Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Revisiting Egypt without leaving Milwaukee

Riding camels at Giza

 We were in Egypt four years ago, the same year as the Egyptian Revolution.  We'd read that tourism was at an all time low and that Egyptians were starving because income related to tourists had dried up almost completely.  There was a state department warning which said it wasn't a good time for Americans to travel, and in fact, there were no tour companies sending flights or tours over there.  It would seem to most people that it wasn't a good time to visit, but we managed to find a tour company based in Cairo and went anyway.  It was a great decision.  We had all the monuments nearly to ourselves.  Our tour operator provided a driver, guide, and thanks to the American embassy we had a gun carrying bodyguard with us during the Cairo tour days. It felt completely safe.  Egyptians were courteous and helpful.  We had a wonderful trip for 9 nights visiting Cairo, Aswan, Valley of the Kings, and Abu Simbel.  We even took a day trip to Alexandria.  The cost was $5000 for three of us, and covered a balloon ride, 4 day Nile cruise where we only had 14 people onboard, hotels, nearly all meals, transportation, train ride from Cairo to Aswan, and day trips with a guide.  Amazing.  But what is really amazing is that you can still do a similar trip for even less!  Check with Vantage Travel for deals.  We started with a basic package and had them add everything we wanted to personalize.

Travel is a wonderful experience because it gives to you over and over again.  You experience it in the planning.  Then you take the trip.  Afterwards you look at photos and remember all you did and relive it in your mind.  Fantastic.   We were doing a bit of that reminiscing today.






My adult son and I went to the Milwaukee Public Museum to view a new exhibit called Crossroads of Civilization. It has displays and artifacts from Egypt along with timelines and explanations for how things were done.  It brought back a lot of great memories and we enjoyed how detailed the exhibit was.  I'm impressed with our museum staff.  They recreated people and things that were very realistic, like this pair of horses and driver.  The mummy is just like many we saw at the Egyptian Museum at Cairo.  Sometimes you don't have to go very far to have a great experience.


These horses were so real looking

Afterwards we ate at a local restaurant Casablanca and had the vegetarian mediterranean styled buffet: baba gannoj, couscous, falafel, dill pickles, yummy olives, cucumbers in garlic sauce, potatoes in tahini...it was tasty. The owners are from Lebanon and Palestine, but with a name like Casablanca you'd expect Moroccan food.  We thought most of the salads were similar to what we'd had in Alexandria, Egypt.  For less than $10 each, we were transported temporarily to that seaside city.  Maybe you can spend an afternoon in your own city living like you're a world traveler.  It was a great "getaway" for us today.
Casablanca buffet

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