5 Things to Learn When Traveling to Egypt
Written by Johnny Mayo
Traveling to Egypt was a dream come true for my family and I. It was the summer of 2016. Our original plan was to travel to Athens, Greece and spend our whole two weeks of vacation exploring the ruins and eating gyros. Being tasked with finding airline tickets, after finding great prices to Greece, I decided to look into tickets leaving Greece to Egypt. Egypt was always a fascination to me. Just the thought of standing on the continent that is consider to be the cradle of humankind is important to me. The tickets were reasonable so we decided to book them. This would turnout to be the best decision of our life. Egypt isn’t just a tourist destination. It’s an experience that will change your life spiritually, emotionally, intellectually. So without further hesitation, 5 things you will learn traveling to Egypt.
History is always going to be number one on my list for any travel destinations. Egypt provides a huge amount of history to learn about that goes beyond the pyramids. We decided to book a resort room overlooking the Giza Pyramids. As we went for a afternoon swim, we could look up in the distance at the pyramids just staring back down at us. There is something special about the feeling you get being in the same location as one of the greatest marvels in the world. Yes climbing them was spectacular, but the view from a distance was breathtaking. They are truly larger than the pictures portray them.
Going to other museums and seeing Egyptian artifacts on display is not comparable to going to the source of where they came from. Egyptians know this and that’s why they are very strict when it comes to visitors inside their museums taking pictures and handling items. Understanding the history of how those items were stolen by other nations does help you to sympathize with where they are coming from. That aside, there is nothing like seeing a mummified body inside the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. Being amazed with what was there got me in trouble when being caught taking pictures in restricted area. Don’t worry nothing serious happened.
Traditional Egyptian Food is a joy. Falafels are like the gyros of Greece. You can eat one no matter what time of day. For lunch we enjoyed having a falafel with potatoes or chickpeas and some hummus on the side. Dinner is similar to a feast for kings. Plates of grilled fresh vegetables and meat such as lamb and beef. Dinner was my favorite meal because after all the hours of exploring you are so hungry, a recovery meal is all that your wanting. Also a beer helps too. Though that was a little harder to come by off the resort due to Ramadan.
Our travels were around the Ramadan month. Ramadan is considered the 9th month of Islamic Calendar where Allah (God) first began to reveal passages of the holy Koran to the profit Mohammad. During this time Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, and sexual activities between sunrise and sunset every day. There are about 89 percent of Muslims in Egypt. Our tour guide, Sahed, explained this to us in detail. He was highly exhausted after our long walks through the markets. That is one of the many things Egypt will teach you about Religion.
The Cairo area is filled with lively markets. With anything from oils to Egyptian cotton being sold. Walking through the markets searching for antiques or deals will take up most of your day if your not careful. The markets are definitely an enjoyable experience. We got a chance to visit two of the top markets, the Khan el-Khalili Bazaar and Street of the Tentmakers, where we purchased oils and some scarfs among other things. The oils have a fragrance that is so delightful that you will want to walk out the house with it on everyday.
Lastly, the people of Cairo are deeply spiritual by nature. Every word they speak has a meaning behind it. They go out of the way to explain things about their culture because of the love of sharing who they are with the world. Traveling around Cairo, most of the vibes were family oriented. When we first arrived we were greeted with, “Welcome home.” After hearing those words by so many, there was a feeling that they knew what we were searching for.
By the way, I did end up getting that beer. Cheers!!!