Tag Archives: contiki

Egypt: Plan Your Trip!

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Originally written for and published by: Texas Lifestyle Magazine 🙂

 

When I decided to go to Egypt over spring break, most people thought I was crazy. “But it’s not safe!” was still ringing in my ears as I landed in Cairo. Well, I promise you, fellow Texans, it IS safe (enough) and it is amazing. If this African country isn’t on your bucket list already, add it! There’s so much more than just pyramids to see.

Granted, I was part of a tour group—escorted by Sherif, our genius and congenial guide. Egypt CAN be a dangerous place, but so can every major city here in the U.S. You just have to be smart—don’t go off alone. Pretty normal, straight-forward travel advice for any third world country. Unfortunately, the impoverished state of the country is hard to miss—but there’s so much beauty to see as well.

We started off in the capital, which meant that the tour of the Great Pyramids (which you can see peaking between buildings as you drive through the city) was up first. I thought this was strange—to do the most exciting thing on Day 1, but I was very mistaken. The sphinx and pyramids where fantastic, don’t get me wrong (we even rode camels around them!), but I enjoyed the rest of the trip much more than expected.

After Cairo, our group set sail on the Nile—in a small cruise ship! The dollar goes far in Egypt—one of ours equaling to about eight of their Egyptian pounds. We wined and dined, lounged on the upper pool deck, and each time we docked, we were met with some of the most gorgeous sights we’d ever seen. Luxor, Edfu, and Aswan each presented their own treasures—temples upon temples upon temples, delicious food, insane markets, hookah lounges, vast museums, belly dancing, and of course, more temples.

Valley of the Kings was a highlight—we even went on a sunrise hot air balloon ride over it before walking through the tombs themselves. We also decided to take a quick flight to Abu Simbel, a massive rock temple that was my personal favorite stop of the trip—it was just simply majestic.

Hurghada was our last stop—we charted a yacht and snorkeled in the Red Sea! The water was brilliantly blue and we saw bright, beautiful fish and even got to hold a pufferfish. We also swam through so many purple Moon Jellyfish—they don’t sting! It was a great way to end the trip, especially since almost every other day had required quite a bit of walking! On that note—be prepared to sweat (it’s respectful to cover up as much as possible in Muslim countries—no short dresses or low-cut tops).

Egypt is such a historical place, but it’s more than just the mummies, gold, and hieroglyphics. It’s such a unique experience—you just have to go!

Peru, Tomorrow!

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my trip!

Checking off my 21st country mañana, and my first time in South America!

Peruuuuuuu, I’m ready for you!

Except not really.

First of all, I have officially waited too long to get any vaccines or prescriptions…which was highly recommended by my friend Tara, who spent months in Peru. She had three different vaccines and popped malaria pills like candy (along with Imodium and Pepto Bismol…those I DID purchase…Peru apparently can really eff with your tummy tum tum). She AND my friend Johanna both came back to the States with some sort of parasite. Cooooool.

Secondly, this is my second Contiki tour, but first time I haven’t really known anyone beforehand. On my first Contiki, we all talked on Facebook months before our trip, and we became fast Internet friends. When we all finally met in person in London, it was like we’d known each other for years. This time around, I’m not really sure what the deal is—no one is talking on our online forum, no one has started a Facebook group… I’m definitely feeling apprehensive about traveling alone.

Then there’s the packing. But that’s an issue every time I travel. I just work better in high-stress, last-minute situations sometimes. Packing is the pits and I intend to put it off for as long as possible, every single time. Today, instead of packing, I went to Krause Springs for a swim and then Carino’s for some skilletini and then I saw Magic Mike XXL. Yeah, my priorities are on point like that.

Lastly, this is my first trip away while in a serious relationship…I know, I know, I don’t want to be that annoying girl who’s like I’M GONNA MISS MY BOO! But I am. I am that girl. I was in Ireland just four months ago, and really, really missed him then. But we weren’t too serious then either…so much has changed in four months, wow! I even pathetically bought cutesy cards and wrote cutesy (disgusting) things in them, for him to open every couple days while I’m gone. Gross. Gag.

Anyway. Hopefully, I’ll post something awesome after I get back—maybe about Machu Picchu, maybe about Lake Titicaca, maybe about how impressed I was with my rusty Spanish skills (fingers crossed), but hopefully not in any way about my bowels.

That Time I Went to Europe

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One of the best decisions of my life occurred after I got accepted into TFA: I decided to quit my terrible cubicle job early and book a trip of a lifetime. I seemed to have blinked and suddenly been in Europe, surrounded by sexy Australian men. This was definitely a dream. Oh wait, that’s right, I was on a Contiki.

Now, on the days when living in the paradise of Oahu are bleak and exhausting, filled only with the frustrations of 7th graders, I think of these things:

London: Here’s where the streets were so cold and wet, but invigorating, like New York. Here’s where coats and boots walked past Westminister Abbey like it was nothing, while I snapped photos like the crazed tourist that I was. Here’s where Stonehenge, Bath, and Windsor Castle were a surreal, tiring day trip. Here’s where I went off on a red bus adventure by myself, finding it hard to leave Shakespeare’s Globe Theater. Here’s where I first met the insane and amazing group of people I’d be spending the next few weeks with, packed onto a bus.

Paris: Here’s where I ate bread and cheese and meat on the grass outside the Louvre and felt oh-so-sophisticated. Here’s where I walked what seemed like hours from the Arc de Triomphe, just for the highlight to be a divine banana crepe. Here’s where I was satisfied just photographing and waving to the Eiffel tower, because wasting time waiting in a line would’ve killed the temporary Parisian me.

Beaujolais Region: Here’s where I could’ve kissed under the stars for literally days. Here’s where a “gender bender” in a château sounded like the worst idea ever and quickly became the best. The picture says it all.

Nice: Here’s where I got sunburned but didn’t care because it was a French sunburn.

Monaco: Here’s where I fancied up like a Bond girl and pretended I was one at the casino; lipstick, heels, and poker chips.

Pisa & Florence: Here’s where I started finding it hard to breathe from all the beauty. Here’s where I took illegal pictures of the statue David with the friend David.

Rome: Here’s where I learned how lovely crumbling, ancient rock can be. Here’s where I dropped two pennies in a fountain and begged with all my existence for both of them to hold true to tradition (one for love, one to return to Rome one day). Here’s where we all wore I ❤ Rome shirts and wrote all over them with sharpies, drinking and dancing and then heading back to our cabins for showers and mischief and sleeping bags.

Venice: Here’s where I was enchanted by the movie-esque gondolas and prosecco. Here’s where I ate the best lasagna of my life, wide-eyed, wine-filled, wishing I could sing in Italian. Here I could’ve died happy, surrounded by pasta and tipsy smiles.

Dachau: Here’s where I felt the most sobered and grateful that I’ve ever felt.

Munich: Here’s where I genuinely enjoyed swinging a beer around, scarfing down pork knuckle, and yelling things in German that I didn’t understand, watching blondes in short green dresses prance about (here’s where I was a “real man” for a little while).

Amsterdam: Here’s where no amount of vodka or coffee shop muffin could prepare me for the things I saw at a live sex show, or in the red light district. Here’s where the Van Gogh museum reaffirmed my love for him. Here’s where I laughed in a taxi harder and longer than I knew physically possible.

Here’s where I could write a novel about each city, each person, and each meal. But instead, here’s where I leave out a few stops, a LOT of fantastic details, hilarious details, inappropriate details, and definitely a handful of significant details (there was not one single insignificant moment on this trip).

Can’t wait to go back (after all, I did spend a whole penny making sure that will happen).