A couple of weeks ago I wouldn't blame you if you bumped Egypt down on your travel to-do list. The North African country was in the news a lot, and not for good reasons. The first bad report came over the holidays when a series of shark attacks near the resort town of Sharm-el-Sheikh resulted in four injuries and the death of a German tourist.
Less than two months later protestors took over the streets of the capital city of Cairo in a successful attempt to oust longtime leader Hosni Mubarak from a 30-year rule. The uprising featured a series of demonstrations, marches, looting, labor strikes, and violent clashes between the protestors and government supporters. Though the shutdown has subsided with the transition of power, many Egyptians fear that the negative thoughts outsiders may now have about their country are longer lasting.
My husband and I visited both cities back in November, only a few weeks before the craziness began. We started in the capital city for seven days filled with friendly people and the most amazing food, despite what we might have heard. The next time you are in Cairo you have to eat at the restaurant Tabouleh, home to the best Lebanese food I have ever eaten.
Then we took a one-hour plane ride to visit the beach town of Sharm-el-Sheikh. The city is located on the crystal waters of the Red Sea and situated at the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula, which attracts roughly three million tourists annually. We chose to stay at the MARITIM Jolie Ville Resort due to its close proximity to the airport and city center. But after arriving and seeing almost 50 acres of pools, restaurants, and five-star accommodations, the only time we left the resort was to check "Scuba Diving in the Red Sea" off our Bucket List.
I have to say our experience was nothing but positive. I know that the civil unrest may have been a long time coming, but like anything going through change, it will be a much better place for it.
Lisa Costantini is a writer/editor currently traveling the world with her husband working on a project about sport and culture. More information can be found on their website at www.whysportmatters.com.
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