A Travellerspoint blog

Take Me Away (from) EGYPT

You know the saying, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger?” Well, I never liked that saying. Now, though, after 4 days in Cairo, Egypt…I’m going to agree with it.

Out hotel for the weekend was straight out of the Tower of Terror movie (Disney of course). The elevator couldn’t make it up to our floor (7) without stopping at a lower level first to rest, and there were stains everywhere you looked. Our shower ceiling had holes in it and there were fixtures hanging from pretty much every ceiling. And this was a 4 star hotel!

The first night we got in to town late & were tired from travel, so we just settled into the hotel & went to bed. The next morning we rode to the Egyptian Museum for a tour. It was a very good museum, and I even got to see mummies!

Afterwards we headed to the Pyramids at Giza, the last remaining ancient wonder of the world! There are 3 big ones, and 3 crumbling little ones for wives & children of the kings. They were huge, even though somewhat eroded!

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We rode camels through the Sahara next, and even raced at one point! That was the highlight of the trip…very cool. It was really scary too because my camel walked sideways…poor guy must’ve had an ear infection or something because he was definitely off balance! Yep, it was a lopsided camel ride.

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Next we went to a papyrus museum where we saw how the ancient papyrus paper was made. We stopped for a buffet lunch afterward before heading to an oil and perfume museum. There we saw glassblowing and got to test out various natural essences, which were very cool.

That night we decided to order pizza in for dinner. We ended up going to bed pretty early.

Sunday we got up and rode to the Nile River for a cruise. We had our own little boat for 3 hours, and just cruised up & down laying in the sun, being lazy.

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We spent the rest of the afternoon lounging by the rooftop pool and swimming. We went to dinner that night on a boat. The food wasn’t that bad. Afterwards, we called it a night.

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On our final morning in Cairo we layed by the pool and swam some more. We were just ready to go home! We finally did get back to Cyprus that evening!

Soooo….

It doesn’t sound like we did that much I guess. Probably because we didn’t…we spent so much time waiting on drivers or having them get us lost in the landfill that is Cairo, that it took a lot longer to get places than it should have.

BUT, general thoughts on Egypt:
It was a check off my list, but I would never go back.
I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
It’s really bad when you don’t want to go outside or even out of your hotel room.
It’s scary, dirty, overcrowded, and polluted.
The men are ridiculously creepy…and I thought it was bad in Cyprus! Whew!
I was proposed to more times than I can remember.
The children WILL steal your drinks…even if you punch them in the face like Lauren.
People point and make a scene when Americans are around.
Ughhh….I’m home in Cyprus & still alive!

Now I’m just enjoying my last week on the island!!!

Posted by Stefani528 06:26 Archived in Egypt Comments (1)

Life Back on the Island

So, things have been pretty normal in the 2 weeks since I've been back from the Europe trip. We only had 1 week of classes left to attend, and this past week has been finals. I finished my finals yesterday and am so glad! I'm not officially a senior!

I've gone out a couple of nights since being back. We usually end up downtown a lot, and sometimes people will throw a party.

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We hosted a lunch party at our house for our 3 program directors: Maria, Angelo, and Mia. I helped Lauren cook the pasticcio (a Greek dish) and nothing was burned down nor was there any bloodshed. I'm such a homely kind of girl :). Anyways, we had tons of food, wine, and desserts. It was a really nice time!

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Last night was International Night at Intercollege. All different nationalities and groups had booths...it was sort of a fair. There was a big screen slideshow playing the whole time, a DJ, live band, and dancing shows. Lots of people made food local to where they were from. We were the 1st American group to ever have a booth. We sold rice krispie treats and chocolate chip cookies that we all made. We also set up a beer pong table to show everyone a "real" American game. It was a really fun night.

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Other than that I've spent all my time whipping out term papers, studying for finals, and most importantly laying out in the sunshine!

I'm off to Egypt for the weekend...how cool is it that I can say that? I'll be back on the island Monday night. After that trip I'm done to only 1 1/2 weeks here. There's a beach trip & lots of other stuff planned before I leave, so it should be a good time. I'm definitely looking forward to coming home though!

Posted by Stefani528 03:05 Comments (1)

Paris...Goodbye Europe

The next morning I woke up & we drove to Paris. We stopped at a truck stop on the way for lunch (fancy) and got to the city at 6:30. That night Erin & I went out & got crepes for dinner. We bought wine & just sat in a park by the Eiffel Tower. Once it gets dark…the Tower SPARKLES! I didn’t know that. It was so beautiful…definitely nicer than I had imagined.

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Day 2 in Paris began with a long & painful train ride to the Chateau Versailles. It was nice place, obviously, but definitely not worth the work it took to get there. We pretty much ran through it because it was so crowded.

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Afterward we had lunch near our hotel, where I got a gross salad & didn’t eat it. French food = no good. After I went back to the hotel to soak my knees & meet up with Linsey for the afternoon.

We went to Notre Dame during a service, which was really cool to be at. From the outside I didn’t recognize the cathedral. I pictured it dark – like in the Disney movie. Oh well, it was still gorgeous.

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We walked around the town, and to the Sorbonne, which wasn’t really impressive at all. The area around Notre Dame is very nice though. Everyone just sort of sits by the river and hangs out…which I seem to like to do in every city we go to.

We went across town to Champs de Elysses, but didn’t shop because it was a Sunday and everything was closed. We got to see the Arc de Triumph, which was nice, and do some souveneir shopping.

We rode the metro home and got Chinese take out for dinner. It was soooo good…not French.

I woke up and went to the Tullieries with Teresa before heading to the Louvre. The gardens were nice but nothing too spectacular. It was a beautiful morning, however.

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The Louvre is pretty much a city in itself. There is no way someone could cover that in one visit. It was a serious business kind of museum. I did get to see all that I wanted to see though. There were tons of paintings, which are always my favorite, and a few cool sculptures.

After the museum, I got to see Champs de Elysses when everything was open, since it is right there. A lot of shopping later, it was time to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower.

The ride to the top of the tower takes 2 different elevators, and is pretty intense. Once at the top, I was fine, but in those elevators…whoa! But the views of the city are absolutely beautiful, and definitely worth seeing.

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After that I was beat so I headed back to the hotel for the night.

On our final day in Paris we had only a few hours to spend, so I went off on my own looking to find a park to hang out in. Well, I found it and it was definitely my favorite place in the city. There were ponds, paths, tons of flowers, and people just being lazy everywhere. It was a nice way to end the trip.

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We had to take 2 flights back to Larnaca that day. The bus was late getting to us and by the time we were back at the house it was 5:30 a.m. It was an exhausting journey, but such a great one!

Posted by Stefani528 08:29 Comments (0)

Brussels & Amsterdam

Belgium & Holland

Day 10: We’re in the double digits now! Today I woke up and once again, got on the bus. We were in Brussels, Belgium 2 hours later. Here we got coffee and toured the European Parliament. We had a presentation here and got to this debating chamber as well.

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Later on we had a 3 hour tour of the city. We saw the Atomium from the last World’s Fair, Town Hall, and St. Michael’s Cathedral. In our free time we got Belgian Waffles!

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So, we took another lovely bus ride to Amsterdam, Netherlands where we stayed at the “Botel.” It was a boat, and a hotel. It was weird. The first night I had dreams about the fact that I was claustrophobic. Weird.

That night we went exploring & had some Amsterdam-style adventures. You know, stopped at a few fun shops and walked through the Red Light District.

The next day (Friday the 13th) we woke up & headed across town to the Van Gogh Museum. It was awesome, and I got to see a lot of his works I really liked. After we were done there we took pictures with the big Amsterdam sign and went to the Heineken Experience. It was also really fun.

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We had lunch at the Hard Rock Café...nachos! We walked to the Anne Frank House by the river. The museum they made out of the house was extremely good, and very moving. It was definitely cool to see.

We shopped a little and then went back to the stupid Botel to shower & get ready for the night. The plan was to go out…but I definitely laid down to nap for an hour…and passed out. I stayed that way until morning…I’m such an old lady.

Posted by Stefani528 08:26 Comments (1)

A Whole Lotta Places Somewhere in Europe

The Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial was extremely heart-wrenching, but I am so glad I got to see and experience it. The bunkers and crematorium as well as other buildings were still in place. It was unbelievable to physically see the remains of such an awful place.

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We boarded the bus and stopped a little bit away for lunch. I think by this point I had a McDonald’s salad from 4 or 5 different countries…not too cool. The ride to Strasbourg, France was 6 hours, so we watched the Sound of Music, which I had never seen before and wasn’t as awful as I thought it would be.

We got into Strasbourg at around 8 and I went out with Marcie & Teresa. Our French dinner was pretty bad – Teresa thought she ordered us soup when actually it was onion pizza. We walked around to see the few sights there were. The city was absolutely beautiful and I would’ve liked to live there. It was pretty small but the city church, opera house, and all the architecture were gorgeous.

This is one day I ate 3 meals, in 3 different countries. Breakfast: Austria. Lunch: Germany. Dinner: France. It was kind of an exhausting day.

Waking up in Strasbourg, we immediately boarded the bus to the Council of Europe. There we were given a tour, got to see the debating chamber, and had a presentation from some important guy…he was boring, that’s all I know.

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Afterward, we rode the bus to Luxembourg. We only spent about 2 hours there. It was enough time to grab lunch and explore a tiny bit, though. There wasn’t too much to do there and there was a ton of construction. It was a pretty pointless stop, but hey, now I can say I’ve been to Luxembourg...woohoo.

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Yet again we boarded the bus, this time heading for Leuven, Belgium. We got to our hotel and I changed quickly before meeting up with my friend Melde, from high school. She took a group of us around a little and out to dinner. I had some awesome pasta and good Belgian beer. After dinner, we all went to a few bars before heading in for the night. It was a lot of fun and I had a great time seeing Melde again!

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Posted by Stefani528 08:10 Comments (0)

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