Cairo and Luxor
At Christmas 1998 we visited Egypt. We flew out of London early on Christmas morning on a KLM flight. We then spent most of Christmas day at Amsterdam Schiphol airport before catching the overnight flight to Cairo on Transavia, KLM’s subsidiary. This itinerary was forced on us by the lack of London to Amsterdam flights on the 25th . It was a long wait but actually it wasn’t too bad. Schiphol certainly wasn’t my worst ever Christmas.
We stayed in the Marriot Hotel in Cairo. It was absolutely superb.
The country was recovering from the Luxor Massacre (the killing of 60 tourists the previous November) and so not only was security extra tight, hotel prices were extra low too.
It was also the middle of Ramadan. We quickly decided to get into the spirit of things and fast in the daylight hours ourselves too. It was actually quite easy, given that it was winter and daylight was relatively short, but it was also a fascinating and interesting experience nonetheless. The nightly meals to break the fast once the sun is set had an atmosphere all their own.
We spent a few days wandering around the museums and souks of Cairo and we made the inevitable trip out to the nearby pyramids. Perhaps it was the influence of the massacre or perhaps it wasn’t, but we found the Egyptian people incredibly friendly. More than once we had people cross the road just to shake our hands and to thank us for visiting their country.
We headed down to Luxor on an Egypt Air flight. It was so cheap we actually flew business class. As expected, Luxor was stunning and we spent several days wandering around the various historical sites.
Yet, to be honest, we found wandering around the markets and the streets of the modern city and watching everyday life (a slower pace than Cairo) every bit as wonderful as seeing the ruins of ancient Egypt.
The trip was packed with lots of wonderful experiences, but it is the friendliness of the Egyptian people and the warm welcome we got from them that I remember most.