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Prologue and Travel Days March 7-8

Egypt...will the third time be the charm?

View Egypt 03/2022 on Cybercsp's travel map.

What is your dream trip? Maybe you nurse a desire to go on safari, long to spend a week in Paris, imagine yourself standing atop the Acropolis or feeling the spray of Iguacu Falls. Well, we have been talking about going to Egypt for a very long time and, as many of you know, have actually made two thwarted attempts to get there (both connected to cruises).

We finally decided that our best chance of success might be to book a land tour. We did a lot of research, compiled a list of everything we wanted to see and do, and quickly decided that the planning involved for this extravaganza exceeded our DIY inclinations. On the advice of our favorite travel advisor, Victoria Hill from Pavlus Travel, we decided to book with Alexander+Roberts, a company that we believed would be very supportive throughout our journey (you can read that as "would lead us by the nose" if you wish). The tour that we booked is called, charmingly, "Between The Paws" (referring to the paws of the Sphinx...because, seriously, who WOULDN'T want to stand in between the paws of that iconic sphinx?) Cue the goosebumps!

But first a hurdle to overcome...
Egypt requests that proof of vaccination contains a QR code, which is not the standard in the US. To compensate, they require a printed report of proof of a negative PCR test with a QR code, which must occur within a specific time frame relative to arrival. (Note to self: STOP booking flights on Mondays because most labs DO NOT PROCESS results on weekends.) I would hate to admit how much time it took us to find a place where we could accomplish this, not to mention driving distance and cost; but in for a penny, in for a pound, right? So, we drove to Marlton, NJ to a pharmacy that provided such a report, and were told that we would receive our reports by email on Saturday. Except that we didn't. Fortunately, the company coordinating the process responded to our inquiry on Saturday night and investigation suggests that our swabs currently remain somewhere in the FedEx alternate universe (which was closed on Sunday). SO...we were offered a retest with a two-hour result, with the extra fee waived...on Monday at 9 AM in Marlton. Not exactly the way we expected to spend the morning of our trip. Fortunately, we had our negative results by 11 AM, which was a relief because, as you can see, we were packed and ready to roll.


Fingers crossed that the third attempt at Egypt will be the charm!

By the way, in the true spirit of spending our kids' inheritance (SKI-ing), we treated ourselves to first class flights! We were able to relax pre-flight in the British Airways lounge.


We left Philadelphia at about 7:30 PM. Here is Charlie, cozy in his pod…


…and our welcome champagne.


After an uneventful first flight, we arrived at London Heathrow on time. It seems that no matter when we arrive, we always have to walk down the metal stairway and take a bus ride to the terminal, packed in like masked sardines. I sometimes suspect we have landed in Wales and are being bused to London. But, we arrived with time to spare, although we did have to clear security again despite the fact that we have not left the airport.

Today's entry will end as we wait to board our second flight (to Cairo). As your reward for trudging through lots of words and few photos, we thought you might enjoy seeing Sullivan in N.J., virtually traveling with us to Egypt.


Tuesday, March 8

Upon arrival in Cairo (4:30 PM), we were greeted by Tarek, who will be our Alexander+Roberts representative throughout our time in Egypt. He assisted us in gathering and moving our luggage through the airport and navigating the immigration formalities; specifically, we needed to purchase an Egyptian visa and pass through customs. This was all accomplished quickly, and as we exited the airport, we were welcomed to Cairo by this beautiful goddess.


Cairo’s airport has enjoyed recent renovations and is quite impressive.


Welcome to Cairo on jet lag coupled with sensory overload!

It took about 45 minutes to get from the airport to our hotel. Tarek tells us that for the four hours a day that the roads are not jammed with vehicles, this might take 20 minutes. During our trip, we made the following cursory observations: road lane markers appear to be rejected suggestions (Tarek called them decorations), roads are shared by automobiles, motor scooters, animal carts, and bicycles. The lane-changing craziness made it very difficult for us to take any photos from the van. Here is what we did capture (a mosque and the train station). We deleted a lot of blur.


We were welcomed to the Kempinski Nile Hotel, where we have been booked in a Nile view room. It is lovely. Here is our room.


Here are our views of the Nile. (It was just past sunset when we arrived.)


After settling in, we had dinner in Osmanly, an Ottoman restaurant that is located in our hotel.


When greeted at the table, our hands were washed with hibiscus water (which smelled divine) in the manner in which guests were greeted at the Sultan's palace..


We shared a cheese appetizer, Charlie had kebobs, and I enjoyed the sultan's specialty, which is a a spiced stew that is baked in a crock with a bread topper.


After dinner, we got the blog together, hit "publish" and fell into the bed.

Just FYI: The local time in Egypt is seven hours ahead of EST and six hours ahead of EDT.

Photos are tagged Egypt and Cairo

Posted by Cybercsp 19:48 Archived in Egypt Tagged egypt cairo

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What an amazing adventure.. can't wait to see what unfolds in the pictures to come!

by Mark F

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