I am a travel enthusiast. I love seeing new places, experiencing new cultures, meeting people from all parts of the world and trying out new cuisines. I normally travel with my family but recently I got the chance of going on this all women’s trip to Egypt with the “Women on Wanderlust” or WOW group. I had always wanted to visit the mysterious land of the Pharaohs so when I saw this particular trip called ‘Enchanting Egypt with Nile Cruise’ I immediately booked a seat on it.
My excitement grew with each passing day. I almost felt like a school kid going on a field trip. Packing done, passport, visa and ticket in hand, I was all set to go. The essentials in my bag- a big sun hat, sunglasses, lots of loose cotton dresses, a big tube of sunscreen lotion and loads of excitement!
18 of us flew from different cities and met at Kuwait Airport for our onward flight to Cairo. I had been apprehensive about travelling with strangers but my anxiety soon vanished as I met all the other ladies. Once the initial ice was broken we got along like a house on fire. Ours was a motley group of young (20-30 yrs), not so young (40-50 yrs) and young at heart (60-70yrs) women. We were accompanied by a young, bubbly WOW buddy Stuti, who added quite a sparkle to the group. She was soft spoken, warm and friendly and assisted us in every possible way. By the time we landed at Cairo we were chatting and laughing like long lost friends.
A local representative of WOW met us at the airport and assisted us in exchanging currency, buying a local Sim card and collecting our luggage.
We were then driven to Giza where we checked into our hotel Mina House. The hotel was very impressive. It was a huge property with beautiful landscaped lawns, set against the backdrop of the Pyramids.
Most of us were sharing rooms with a partner. Our rooms were very spacious and well done up with an attached sitout overlooking the pool. After freshening up and relaxing for some time it was time to dress for dinner. The colour code for the evening was pink, as pink is the WOW colour. We went to a local place for dinner. The food was not so great but our excited banter and giggles more than made up for it. Then we assembled in Stuti’s room and sang songs late into the night.
The next morning we went to see the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx. We were accompanied by our guide and escort, Maged. He was not a regular guide at all but a highly accomplished fellow who was doing his doctorate in Egyptology. His passion for the subject was so intense that he managed to ignite an interest in Egyptian history in each one of us.
Standing in front of the majestic, larger than life, architectural wonders of ancient Egypt was so awe inspiring! Maged told us how and why the pyramids were built. He also showed us the best places to click pictures.
After that we went to a perfumery where we were shown all essential oils and scents made from flowers, which were actually used to make branded perfumes. Later Maged took us to a local joint for lunch where we had delicious lamb rolls and shawarma after which we headed back to the hotel for some rest.
In the evening we enjoyed a spectacular sound and light show at the feet of the Sphinx and then headed to an Indian place called Kandahar for dinner. The food was delicious and we all enjoyed it thoroughly.
The next morning after a really amazing buffet breakfast we headed to Cairo to see the Egyptian museum. It was interesting to see all the artefacts belonging to the ancient Kings and Queens. We even saw the section where the well preserved mummies were kept.
After that we went to see the Citadel mosque.
Then Maged took us to the local market where we shopped for souvenirs. In the evening we were treated to a dinner and belly dance show on a boat as it sailed down River Nile.
The next morning we woke up early and headed to the airport to catch our flight to Aswan. In Aswan we went to see the High Dam And the Temple of Philae.
At noon we checked into our cruise boat “Semiramis II” which was going to be our home for the next three days. After lunch we retired to our cabins for some rest.
In the evening we were taken for a felucca ride. The felucca a kind of sail boat used by the locals. After dinner we enjoyed a show of the whirling dervish and a sensuous belly dance.
Next morning we left at 4 a.m. for Abu Simbel. It was a beautiful ride on a road in the middle of the desert on a full moon night! We even saw the sun rise over the desert. The beauty of the moment cannot be put into words.
The temples at Abu Simbel were really grand. There are two temples there. The temples are dedicated to the gods Ra-Horakty, Ptah, and Ramesses II (The Great Temple) and the goddess Hathor and Queen Nefertari, Ramesses’ favourite wife (The Small Temple).
We returned to the boat in time for a lovely buffet lunch. In the evening we went to see the Temples of Kum Ombo.
After dinner we dressed up in gallibayas which is the traditional Egyptian costume, and danced to Arabian music.
The high light of our trip was the visit to the Valley of Kings. Amid those limestone mountains were hidden the tombs of some of the famous Egyptian kings. The tomb of Ramesses II was so well preserved that just looking at the figures and inscriptions on the walls we were transported to a different era.
After that we visited the Temple of Queen Hatshepsut and the Colossi of Memnon.
Back to the cruise boat we dressed up for our last night in Egypt. After dinner we clicked a lot of group photographs. We were feeling sad at the thought of leaving each other. We made promises to keep in touch and meet again soon.
The next morning we left for the airport to take our flight back home.
We had enjoyed our trip thoroughly and had come back with all our senses satiated!