Egypt Traveler Interview: Nancy Barry

When did you go and for how long?

November 2008, for about ten days.

How many people did you travel with?

I traveled with my friend Michelle, but we met up with friends of friends in Cairo for dinner and drinks.

Why did you choose this destination?

My friend and I wanted to go on a big trip and we were torn between Thailand and Egypt. I know, they couldn’t be more different. Ultimately we decided on Egypt since it is closer!

Did you do any special physical training or read up about the destination in order to get ready for the trip?

I didn’t train at all, but knew we weren’t going to be really active. I walk all the time to and from work in New York City, so walking miles a day is easy for me.

What were some of the trip’s most memorable moments?

The amazing sights we saw – hard to believe that I’ve seen the pyramids. And then there were the interactions with locals, which were amazing, touching and sometimes funny. In Cairo, people selling stuff never had change, making for some funny moments. The traffic in Cairo is amazing, like nowhere else I’ve been. It takes half an hour to work up the courage to cross the street. Locals tell you to just walk out into it because the cars will stop, but that’s easier said than done. In Giza we were playfully overrun by elementary school-aged kids wanting their pictures taken and asking us, “What time is it?” They were adorable and just wanted to interact with us. Plus my friend is a blonde, which seemed to get their attention, too. Overall, everywhere we went everyone was always very nice and respectful. As two women walking around markets or going into restaurants we felt safe and at ease the whole time.

How was the food?

I loved the food. It was just so flavorful and fresh. I love dishes like hummus, falafel, lentils, salads and kebabs. On the Nile River cruise the ship served amazingly fresh food. In Cairo we didn’t have our meals included in the hotel. We went out with friends. We enjoyed the Egyptian Stella beer very much (not Stella Artois). We were able to try an Egyptian wine or two, which were okay.

What were the accommodations like?

Very nice – I really liked everything. The hotels were somewhat high-end, so they were nice. Half of the nights we spent on a Nile River cruise, so that room was a bit smaller, but very nice for a ship. I wouldn’t necessarily call it “Egyptian.” They tried, however, with the entertainment and food. There was a welcome dinner and traditional music and dance performances, and even a traditional Egyptian cooking class.

How were the guides?

Our guides were good. One was very colorful, and the other very serious. The serious one was a woman. Together they made for a good mix, as they were both very knowledgeable.

Where are you planning on going next, and why?

Not sure, but I need to plan something. Since Egypt I have been to China and Hong Kong, Italy and England. I really enjoy traveling.

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