Our flight to Cairo was delayed but uneventful and we had 1 day left to explore the city. The only thing we really wanted to do was check out the Kahn El Khalili Bazar. It’s a famous old souq or market in the center of Cairos historic district established in the Mamluk era. Now it is nothing more than a dirty, scam artist filled flea market. One side is called the tourist area where you can buy anything from clothes to souvenirs and overpriced spices while being hounded by hawkers. The other side is more for locals with butchers and fruit stands and more spices. It was a complete waste of time in my opinion. Since it was our last 2 nights in Cairo we splurged and stayed at the Ramseys Hilton and enjoyed some luxury. We spent our last few hours eating some more traditional Egyptian food with a friend, we met on the Nile cruise, at a river side restaurant. The food was as good as the view. However, by now we were ready to start heading home. When we went to check in for our flight, we found out the first leg of our 3 stop journey home had been cancelled and we were booked on a flight a day earlier, Alyssa’s birthday. When we arrived at our first stop in Rome the security people told us we would have to live in the airport for 30 hours like Tom Hanks until our next flight but since we had our covid tests they actually let us leave the airport. We had a choice of taking a 45 minutes ride to Rome or stay near the airport and relax. Since we have been to Rome we decided we would stay close. We got a room at another Hilton took a nap and went for a walk. We crossed a river then walked around a small fishing village then found the tiny town of Fiumicino where we ate dinner then headed back. It was a beautiful spring day and such a stark change from Cairo. We were in heaven. When we got back to the hotel the manager had a cake and fruit platter with 2 glasses of wine waiting in the room for us. Italy (and Hilton) for the win!
We are excited to be headed home and of mixed mind when it comes to Egypt. First there is the big tourist sights like the Pyramids and countless temples along the Nile. They are all amazing and more then you could ever expect. The landscape of the dessert and oasises are nothing short of spectacular. The history and museums can’t be missed. We couldn’t be happier with all that we got to see and do. From cruising the Nile to traditional Sifi dancing and desert sand boarding, it was one adventure after another. However, there is plenty of negatives as well. Cairo is a dirty loud and chaotic city. It left us both with sinus and throat issues from the poor air quality. The roads may not be as crowded as Asian cities but they are way more dangerous here with accidents everywhere. The city like most of Egypt is not tourist friendly. I try not to be negative in my reviews as I except that every country is different and that is what I love about travel. But when something is bad I will say it. I admitted that as much as we loved Bali, I was let down that it didn’t live up to the tropical paradise it’s billed as and I stand by that and would go back in a heartbeat knowing what expectations to have. Egypt is another story. Having seen the highlights we both have agreed we won’t be back. I believe this is the first country we can say that about. The food is ok at best and as I said before it’s not a tourist friendly place. Even as we were leaving the baggage scanner at the airport tried to tell us we needed to tip him. If you have followed my blogs you will know that we are all about the local people and here, sadly, it was the people that ruined it for us. The culture is so unwelcoming and everyone seems to have an angle. Everyone approaches you in the street as a friend just wanting to tell you about their country and within minutes they are trying to pull you into a shop or sell you something at an inflated price. When you call them on it they laugh and walk off looking for the next mark. There are almost no woman to be found in public as we were told they are expected to stay home. And the people who aren’t looking to sell you something mostly give you dirty looks and seem annoyed that your there. We did meet a handful of nice people like our friend Faheem from the cruise and Soso the girl Alyssa met on the train. These people were super friendly and we are grateful for the hospitality and warmth they showed us. We have also been to countries with a high military presence, but they were never rude and intrusive like the military here. They don’t care that you’re a tourist and they openly treat you worse than they treat the locals. Overall, we had a great time and are really glad we came and checked so many things off our bucket list. Having done that, we can safely say Egypt isn’t a place we will look to return to any time soon. I highly recommend coming and seeing the sights but do your research and get advice before coming. If nothing else Egypt has us so excited to reunite with the people of Thailand.