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Egypt - with Insight Vacations 15th to 22nd Oct 2018.
I can only describe Cairo as organised chaos......cars, car horns, traffic congestion, people and more people. Then you have the Nile, Giza Pyramids, history, camels, hawkers, heat (nice temperature in mid October, late 20s), security checks and scanned bags at each of the tourist locations to ensure your site visits are safe and then tour guides directing tourists and parting their knowledge to educate you in the wonders of Egypt. The tour company to take care of you and all your needs is Insight Vacations. Our particular tour guide was Hazem. He took our group for the 6 nights / 7 days from Cairo to Abdul Simbel and the major historical sites in between at Luxor, Edfu and Aswan. Being an Egyptologist he is a wealth of knowledge and he has a warm and caring personality to match that makes the week of sight seeing, activities and travel an art form. His story telling into all the sites (around Pharaohs, God’s and Kings plus an occasional Queen) makes it easy to get immersed into the Egyptian history. You want to hear more and more and how the stories all end up and how they intertwine with other aspects of the Egyptian and world history.
You visit the sites of The Pyramids, Temples (each of them unique in their own way) plus The Valley of the Kings. You also get to visit an Egyptian family making bread, sail on a Feluca on the Nile and have High Tea at the famous hotel of Cataract in Aswan all of which are truely memorable and the photos that you take are memories that you will keep forever.
Travel tips: Make sure to book your tour to Egypt early (12 months if possible) with Insight Vacations to ensure you get the tour dates you want; at least 6 months in advance refer with your Doctor as some inoculations maybe necessary; take Egyptian pounds with USD as back up. Keep small 5 Egyptian pounds for any public toilet stops; take small pack of tissues, just in case; hand sanitiser; small sun umbrella , sun screen and insect repellant. Travel in mid October and you should experience late 20s in Cairo up to mid 30s in Abu Simbel.
My overall impression of Egypt is an absolute rewarding and enriching one. Yes there is chaos in the streets of Cairo with cars and the hustle and bustle of the people but that is what Cairo is all about. Yes there is the continual security checks but that is to make it safe for the tourists. All my time travelling around Egypt I felt safe. You are being expertly look after by an amazing tour company in Insight Vacations with their tour director and support network to make your trip and truely memorable experience!
In May I visited Montana & North Dakota. Fantastic destinations and something a little off the beaten track. Went to the Billings Rodeo, Medora Musical & the Shelby Car museum in Las Vegas
Visited Nashville & Memphis; which sang to my soul and had a couple of days in Houston. Just loved the Grand Ole Oprey & the Honky Tonks on Broadway. Visited Elvis in Memphis and thoroughly enjoyed Beale Street with its bars and bands. The music is fantastic and the food very interesting. The locals love to show off their cities and they are a must do destination if only to buy some cow girl boots. NASA was really interesting and a Baseball Game is a must do.
Just had a fabulous 3 weeks in Vietnam with a side trip to Bintan Island.
Travelling with family & friends we visited Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, had a week beach break in Hoi An and a two night cruise in Halong Bay. I can recommend Intrepid's Urban Adventures sightseeing tour and the Hoi An Street Food tour was a highlight of our holiday.
I have just been on a fabulous USA holiday visiting New Orleans, New York and San Francisco.
Jazz & the Blues bring the New Orleans French Quarter to life along the famous
Bourbon Street. Check out Frenchman Street, Preservation Hall, fabulous dining and take a ride on the Streetcars. Wander the streets with a drink to go and find a band on each corner. A must do is to head to Pat O'Briens for a Hurricane Cocktail and enjoy in a garden setting, an oasis from the busy streets. You could never be bored in New Orleans.
My highlight was the train from the Big Easy (New Orleans) to the Big Apple (New York). A really enjoyable 31 hour journey.
In New York, walk the Highline for an aerial view of the city. I really enjoyed the USS Intrepid and our private walking tour of the city. We travelled by train to Asbury Park, I was hoping to bump into Bruce Springsteen, but had a great day in Englishtown watching the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Race with all the fast & very noisy cars - always good to try something new.
San Francisco was lovely and I really enjoyed our SF Adventure sightseeing tour. A highlight was visiting Sausalito.
November 2010, I travelled to LA to visit Disneyland, Knotts Berry Farm, Universal Studios and cruised with Carnival to Ensenada with my children.
A 10 day Rail journey through Europe in 2008; we started with the Eurostar London to Paris and caught the overnight Elipsos Hotel train to Madrid, definitely travel Gran Class as you get your own bathroom. We travelled to Barcelona and the fast train only takes 2 hours. Visit the Gothic Quarter and find a small Tapas Bar. The Ramblas and Park Guell are two must do's. The Talgo train took us to Montpellier an interesting and beautiful city. A walking tour here is fabulous. The TGV took 3.5 hours to Geneva, then onto Montrieux where we connected to the Golden pass panoramic train and after two connections arrived in Interlaken. The Jungfraujoch Railway journey is 2.5 hours to the top of the Jungfrau. We trained to Lucerne and Alpnachstad and caught the Pilatus Cog Railway to the top of the mountain. We stayed in Strasbourg and Paris before joing the Eurostar back to London. A truly magical way to see Europe and the best part is that you depart and arrive in the centre of town as opposed to travelling by air. Most times you will be at your destination before your flight has departed.
I visited Vienna, Moscow, St Petersburg, Prague & Budapest in November 2003.. The overnight train from Moscow to St Peterburg is something to be experienced but St Petersburg on the 150th anniversary was stunning with a visit to the Hermitage a must. Peterhof has to be seen to believed. Old Town Square in Prague was my highlight and I would love to return.
It is possible to visit New York in three days but you are really running to see everything there is to see. Times Square and Central Park are two places to visit but I loved the Hop on Hop off Double Loop Bus Tour which takes in Uptown and Downtown. The cruise out to the Statue of Liberty offers a fantastic view of the most stunning skyline - downtown Manhatten. Grand Central Station is also worth a visit.
Bangkok has a lot of wonderful sites to visit and of course the shopping is incredible if looking for a bargain. Phuket is a great beach destination. A must do is a kayaking trip to Phan Nga Bay.
In May 2012 I flew Singapore Airlines to Hanoi and Halong Bay in Vietnam. I loved the French Quarter and I would recommend a 2 night Halong Bay cruise to escape the crazy traffic. A must is a Visit to KOTO (Know One Teach One) – just around the corner from the gates of the Temple of Literature. This restaurant is also an a education centre for under privileged children to be given a chance to learn hospitality. It is a chance to give the street kids a trade and many of them end up with jobs in various restaurants and hotels. The food is superb and I recommend a lunch or dinner as a highlight of the visit to Hanoi.
KOTO Cookbook 900,000VND (NZ$58)
May 2013 I experienced Emirates and travelled to Dubai. A great stopover destination and some how I managed to get frost bite in a desert. Shopping, swimming and great family entertainment.
May 2014 I tavelled to Fiji to experience the wonderful Mamanuca Islands. We visited Plantation Island, Treasure, Malolo, Mana, Tokoriki, Castaway & Liku Liku were wonderful and Musket Cove was my favourite.