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Old 04-22-2011, 02:18 PM  
Marco Polo Marco Polo is offline
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Istanbul, Greece, and Egypt

A buddy and I are going to backpack across Istanbul, Greece, and Egypt for two weeks at the end of May/early June. In Greece, we have a free villa to stay at in Athens so we were thinking of taking day trips to Delphi and Olympia, then do an entire day/night at Athens then go to some Greek islands, maybe Mykonos and Santorini before heading to Alexandria, Luxor, then Cairo/Giza.

Has anyone been to those three countries and have any recommendations and tips for a fellow international traveler?
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:20 PM   #2
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What is the name of your greek villa, Broke Back Mountain Inn?
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:23 PM   #3
Los Pollos Hermanos Los Pollos Hermanos is offline
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How safe is Egypt right now?
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:31 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by ChiefsfansofDallas View Post
How safe is Egypt right now?
how safe are any of those countries right now??
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:35 PM   #5
Garcia Bronco Garcia Bronco is offline
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I have a missionary friend who's been in contact with people in Egypt. I would recommend not going there
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:35 PM   #6
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Sounds awesome.. Do you have someone going with you that speaks fluent in those languages??
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:40 PM   #7
Los Pollos Hermanos Los Pollos Hermanos is offline
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Originally Posted by Pushead2 View Post
how safe are any of those countries right now??
I would think Greece is fairly safe.
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:47 PM   #8
KurtCobain KurtCobain is offline
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:48 PM   #9
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In Egypt, the stuff I'd recommend (in order) is as follows.

Note that I went in May of 2001 when it was merely dangerous. Nowadays you might want to check and see if you need armed guards. Even back then there were places where you had to check in and be accompanied by soldiers.

Also note that any Egyptian offering you anything to buy on the street is planning to rip you off. No exceptions. It's the culture there. They want to rip you off. In the restaurants and stores we actually didn't have a problem with that.

Third note. This is much better than typical third-world travel. They have a strong tourism infrastructure, so it's not a bad place to travel.


Must-see stuff.

Giza. Duh. If you get there early, they let 100 people a day into the Great Pyramid. Make every effort to be among those 100 people. I don't know if it's first-come, first-serve or random. In Cairo, it may be a good idea to hire a guide, which is cheap and can be valuable. Our guide knew how to get us into the pyramid and we otherwise would never have known. The boat museum there is really neat, too.

Saqqara. It's a little ways outside Cairo, but not that far. An absolute must-see. It's not really near anything, so it may be another reason to hire a guide. I think it was as cool as Giza was. The oldest pyramid is there, and it's like discovering an alien civilization. As a bonus, you get to see "real" Egypt driving to and from it.

Valley of the Kings. This is in Luxor, and you have to fly there. Maybe there's a train too, but outside the tourist areas there tend to be people who don't like westerners. People with guns and stuff, so flying is good. Another must-see place. You wander around in a rocky valley and enter the various tombs where you can see how the styles changed over the years. Tut is the big draw, but his tomb is rather plain. Other pharoah tombs are much more elaborate and interesting. You can also wander around the city of Luxor as well, which was the royal seat of power when they switched religions (King Tut's father). The main compound is fantastic, with a big temple complex where every pharoah would add their own unique touch.

Abu Simbel. It's down on the Sudan border, and there's nothing near it. I'm talking nothing. You fly down, take a bus there, and then fly out. But it's worth it. It's the giant warning statues that the Egyptians used to scare the heck out of the Nubians, and it would work. Good upclose Nile River experience too. When they built the Aswan dam, Abu Simbel was going to be underwater, so they moved the whole thing up the hill and it's right on the shore now.

Cool stuff, but not must-see.

Bazaars. Wander around the big bazaar in Cairo and get lost, but it's cool to do. There are smaller ones in other cities.

Egyptian Museum. In any other country it'd be great, but why not walk outside and see even more spectacular stuff? However, Tut's mask and tomb are here, so it might rise to must-see status.

Colossi. I can't remember if they're in Luxor or Cairo. It's two ginormous statues that were originally the entrance to a temple that must've been astounding. Everyone carted away the temple rocks to build their homes, but the Colossi were too big to steal. They're cool.

Temple of Hatshepsut. In any other country it'd be great, but it's pedestrian compared to the must-sees.

Aswan. Our guide recommended that we go there, but I'm not sure why. It was nice, but nothing spectacular. It's more of a resort town than anything.

Boat rides. I can't remember what those little boats with the triangular sails are called, but you can hire one out and do a picnic. Kind of cool. It cost us $10 for half a day in 2001.

City of the Dead. We went here in Cairo. It's basically a big ghetto that's built on a cemetery. If you have a guide they can probably point out some interesting stuff, but on your own it would only scare you.

Stuff I didn't see

There's some valley somewhere that's full of fossilized whale bones that would've been neat to see, I think. It's from back when the area was underwater.

It'd be neat to see one of the western oases, but I'm not sure how safe that is now.

It seemed like we should go to Alexandria, but our guide said it's not that interesting.

There's some resort on the Red Sea that's popular.

They used to have Nile River cruises, but had to stop them because militant peasants would shoot their blunderbusses at the boats. Don't know if they have them again or not, but it doesn't seem like much fun.
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Last edited by Rain Man; 04-22-2011 at 03:50 PM..
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:42 PM   #10
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Two Americans wandering around alone on the roads in Egypt?

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Old 04-22-2011, 03:51 PM   #11
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Good luck, but I think you should seriously think about the situation in those regions right now.

They're not really even stable for other locals.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:57 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Marco Polo View Post
A buddy and I are going to backpack across Istanbul, Greece, and Egypt for two weeks at the end of May/early June. In Greece, we have a free villa to stay at in Athens so we were thinking of taking day trips to Delphi and Olympia, then do an entire day/night at Athens then go to some Greek islands, maybe Mykonos and Santorini before heading to Alexandria, Luxor, then Cairo/Giza.

Has anyone been to those three countries and have any recommendations and tips for a fellow international traveler?
Not to be a dick.. but that's two countries and a city...
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:41 AM   #13
Marco Polo Marco Polo is offline
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[quote=Valiant;7584902]Sounds awesome.. Do you have someone going with you that speaks fluent in those languages??[/

From what I read and have spoken to people who live in those countries, basic English is spoken. I'll be in metro areas, and many people know English there. If I were in rural areas, I'd be SOL. I have been brushing up on basic expressions in Arabic.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:42 AM   #14
Marco Polo Marco Polo is offline
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Originally Posted by ChiefsfansofDallas View Post
How safe is Egypt right now?
The State Department said that Luxor and Alexandria is fine, but just be careful with Cairo. Cairo has almost twice the number of people as New York City. Tourism is big in Egypt and so I read that Egypt is going out of it's way for security forces around tourist spots.
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Old 04-23-2011, 08:47 AM   #15
Marco Polo Marco Polo is offline
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Rain Man, thanks for the post! I've been debating on whether or not to see Abu Simbel, so your narrative helps with me a bit more. I read that food poisoning is prevalent in Egypt and that they recommend eating a fat diet of mostly fried foods to ensure you don't get accidentally poisoned. What was your culinary experience?
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