Yes, that's right. I decided to go to Cairo, Egypt for my birthday! Why? You ask.... My answer is why not?! I was looking for a chance to take the trip of a lifetime, and thought what better way to cross off something on my bucket list than going to Egypt! It's a destination spot for millions of people all around the world who want the chance to see the world famous Pyramids of Giza, and the Sphinx plateau. And boy oh boy- were they a sight to see! I wasn't nervous about this trip until I arrived at LAX about to board my plane. It was in that moment that I began thinking to myself "what the hell am I doing? Am I REALLY about to go to Egypt ALONE? What if something happens to me? What if I don't make it back?" So many questions went through my mind, but I decided to block out the worry and go it alone anyway. And you know what..... to date, it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made.
While on my 15+ hour to Egypt, I was anxious, nervous, excited, afraid, and a host of all other types of emotions. I knew nothing about what to expect from this trip. All I knew is that I wanted to see the Pyramids and the Sphinx. I got off my plane in Egypt and was shuttled to the actual airport. Once there, I had a driver set to take me to my hotel. The ride from the airport was about 30 minutes and my driver was very professional. He spoke English and showed me some of the sights around the city. When we got too my hotel, it was nothing like what I thought it would be. It was this small, neighborhood hotel that really didn't even look like a hotel. It was located directly across from the Giza pyramids and the Sphinx. Quite literally it was within walking distance of the Sphinx. My room was nice, and came with air conditioning, which was absolutely necessary, because the heat was unbearable. I had a private balcony that faced the Pyramids, and I ws able to see them from my bed. My bathroom was across the hall, but it too was a private bathroom. All in all, the hotel was much nicer on the inside than it was on the outside. The name of the hotel was the "Mena Inn Pyramids". If you're ever on vacation in Cairo, and want to stay close to the Pyramids, you can't get much closer than this place!
I stayed in Egypt for a total 6 nights, and 7 days. I flew to Luxor for an overnight trip, and then back to Cairo for the rest of my stay. My hotel staff were very nice, and extremely helpful with anything I needed. I realized that I forgot to pack my favorite soap, and the driver took me to the local store to buy what I needed. We were able to communicate efficiently, and I even went out on most of my tours with the hotel staff. I did 2 Nile River cruises on a small ship called the "Andrea". The entertainment was amazing, and the food was delightful! I toured the Pyramids, and the Sphinx- and was able to get some really amazing photos and videos of my experiences. Best of all, my hotel staff went out of their way to surprise me with a cake, and even sung happy birthday to me. Yes- I was in Egypt on the actual day of my birthday. Away from friends, family, and everything that I knew. However, I do it again in a heartbeat! My cake was delicious, and it was so thoughtful of the staff. I was so grateful and will not soon forget what they did for me.
After celebrating my birthday, I was taken back to Cairo International Airport for the second part of my vacation. I then boarded a plane to Luxor Egypt where I went on my first hot air balloon ride. The sights from up above the city were amazing! We soared over the Luxor Valley, and the Nile River. It was a breathtaking experience. For more pictures and details about my Luxor vacation, head over to the LUXOR blog!
During my Cairo stay, I rode on camel back and toured the Pyramids, I was briefed on the history of the ancient city, and it's people. I saw dozens of statues, and even visited the Mosque, the Citadel, and the magnificent Egyptian Museum where all sorts of ancient artifacts are stored. Although I was an American in an predominantly Arabic-Muslim culture, I was treated with much respect and never once felt unsafe, even while traveling alone. My vacation to Egypt was one of the best and I'll definitely not forget this experience for as long as I live. If I had to do it all over again, I would in a heartbeat! I highly recommend taking a vacation to Egypt. It's a busy little country with so much to offer. The energy of Cairo is not to be missed out on.