively appealed to in Asia or India to buy something or being so brazenly lied to. They fight for survival. I was happy to be with Juuso, a friend from Finland and my dive partner in Bali. Where necessary, we were a couple.

    The Red Sea as well as Egypt was a white spot on my map. The ancient sites on the Nile had already fascinated me in my childhood. Anubis, Osiris, Horus, Pharaohs and Cleopatra sounded very good in children's ears and always a good bedtime story. So we decided not only to go diving, but also to do a little sightseeing. The Pyramids and the Egyptian Museum in Cairo and the Luxor temples were on our list. It was impressive and not either. Without a good guide or good prior research, a positive experience is hardly possible. The Egyptian Museum was the most disappointing in this regard. It was stuffed with artifacts. Our guide tried to pick out of the variety of the exhibits the most important ones. The museum follows a chronology, but lacked otherwise a good concept of display. It remains to be hoped that the new building will pay tribute to the country's history and to return Egyptian artefacts from the international museum back to Egypt.

    For divers, the Red Sea is a dream. The prices are cheap and the food at boat trips indescribably delicious. As a special dive we visited two wrecks (Ghiannis D. and Carnatic). I even had an underwater camera. Every diver knows what happens when you move too much. Already after 20 minutes I had no air in my tank and the guide took me on a leash. Wreck diving at this point is really exciting if you push yourself through the narrow aisles. We have both survived and there are some good memories.

    Egypt tied me, but here and there also disappointed me. How will Egypt develop in the coming years? People try to live a normal life. They stroll along the water with the family, smoke water pipes or watch football. Many, however, just try to kill time. In Cairo even more than in Hurghada. But I want to visit Cairo again anyway. Too short was our time there, as our visit was arbitrarily shortened by our tour organizer and the driver drove us back to Hurghada unintentionally and unasked. But this has been enough to get a feeling for the city. It was both attractive and repulsive at the same time. It looks like a ruin, it is dilapidated and brittle, dirty and clogged. Since 2015, a new capital has been built just 45km to the east. If this will solve the problems of the old city, I dare to doubt. Cairo is a melting pot that is about to overflow. A reason more, for a visit soon!

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    Vor einem Jahr attackierten Männer mehrere Touristen in einem Hotel in Hurghada mit einem Messer. Es war nicht das Hotel, in dem ich eingecheckt hatte, aber seitdem Vorfall erhöhte die Regierung die Sicherheitsvorkehrungen, um nicht noch mehr Touristen zu verlieren. „Alles Quatsch was die Medien im Westen berichten. Da wird jede Kleinigkeit gleich zu einem Attentat aufgebauscht. Ein Mann hatte nur keinen Lohn gezahlt bekommen und wollte sich beim Manager rächen“, so mein Taxifahrer. Das ISIS sich später dazu bekannte, bleibt unerwähnt. Was ist nun Wahrheit, was nicht? Klar ist, dass Ägypten seit dem arabischen Frühling, seit den Attacken und dem ungeklärten Flugzeugabsturz unter dem Touristenschwund leidet. Am 25. Januar war der sechste Jahrestag der Revolution. Hurghada und ganz Ägypten ist voller Militärcheckpoints. Einige existieren allerdings seit 20 Jahren. Allein auf dem Weg nach Luxor fuhren wir an über 20 Kontrollposten vorbei. Teilweise werden Touristenbusse mit Militär begleitet, um Überfälle zu verhindern. Viele Hotels in Hurghada sind unterbelegt, aber jedes hat einen Sicherheitsmann sowie einen Flughafen-Scannern für Mensch oder Tasche vor dem Hotel stehen. Je nach Hotel ist das Wachpersonal mit alten, ausmusterungswürdigen AK-47 oder Pistole ausgerüstet. Einige nehmen ihren Job ernst, andere weniger. Aus meiner Sicht nicht hilfreich, um neue Attacken abzuwehren, aber um den verbleibenden Touristen ein Gefühl der Sicherheit vorzugaukeln.

    Überall in der Stadt sind Überreste aus Zeiten des Booms zu sehen. Halb fertiggestellte Häuser- und Hotelruinen säumen die Straßen. Jetzt sammelt sich in ihnen der Abfall der Straße. Es macht kurzzeitig betrübt, aber nur solange bis der nächste Straßenhändler auf mich zu gerannt kommt, um mich in seinen Shop zu locken und zu einem Kauf zu animieren. Selten wurde ich in Asien oder Indien so aggressiv zum Kauf angesprochen oder so unverhohlen angelogen. Hier wird ums Überleben gekämpft. Ich war froh, mit Juuso, einem Freund aus Finnland und mein Tauchpartner in Bali, unterwegs zu sein. Wo immer nötig, waren wir ein Paar.

    Das Rote Meer sowie Ägypten war ein weißer Fleck auf meiner Karte. Die antiken Stätten am Nil hatten mich schon in meiner Kindheit fasziniert. Anubis, Osiris, Horus, Pharaonen und Cleopatra waren in Kinderohren sehr wohlklingend und faszinierende Gute-Nachtgeschichten. So beschlossen wir, nicht nur Tauchen zu gehen, sondern auch ein wenig Sightseeing zu machen. Die Pyramiden und das Ägyptische Museum in Cairo und die Tempel in Luxor standen auf unserer Liste. Es war beeindruckend und auch nicht. Ohne guten Guide oder guter vorheriger Recherche ist eine positive Erfahrung kaum möglich. Das Ägyptische Museum enttäuschte mich in dieser Hinsicht am meisten. Es war vollgestellt mit Artefakten. Unser Guide gab sich Mühe aus der Vielzahl der Ausstellungsstücke die Wichtigsten zu wählen. Das Museum verfolgt eine Chronologie, aber ist ansonsten relativ konzeptlos. Bleibt zu hoffen, dass der Neubau die Geschichte des Landes besser würdigt und ägyptische Artefakte aus internationalen Museum zurück nach Ägypten finden.

    Für Taucher ist das Rote Meer ein Traum. Die Preise sind günstig wie lange nicht mehr und das Essen bei Bootstouren unbeschreiblich lecker. Als besonderen Tauchgang haben wir zwei Wracks (Ghiannis D. und Carnatic) besucht. Ich hatte sogar einer Unterwasserkamera dabei. Jeder Taucher weiß, was passiert, wenn man sich zu viel bewegt. Bereits nach 20 Minuten hatte ich keine Luft mehr in meinem Tank und der Guide hat mich an die Leine genommen. Da wird Wracktauchen nochmal richtig spannend, wenn man sich zu zweit durch die engen Gänge drängt. Wir haben beide überlebt und ein paar gute Erinnerungen gibt es auch.

    Ägypten hat mich gefesselt, aber hier und da auch enttäuscht. Wie wird sich Ägypten in den nächsten Jahren entwickeln? Die Menschen versuchen ein normales Leben zu führen. Sie flanieren am Wasser mit der Familie, rauchen Wasserpfeife oder schauen Fußball. Viele jedoch schlagen lediglich Zeit tot. In Cairo noch mehr als in Hurghada. Doch Cairo möchte ich trotzdem nochmal besuchen. Zu kurz war unsere Zeit dort, da unser Aufenthalt willkürlich durch unseren Reiseveranstalter abgebrochen und verkürzt wurde und wir ungewollt und ungefragt zurück nach Hurghada gefahren wurden. Dies hat aber doch gereicht, um ein Gefühl für die Stadt zu bekommen. Sie war anziehend und abstoßend zugleich. Sie wirkt wie eine Ruine, sie ist baufällig und brüchig, schmutzig und verstopft. Seit 2015 wird nur 45km östlich eine neue Hauptstadt erbaut. Ob dies die Probleme der alten Stadt lösen wird, wage ich zu bezweifeln. Cairo ist ein Schmelztiegel, der kurz davor ist, überzulaufen. Ein Grund mehr, für einen baldigen Besuch!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

Arab Republic of Egypt, Ägypten, Egypt, Egipte, Nisrim, ግብጽ, Echipto, جمهورية مصر العربية, ܡܨܪܝܢ, Exiptu, Misir, Егіпет, Египет, Eziputi, মিশর, ཨི་ཇིབྚ།, Egipt, Egipat, Єгѷптъ, Yr Aifft, Egypten, ཨི་ཇིཔཊ, Egypte nutome, Αίγυπτος, Egipto, Egiptus, مصر, Ejipt, Egypti, Ijipta, Egyptaland, Égypte, Èg·ipte, Egypte, An Éigipt, An Èipheit, Exipto, ઇજિપ્ત, Yn Egypt, Masar, Misira, מצרים, मिस्त्र, Egyptowska, Ejip, Egyiptom, Եգիպտոս, Egypto, Mesir, Ehípto, Egiptia, Egitto, エジプト・アラブ共和国, ეგვიპტე, Misri, អេហ្ស៉ីប, ಈಜಿಪ್ಟ್, 이집트, میسر, Ejyp, Aegyptus, Misiri, Ezípite, ອີຢິບ, Egiptas, Mushidi, Ēģipte, Ejypta, ഈജിപ്ത്, इजिप्त, Eġittu, အီဂျစ်, Idjipt, Naggitto, इजिप्ट, Êgypte, Jegiptu, ଇଜିପ୍ଟ, Мысыр, Ejiptu, Egito, Egipta, Eggittu, Egypta, Kâmitâ, ඊජිප්තුව, Aikupito, Egjipt, Египат, எகிப்து, ఈజిప్ట్, Миср, อียิปต์, Ehipto, ʻIsipite, Mısır, مىسىر, Єгипет, Ai Cập, Lägüptän, עגיפטן, Orílẹ́ède Égípítì, 埃及, i-Egypt