That was always the dream of Vanessa Drew of Shepparton. She first studied the Pyramids of Egypt as a young girl and from there built a love of travel that would lead her to work in the travel industry.
In September this year her dream came true. Her travel adventure started in Dubai and what a town!
Vanessa stayed at the Atlantic Resort, set on a man made island in the bay, the whole thing was like a giant aquatic park.
There was a huge aquarium at the hotel filled with exotic fish from sharks to Queensland gropers.
During a city tour, Vanessa was taken to the spice and gold souks where everything that glistens is gold, then onto the Dubai museum to learn about the history of the country.
Then they visited the desert and enjoyed the thrill of racing over the sand dunes in 4X4 vehicles. They then trekked by camel to a tented enclosure where they feasted on a huge BBQ while the belly dancers entertained.
The next day Vanessa flew to Cairo, it’s a massive city of 22 million people! Yes, the population of Australia in one city and it seemed everyone had a car.
Vanessa says the road rules seem to be that if there is a gap in the traffic, fill it! This was September and the protesters were out in force, Vanessa did not feel threatend but just stayed away from the crowds.
Vanessa visited the Cairo Museum of Antiquity and there it was, the famous death mask of the boy king, Tutankhamun. Vanessa says it’s beautiful sitting in its glass case, even though the Melbourne Museum has many of the artefacts currently on show, they say Tutankhamun’s mask will never leave Egypt.
The next tour was the big one, the Pyramids, they stand silently looking down over the city, Vanessa was amazed at how big they were and the Sphinx standing guard in front of them. It is obvious to the eye that time has taken its toll, but the mighty Pyramids still stand as testament to an amazing race of people.
Cairo has lots to see from amazing mosques to Coptic churches and fabulous bazaars. But it was time to leave and head to Aswan.
Vanessa found this area much calmer than Cairo, the people seemed to move at a slower pace and markets had lots to offer without pressure to buy.
Visiting the Elephantine Island they sampled Nubian coffee, climbed a sand dune and swam in the Nile.
Next, they flew to Abu Simbel, a huge temple that had to be moved from its original site because of the rising waters of the Aswan High Dam.
It was a difficult task undertaken by engineers from around the world, but today it stands on its new site high above the dam waters.
The temple has huge statues of Ramses II standing tall in front, they are so big a human barely comes up to the height of the Pharaoh’s toes.
Next, they sailed onboard a Felucca to a Nubian village for a home satay, it was basic, but sitting under the stars and making contact with the Nubians as they talked and fed them was not to be missed.
They now headed along the Nile in the Felucca, sleeping on the deck, they were balmy nights as the boat sailed to the old capital of Egypt, Luxor.
On the opposite bank of the Nile is the location of the Valley of the Kings, at first it looks like rubble but then you enter one of the tombs and its another world.
Vanessa was lucky the tomb of Ramses II was open, inside you stepped back in time, as you walk down a long corridor the vivid paintings and hieroglyphs stand out from the walls.
They told the story of a magnificent Pharaoh, a champion of his people, and at the bottom was the sarcophagus from which the pharaoh’s mummy had been stolen by tomb robbers.
That was the case with most of the tombs, there was only one where the Pharaoh’s mummy had been found intact and that was the tomb of the boy king, Tutankhamun.
The tomb was open and Vanessa was able to enter it. It was a small tomb compared to the others, this Pharaoh had died young leaving little time to prepare a grand tomb, but the contents were magnificent, and today the young Pharaoh’s mummy is there lying in state for all to see.
Next, a visit to Karnak, one of the most impressive temples of all with its grand entrance and huge obelisks still standing proud.
Vanessa decided to take a hot air balloon ride above the city. Getting up before dawn, the balloons were prepared and took off just as the sun started to rise.
Vanessa says it was an amazing experience drifting over Luxor, the Valley of the Kings, and the impressive temple of Queen Hatshepsut, the only woman to hold the title of Pharaoh.
Arriving back in Cairo by sleeper train, Vanessa next headed to the Red Sea where camels took them to Mount Sinai.
They climbed to the top in time to see the sun set over the desert, they then visited a beautiful monastery and then the church of St Catherine’s, famous for its gold chandeliers.
Some R&R at a beach camp in the Red Sea was an ideal time for scuba diving and a most unusual massage.
The masseuse, a lady who had just returned from India, did a rope massage. They line your spine up with the rope suspended above, the masseuse then hangs by her hands from the rope above you and uses her feet to massage your back, for Vanessa it was heaven.
Back home in Shepparton, Vanessa who is a Travel Consultant for Flight Centre, would like to thank Travel Indochina.
If you have any queries about Egypt or Dubai, why not call in and chat with Vanessa.
Until next time,