We are leaving Egypt today with this journey having shown us another of the world’s amazing places. There is real history here in Egypt but unless one studies it in as much detail as our amazing tourist guides have, it is very difficult to take too much in. Their in-depth knowledge drives them with such a passion that they really do want every tourist who visits this area to understand every little thing about the ancient Egyptians. It would be a fascinating thing if we could!
The ancient Egyptians really had knowledge and skills that in today’s society we cannot fathom, to build giant pyramids, hidden tombs of their Kings and statues of admiration and immense respect for the Kings and Pharaohs of their time.
Docked at Edfu this morning and had an interesting ride by horse and carriage to the Edfu temple - a skinny horse, a carriage??? Big wheels, not much tread, wobbly.... but we made it! Edfu temple to some was another wonderful temple to visit - there's been heaps of them! Back on the boat for another 6 hr cruise and then another temple stop but about here I started feeling unwell and from there had a 12 hr dose of the runs which laid me low for the rest of the day basically - This last temple tour I did not visit - turns out with my condition I would have needed a couple of toilet stops in quick turn so was more than happy to rest in our cabin!!
My last news seemed so long ago but we have been so busy and are almost ‘templed out’!
Arrived in Cairo and headed to the Sofitel Hotel. The river separates Cairo proper from Giza and the Sofitel is actually on the river’s edge but in Giza. As the name implies we were in Giza and very close by bus to the Pyramids which was our first stop for the day. The pyramids are very close to the city so it was only a short dive there to join all the other tour buses doing exactly the same.
Flew 4 hours from Abu Dhabi to Cairo and met at the airport by an APT representative. Transferred to Sofitel. Had a welcome dinner with the tour group - only 9 of us on this tour, 2 from NZ and the rest from Australia.
Thursday morning city tour - Cairo is huge, dirty, full of traffic and always very busy.
Tuesday morning we spent checking out our surrounds a little more and had a quiet lunch in the hotel grounds on the beach front - absolutely delightful there - the weather has been very kind to us whilst away and similar to home without the humidity.
Pickup time for the City tour was 2.30pm - we were taken to the main tour start point right under the nose of the Burj Al Arab - what we all know as the 'Sail' hotel in Dubai. Most people are not able to get very close to it at all and as such our tour buses all met in an allotment across the road but still in good view of the hotel so we could take those compulsory snaps!.
Our first full day in Dubai, or any other place we travel for that matter is usually one of 'gather the maps', have breakfast with maps in hand, determine where we are, what the plan is and what we do first.
The area we are staying in is 'Jumeraih' and very much full of hotels, ex-pats and tourists. The whole area is very new and almost every skyscraper in this area is made of sandstone (my highly technical opinion). It's a BUSY place! The streets in the whole area are paved, there are open air restaurants everywhere and just looking at a telecast on TV this morning about Dubai - much of what the media report is done in this are it seems - we recognised 2 or 3 spots as just outside the hotel.
We left Brisbane lunchtime Saturday bound for our ‘Egypt trip’. First stop in the Qantas lounge at the International airport – it was chocka block!! Qantas certainly has some work to do to bring it’s standards up because there certainly were none in the lounge! A bunch of kids off holidaying with families, yobbos with the sloppiest jeans etc and very hard to get a seat. Then we had to queue to get any food – shock horror – ho hum such is life!
But in all honestly, yes, Qantas people need to visit the Emirates lounges to see how to do it! Now that was special.
The last few days of our trip have come a cropper with horrendous weather so our proposed 4 nights at The Links, Lady Bay at Normanville on the Fleurieu Peninsula south of Adelaide turned into 3 nights and no golf - supposedly 4 nights with 2 days of golf and one day in the McLaren Vale region for lunch.
The Links course was adjacent to the Grand Mercure which is part of the Accor Holiday Club that we belong to, our reason to begin with for heading to that neck of the woods. Probably a nice spot in most weather and very close to the coast as well but when the wind and rain rushes in at gale force off the ocean - it is NOT a pleasant spot! Poor 'roos were bounding all over the fairways looking for somewhere to get out of the weather as well. It really was cold and miserable.
What a beautiful few days we have had – some have said ‘don’t get blown off Cape Otway’, ‘why on earth are you doing the Great Ocean Road in winter?’, ‘you’ll freeze your butt off’ etc but we could not have asked for better weather. A warm jumper is all we need during the day to keep the chill out – most days are low teens, but there is not a breath of wind around anywhere so we have been VERY lucky!
Stayed at the Yarrawonga Border Golf Club Accommodation – on-course self contained accommodation which was great. The club itself is HUGE with about 5000 members I was told – that included golf, bowls, gym, social members. Whatever, the clubhouse was huge and accommodated us very nicely thank you! The club has 2 x 18 hole courses and a 9 hole course so it really was a big club!
I played with the ladies in an Open Day they had and walked the 18 holes with 3 other ladies, had lunch with them and then Kemm and I did 9 holes on the 9 hole course they also have there. It was a great little course and the weather had been really kind to us – just got a little chilly by the time we came in. The spa bath then called so warmed up nicely!