A&K’s Egypt: More Than We Thought It Would Be
As I write this we are on our way back to Orlando after a 16-day adventure with Abercrombie & Kent that began in Egypt and ended in Jordan. I’ll be happy to be home as always, after any time away. Still, the long travel day back allows some uninterrupted time to process what has been experienced abroad.
Normally, I think of the best parts, elements of the total experience that went well as well as parts that might not have. Lessons are learned and experiences mentally tagged as those I would like to repeat as well as those to avoid in the future. Normally. Not even home yet after a week to think about it all, one thing is crystal clear: this was much more that we thought it would be.
In much the same way after every good cruise vacation, I feel a bit different. Changed somehow for the better somehow after travel. Often that’s just as simple as letting onboard programming on a big ship cruise have its way with us, allowing an escape not possible on land. But this was not a cruise per se. A Nile River cruise was indeed a part of the total experience, but just one part.
Interestingly, it seems that I am not the only one who is having these thoughts. Even before the trip was over, others commented on the unexpected, surprising parts of visiting Egypt and Jordan and how Abercrombie & Kent went about crafting the experience.
The Social and Political Climate Of The Middle East
While information about what led to the rise and fall of Pharaohs, Kings and Queens would not have been surprising, the A&K program went far further. We talked to locals, saw first-hand the results of past and present government and the hope there for the future.
Last month I was in Istanbul on a different trip as Syrian refugees fled their country, being taken in by countries that were struggling to support them. It was interesting to be in that part of the world at that time, rather than watching the story unfold on CNN from Florida. Frankly, I was happy to see little disparity between what cable news was reporting and the stories from people who lived there.
In Egypt this month, shortly before national elections were to take place, banners and billboards were a big part of the scene as we toured the country, a variety of ways. Locals had opinions, hope for the future and one very crystal clear message: Egypt is safe to visit and we hope you will tell your readers that. So I am. Right now. Everyone I traveled with seemed to agree that seeing Egypt in the safe environment created by Abercrombie & Kent works. And it works well.
The actual situation on the ground in Egypt reminds me of visiting Mazatlan, Mexico several years ago. Scared off by drug lord fueled acts of violence, cruise lines had all but abandoned the formerly-popular Mexican port. Tourism officials cried foul, admitting there was reason for safety concern in the country, but not even close to Mazatlan where it was safe. A trip there confirmed the notion. In a Gadling article titled Mazatlan Is Safe, Just Ask The Dead People, the topic was explored further, much like here, now.
Egypt and Jordan Are Secure Places To Visit, Right Now
Arriving in Cairo, a great amount of culture shock hit many of us. Knowing there were security issues in the past, we were apprehensive and happy that A&K had a guide and an armed guard in every tour bus. Later we would find out that this has been the case for many years. It’s just what they do here. A common practice, like the Coast Guard vessels we see around North American cruise ports: an appropriate precaution.
I have avoided saying those measures were in place in abundance of caution, much like the Captain of a big cruise ship might call passengers to muster stations in an abundance of caution, only to find out later that someone was smoking a cigarette in the engine room and that set off a fire alarm.
Safety concerns in Egypt are more serious than that and the serious precautions taken make it safe to visit.
Still, it took most of the time we had in Egypt to get accustomed to being guarded and in a secure location 24 hours a day, every day. Looking back now, after seeing similar Tourist Police in Jordan, I hate to leave it behind.
Clear: this is not Europe where we can walk around freely, unescorted with few security concerns.
Also resolved as clear by the end of the trip: The experience of being here is way worth it.
Pyramids Are Only The Beginning
The thought did cross my mind before visiting here; ‘I wonder if I will finally see the pyramids and then be bored’. Not hardly. I did not believe it when our A&K Egyptologist said ‘the pyramids are just the beginning’ but he sure was right. See the Flickr and Facebook photo gallery links posted below for an idea of what we saw. I am told that those places, numbering over 50, just scratched the surface. I don’t doubt that.
Jordan Is Way More Than Indiana Jones
Little Petra, Petra and Wadi Rum were stellar superstars of the trip, seen on an Abercrombie & Kent Jordan extension tacked on to the end of our Egypt and The Nile adventure. That’s next as we move on to thoughts of Jordan, an equally safe place to visit offering totally different attractions, great people and a feel all of its own.
A Different View
Traveling with Abercrombie & Kent we experienced Egypt by land, river and air, safely. Most of the above images were captured from our secure, guarded motor coach. Below are some street scenes gathered on walking tours in a variety of Egyptian locations.
See More Of Our Abercrombie & Kent Small Group Journey through Egypt And Jordan
At ChrisCruises.com via these previous posts:
- Social Egypt And Jordan, A&K Style: Your Guide To Our Journey
- Our Luxury Small Group Journey: Detailed Itinerary
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Arriving In Egypt
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: They Do Your Homework
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: They Can Turn On A Dime
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Speaking Of Kings And Queens
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: And Then He Paused
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Chris Wears A Dress
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Interesting, Unique, Beautiful
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: The Right Tool For The Job
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Exceeding Expectations
- Tips And Tricks For Travel In Egypt
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Signed, Sealed, Delivered: It’s Yours
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Front Row Seats To Amazing Places
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: A Travel Mosaic
- Abercrombie & Kent Luxury: Your Guide To Our Journey
- Abercrombie & Kent Advantages: Noted And New
On Facebook– see ChrisCruises for updates and these image collections, added to as time and Internet connection permit (so check back later too):
- Photo Album: A Day In Egypt With Abercrombie & Kent
- Photo Album: The Temple Of Luxor
- Photo Album: Favorite Images From Egypt
- Photo Album: The Temples Of Abu Simbel
- Photo Album: The Cairo Bazaar
- Photo Album: The Citadel, Amman Jordan
- Photo Album: Little Petra
- Photo Album: The Lost City Of Petra
- Mena House Hotel Cairo
- On The Streets Of Cairo
- Egyptian Museum Of Antiquities
- Lunch On The Nile
- Karnak Bazar
- Cairo Street Scenes
- Mit Rahina Museum
- Step Pyramid
- Tomb of Ka Gimni
- Carpet School
- Aboushakra Egyptian Lunch
- Giza Pyramids
- The Solar Boat
- A Camel Ride In Egypt
- The Iconic Sphinx
- Valley of the Kings
- Mena House Dinner
- Temple Of Karnak
- Sanctuary Resorts Sun Boat IV
- Seen On The Nile
- Sun Boat IV Culinary
- Egyptian Night
- Sunrise On The Nile
- Scenic Cruising On The Nile
- Luxor By Day
- Temple Of Goddess Hathor At Denderah
- Nile Dining On Deck
- Sundown On The Nile
- Luxor At Night
- Going Through Locks On The Nile
- Edfu Temple
- Egyptian Cooking Lesson
- Ptolemaic Temple At Kom Ombo
- Egyptian Night On Sun Boat IV
- Philae Temple
- Beautiful Flowers Of Egypt
- The Unfinished Obelisk
- A Felucca Sailboat Ride On The Nile
- Abu Simbel Temples
- Egypt Air
- Cairo Revisited- the pretty side of town
- The Four Seasons Cairo
- Cairo Mosques
- Cairo Bazzar
- Royal Jordanian Airlines
- Amman Jordan
- The Jordan Museum
- Amman Bazaars
- Amman Roman Theatre
- Lebanese House Lunch
- The Citadel
- Grand Hyatt Amman
- Mount Nebo
- Jordan Mosaic Workshop
- St George Church, Madaba
- Hitayet Siti Restaurant- Madaba
- Crusader Castle
- Little Petra
- Jordan sun
- Movenpick Petra Hotel
- Petra (Hi Res Large)
- Petra (iPhone unfiltered)
- Wadi Rum
- Driving To The Dead Sea
- Movenpick Dead Sea Hotel