Part one of my adventure to Giza and Cairo with Rami’s Insight Tours
Subjects covered in this blog
*Our accommodation & host from egypt
*Giza Pyramids & Sphynx Tour by horse carriage
*Traditional Egyptian coffee
*Egyptian Food tasting
Where do I begin?
I recently fulfilled a childhood dream to visit Egypt. When I was a little girl, as young as 10 years old, I would collect books about Egypt and look through them imagining what life would have been living during their time. What did the ladies wear, what did they do every day, what were these huge pyramids built for? Is it possible that thousands of people were building these fantastic structures just to be a tomb of a special pharaoh family? How large are the stones of the pyramids? How did they lift each stone?
Then later on and very recently, when I learnt from documentaries that these perfectly constructed structures are aligned to star systems to perfection, I started asking myself more and more questions and to be honest, I now do not believe substantial amounts of the information found in old history books I had all these years. I keep them all because I love the pictures of the hieroglyphics, the writings on the tomb walls and I like to read about the gods they worshipped at the time. I will believe what resonates with me. We may never know how the great pyramids came to the be aligned with such precision. So far, we still have more questions than answers. We know that the architects and builders had rudimentary tools and that is what continues to fascinate our minds. The world enjoys a great mystery and the Great Pyramids have given us lots of clues and very few answers. I always wonder what are the books and documentaries are not revealing..anyways let’s get to my vacation shall we?
Tourism to the structures in Egypt has declined since the advent of the Arab Spring in 2011, when Egypt experienced a political upheaval that lasted years. The country has since been through several administration and security changes, and the instability is beginning to improve. My husband and I faced our fears, we trusted the feeling that came with the very positive tour agent Rami Elshaer and we did venture out there – and how pleased and grateful we are that we did! It is safe, it is beautiful, it is a dream holiday destination.
What made us get to Egypt?
A few weeks prior to my Birthday in April this year, I was contemplating with my husband whether we should travel somewhere or celebrate my birthday at home with my friends and family. At the beginning of the year, I did list 4 places on my Travel Bucket List and Egypt was second on the list following MEXICO in February with a question mark around my Birthday! By some miracle, coincidence or universal attraction, I was browsing on Instagram as I do every day and my heart skipped a beat when I caught a glimpse of a beautiful photo of a rooftop hotel view of the Lotus Guest House showing the three Giza pyramids. I hit Like on the pic as I normally do and as I went on with my day, I started dreaming about Egypt AGAIN and wishing I could go there in the near future. Shall we go to Egypt? A few days later, I receive a message from Rami’s Insight Tours saying “ Welcome To Egypt anytime dear with a personal invitation. “ When I checked the Instagram message, it was that same place I had liked on Instagram!
I replied honestly, saying it has been a dream of mine to visit Egypt, to visit the pyramids physically as I feel the time is right, and of course I would like to share the experience with all the followers of my Blog who have Egypt on their wish list like me. I always felt a strong connection to Egypt and the pyramids so this opportunity would be a dream vacation. I just was not sure whether it was safe or not but once I connected with Rami, all my fears disappeared.
By some miracle, he felt a connection with my personal energy and the visual impact of my blog posts, he felt a reason to invite me and he decided to do that. Marco and I were blessed to be guests of his family guest house and his tours for Easter week – Rami wished to show us the Real Egypt through the eyes of a Local. That is his life purpose, showing the real Egypt from his heart soit felt right, I accepted, booked the flights with Alitalia and a few weeks later my husband and I were there greeted at the airport by him and a driver and beautiful bouquet of Egyptian flowers! We were well guided before travelling to apply for an e-visa online with details he provided. I had to apply for it being Maltese, whereas my husband having a Swedish passport did not. I received the e visa approval within 4 days from the application. When we landed we just had to show it at the passport control and that was it – we were ready to enjoy this experience!
Rami Loai Elshaer- Rami’s Insight Tours
Our accommodation – Lotus House, Giza
This family run air b & b Lotus House, as you see in my pics, is located a few minutes away from the 3 Giza pyramids and as you can see from my roof top photos, for Instagram fanatics and bloggers, this alone could be just one reason to stay here but of course there are many more reasons why it is recommended.
Firstly, the rooms are clean and quite spacious and they have a small wardrobe, basic shower facilities, free Wi-Fi, some rooms come with a washing machine and fridge, others have a large dining table. It depends which one you find available for the time you are travelling to Lotus Guest House. We chose the one that was on the same level as the roof top as it was available. We were given many large water bottles to use for drinking, for cleaning our teeth and for making coffees and teas. This way we were sure to have clean water at all times. All we had to do is ask if we needed more.
Every morning, Rami would be up on the terrace before we stepped out, full of enthusiasm for the day ahead. Gooood Morning wake up call with that infectious smile! We had a very bountiful Egyptian breakfast prepared by his lovely uncle Halem, the chef and caretaker of the guest house who comes with many years of experience working in the tourism industry for over 10 years. Breakfast always included freshly cooked omelettes, fresh cheeses, jams, delicious squeezed strawberry, mango or gava juices, bread and fruit plus coffee or tea. During breakfast, we would get a brief about the day, take some photos and a million selfies and on some days Dance yes! If you were following on Instagram stories, you saw what a buzzing atmosphere we felt with this team from Day 1 and we even created a Dance Competition with the hashtag #dancewithme which was a huge success on socials throughout Easter! This family guest house has all the amenities you need and the team makes you feel like family and a VIP no matter who you are and where you are from. They are totally dedicated to make you have a Great Experience to take home with you forever. I thank you all from the bottom of my heart for your welcome and your excellent service!
3 Pyramids of Giza
I caught my first glimpse of the pyramids, a sight I had been waiting to see since childhood. How could it ever measure up to the pyramids of my childhood dreams?But the pyramids are there, and they are very real and very big. Seeing them for the first time induced this distinct feeling of vertigo including shivers all over my body. I’m an emotional person and I could not help but have a few tears roll down my cheeks with the strong emotions I felt. It did feel like coming home to a place I have not been in thousands of years..
Our first outing on our first day to visit the 3 pyramids of Giza was so much fun! In order for us not to walk for long stretches, Rami organised a horse carriage with one of his many hundreds of family members living in the area, This was so convenient, an experience in itself, it was so much easier to move from one place to another than walking on foot.
The last remaining of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, the great pyramids of Giza are perhaps the most famous and discussed structures in history. These massive monuments were unsurpassed in height for thousands of years after their construction and continue to amaze and enthrall us with their overwhelming mass and seemingly impossible perfection. Their exacting orientation and mind-boggling construction has elicited many theories about their origins, including unsupported suggestions that they had extra-terrestrial assistance. Seeing them in person, when you see how enormous they are, when you see the size of each stone, the latter suggestions are perfectly feasible to me.
Stories of the Past on the walls in the tombs
All the pyramids helped to build ancient Egypt, butthey also preserved it. Giza allows everyone to explore a long-vanished world. Many people think of the site as just a cemetery in the modern sense, but it’s a lot more than that.In these decorated tombs, especially the ones situated close to the 3 large pyramids, you have wonderful scenes of every aspect of life in ancient Egypt—so it’s not just about how Egyptians died but how they lived and what huge importance they gave to the passing on of a soul at the moment of departure to the afterlife.
Tomb art which is something I thoroughly enjoyed seeing in person, includes depictions of ancient farmers working their fields and tending livestock, fishing, carpentry, costumes, religious rituals, and burial practices.Stories about love, new births, entertainment, and most of all how they worked together to achieve great, almost impossible things for us to fathom!
We did go inside the largest of the three pyramids and my experience was a strong one. It is individual for everyone, depending where they are in their life path.. You will be called to visit when the time is right.
360° Travel inside the Great Pyramid of Giza – BBC
Let’s talk Egyptian coffee
As a traveller and coffee lover, it is always a must for me to try the local coffee and talk about it. I mean I don’t really function without a cuppa in the morning so hey! Coffee says a lot about its culture and heritage. Egyptian (very similar to Turkish coffee) is prepared by mixing sugar and very finely ground coffee with hot water. Instead of filtering the resulting beverage, it’s simply allowed to settle for a minute or two before serving. This allows the drinker to enjoy almost the full cup before he or she encounters the coffee grounds.
It tastes creamy and strong and yet it has a sweet tinge to it. Very nice taken first thing in the morning or early afternoon as a pick-me-up in between tours. Our favourite place to have coffee in the vicinity of the 3 pyramids was an old cafeteria called Sokerya. The coffee here is amazing and everyone is extremely polite, especially foreigners.
We had to come to Say Hello to The Sphinx
The Great Sphinx of Giza is a giant 4,500-year-old limestone statue situated near the Great Pyramid in Giza, Egypt. Measuring 73 meters long and 20 meters high thus making it one of the world’s largest monuments. It is also one of the most recognizable relics of the ancient Egyptians, though the origins and history of the colossal structure are still debated.
Researchers estimate that it would have taken 100 people 3 years to carve the Great Sphinx out of a single mass of limestone. But there’s some evidence that these workers may have suddenly quit before fully finishing the sphinx and temple complex, such as partially quarried bedrock and remnants of a workman’s lunch and tool kit! The Sphinx was not assembled piece by piece but was carved from a single mass of limestone exposed when workers dug a quarry in the Giza plateau.
Who built the Sphinx? The most compelling evidence that the Sphinx was built for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khafre during his reign (2520-2494 BC) is in the architecture, geology, and archaeology of the Sphinx and its related monuments.People propose all kinds of theories about Old Kingdom (2575-2465 BC) pyramid construction and the date of the Sphinx. The Sphinx is only part of a set of structures built to serve the cult of the dead king and the sun god, Re, consisting of a pyramid, Pyramid Temple, causeway, Sphinx, Sphinx Temple, and Valley Temple. The Sphinx may have been intended to associate the king with the sun god. Various theories that still have no concrete evidence anywhere because Egyptians did not write any history about the Sphinx.
It was overwhelming to see its size and to bid our greetings to it. It is a national treasure and I hope that it remains cared for and protected for many to enjoy!
Some of the Food we tasted during this trip
The Egyptian cuisine is not very fancy; it is not as elaborate as French or Italian cuisine and not as heavy as some of the food in the Arabian Gulf, it also doesn’t rely on a massive amount of spices. It is very simple, and this simplicity is what makes it very tasty. We always indulge on vacation. It’s one of the best things to do when travelling.
A lot of the food on the menu relies heavily on vegetables rather than meats,mainly because veggies are much cheaper than meat and because the Egyptians believe that a balanced diet of meat and vegetables does wonders for the body.
Baladi bread is probably the one food item that Egyptians cannot do without, The bread is flat bread made of whole wheat and bran and traditionally baked in a wood burning oven, now in a gas burning oven. When fresh out of the oven, it is so tasty that it can be eaten whole on its own, and with other foods, it gives them a whole new dimension. It is like a pitta bread but more crunchy!
While shawerma is not originally a native Egyptian dish, it became so due to Egypt being part of the Ottoman Empire. That said, the best shawerma in Egypt will traditionally be available at Syrian owned sandwich parlours. Yummy indeed.
Succulant grilled meat cubes and seekh kebab, typically made out of veal or lamb, they are usually served with bread (baladi) and an assortment of green salads and dips, mostly tahini, baba ghanoush, and tzatziki. They are grilled over charcoal and they are a must for any meat lover visiting Egypt. We went to one of the local restaurants that cooked kebabs live at the entrance of the venue, so you can appreciate the freshesss and authenticity of the experience and relish the smells of smoking fire and spiced meats.
FulwaTa’meya (Fava Beans and Falafel):
Fulmudammas and Ta’meya are the original Egyptian fast food; they are a staple of the Egyptian diet. The ful (pronounced: fool like Maltese Ful) is made of fava beans that are simmered all night in a massive round cauldron-looking pot called Qedra. The ta’meya, or Egyptian falafel is made out of crushed fava beans that is later mixed and made into a paste then fried, unlike Lebanese falafel that is made out of hummus. Perfect for vegetarians. Super tasty.
Thanks to Rami who knows the best places to try these, we had a good taste of all these at either the restaurant or as a take away option to eat together as a family on the terrace of his guest house with full view of the Giza pyramids!
I hope you enjoyed part 1 of our experience travelling to Egypt! I will be sharing more in the coming weeks in between other posts, to keep you all excited to know more xxx
Send you all my love and good vibes.
Wish you lovely days, whatever you do, wherever you go.
If you are planning a trip to Egypt, I highly recommend you do visit the place with a Local tour guide like Rami’s Insight Tours because they know the system, they talk the language and will assist you in the most knowledgeable way possible. Yalla Egypt!
Fashion, travel and lifestyle blogger at graziellecamilleri.com