The plan was to catch a 6am flight from Aswan back to Cairo. We were to get picked up from the ship at 4:15am and arrive in Cairo at7:30 giving us all day to catch up on sleep and explore the famous market. But as we all know plans change and ours went out the window every step of the way. As we were falling asleep, we got a call from the concierge on the ship telling us that the bridge to the airport was closed and they would have to pick us up at 3:15am to get us to the airport on time. We arrived on time only to find out that our flight was cancelled, and we were put on a 9:30 flight. They informed our travel agent who forgot to tell us, so we slept in the airport for nearly 5 hours and arrived in Cairo at 11am. Not too bad. We ran out to get lunch before a nap only to find out our debit cards were all being declined. So, after running home and contacting the bank we were told it was the system in Egypt declining us and not the bank. So we ventured out to find an ATM that would take our cards and when we found one we took out as much cash as we could just to be safe. By the time all this was straightened out it was dinner and we were exhausted so we gave up on the day and called it a night. Days like that can really test your patience and sanity. 5 years ago we would have lost it for sure but by now we have learned to handle it much better and as soon as we see it happening we try to roll with it. I noticed we have started to turn on others instead of letting the stress come between us and that always helps.
The second travel day was drama free but still sucked. The drive from Cairo to Siwa took us 10 hours plus a 1 hour stop at the Mediterranean beach town Marsa Matruh for lunch. The town was dead as it’s a summer resort area for Europeans so we ate, admired the beautiful blue water and got back on the road. Four more hours of sand, goats, camels and 4 military check points where we had our passports checked and luggage searched for smuggled alcohol. We arrived right before sunset and decided to lose our guide and walk around town on our own like we so love to do. We were the only foreigners in the Oasis and nobody cared we were there. We found a traditional sandwich we had been looking to try since arriving in Egypt at a street food cart and sat on the sidewalk loving it. Better than any fancy meal we have had in Egypt yet, confirming our theory that we are more like backpackers then luxury people.
Siwa Oasis is a UNESCO world heritage site so it is very traditional, and you will find no western influences like Starbucks, 7/11 and McDonalds. The people here all speak Berber growing up and few learn Arabic later. It really is like stepping back in time. We headed out around 9 am and made the first stop of the day at the Mountain of Dead. It is a Flinstones looking mountain filled with over 3,000 tombs. The highlight for us was the 360 view from the top. Epic. We knew right then that the trip was worth it. Our next stop was the Shali Fortress, another landscape right out of Bedrock. Next we went to Cleopatras Pool-the Spring of Juba where we got our new favorite drink, Mango juice, and watched the local kids swim in the spring. From there we headed to the Temple of the Oracle of Amun for some interesting history of Alexander the Great. We were ready for lunch but had one more stop at the Siwa Salt Lake where we got to float around in some amazingly blue dense salt water. It was after lunch that the real fun started though. We met a true Berber who took us out in his 4X4 jeep for 4 hours of insane adrenaline pumping driving over mountain size sand dunes in the Great Sand Sea desert. Every so often he would stop so we could get out and experience the desert, take pics and search for 100 million year old fossilized ocean shells. We even stopped on top of one giant dune and he pulled two sand surf boards out of the truck for us to dune surf on. We had a blast. He had one last surprise for us on the way back. He stopped pulled out a blanket, lit a fire and served us Bedouin tea with snacks as we watched the sun set over the dunes. A simple amazing day. When we got back to our hotel we went out for another diner of wish list foods and enjoyed them all on top of the fortress we visited earlier. The vast size and tranquility of the desert had us both awestruck. The ride back to Cairo the next day was uneventful and we were wiped out from the long trip so we slept 12 hours. Siwa Oasis was far more fun and had much more to see and do than the Bahari Oasisya. Siwa for the win!
More great news! Youtube just sent us a
letter for reaching 100 Subscribers so we will be randomly picking one subscriber to receive a traditional Egyptian papyrus painting we picked up in Cairo. We are so grateful to everyone who helped reach our first milestone. Thank you all. Next milestone is 500. We have been so busy exploring and shooting footage but we are hoping to edit our first video this week and we will announce the winner there.