It’s rare to visit a country where the people are constantly saying “welcome” – but that’s what visiting Egypt has been like.
After several years of being in the media spotlight, Egypt has seen a massive decline in visiting travellers and I am filled with sadness for the people and country that rely so much on tourism to survive. Like many countries with political unrest, the media often paints a picture that is very different to reality. The reality is that travelling in this country has been fascinating, safe, uncrowded and very, very welcoming.
From the huge Islamic mosques and markets of Cairo to the northern coastal Mediterranean city of Alexandria, down to the mighty stone blocks of the Pyramids and further south to the palm trees, papyrus grass and beautiful blue water of the Nile River at Aswan, it is a country that does not disappoint.
Few places in the world have so vividly captured my imagination and it is hard not to picture being dressed like Cleopatra in ancient times with pharaohs, camels, sand dunes, felucca rides, fragrant spices and a servant or two.
With so few tourists here at the moment, I had expected to be constantly hassled by people trying to sell me plastic pyramids. Instead I have had amazing hospitality and constant requests from complete strangers with a smile on their face simply asking me to “tell people to come back to Egypt”.