Thursday, May 28, 2009

Halloo from Aswan!

Sorry I haven't been able to update more often. For some reason my Blackberry wouldn't connect to the 3G data network- even though it saw that it was there. Now, in Aswan, it magically started working again.

Anyways, the short version so far is that we flew into Cairo through Frankfurt (disgusting airport) and took a bus to the Concorde Hotel. My roommate from Barcelona and his fiancee are also on the trip, so thats neat. The hotel... was a mess. Our tour director didn't really know what was going on, had assigned rooms and people wanted to room together. Plus, the hotel had one elevator, that was slow and could only handle four people at a time, and no stairs (yeah- no stairs, except emergency stairs). Plus, the rooms were a little grimey, and the AC didn't work. Then, he tells us that dinner is on our own event though we have the printout that says dinners are included. It took us FOREVER to find some place to eat. A big group of students were getting in a 2AM including some of my friends, so after sleeping a bit I woke up to welcome them (and help our Tour Director avoid another train wreck). It definitely helped.

The next day we took a bus tour around Cairo which was nice, and then back to the airport where we flew to Luxor. Once there we boarded the M/S Con Tiki which is AWESOME. Beautiful ship and accomodations. The next day was very busy. We visited the Valley of the Kings and saw the tombs of Ramses 1, 4, and 9. We passed King Tut's tomb but it was another 100 pounds to go inside so we passed. We then went to Al-Deir Al-Bahari Temple which was on the opposite side of a mountain along the Valley of Kings but was dedicated to a very popular ancient Egyptian Queen. We then went to the Valley of the Queens and saw two more tombs. Later that day we also visited the Luxor Temple and Karnak Temple. Yesteday we had a much easier day visiting the Edfu Temple, then sailing to visit the Kom Ombo Temple. That night we had an Egyptian Dinner where we dressed up like ancient Egyptians and ate Egyptian food.

Today we had some down time and later we will be doing an excursion. We're going to take a motorboat to a "camel parking lot" where we'll ride camels to a Nubian village where we'll learn about this culture of south Egyptians. Then we'll head into Aswan for a tour and some free time at an open air market (looking for some spices!) Tomorrow we go to the big dam that controls the flooding of the Nile Valley, and a sailboat ride. We'll also visit a perfume factory where they make the concentrated fragrances of many perfumes. Then, tomorrow night we'll board an overnight train back to Cairo for two more days of adventure before we head to Amsterdam!

Thats all for now- the internet in the cafe is too slow to upload photos or videos...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Check out our videos!

We'll be posting vides (when we can) to you can check them out here:

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Trip of a Lifetime Preview

In 14 days Katie and I will be off on a trip of a lifetime thanks to, and with, EF College Break. We'll be taking lots of pictures, and will have our Flip Video Cameras to capture moments that photos don't do justice! I'm also hoping to have my Blackberry the whole time, or at least during the second leg, and will use a new service called GyPSii which will allow me to upload a photo, along with GPS coordinates and a map so you can see where we are, and what we're up to, as it happens!

In any case, here is our schedule:

Saturday May 23rd: Fly out of Albany around 3PM to Philly, then to Frankfurt, and finally Cairo arriving on the 24th.

Sunday May 24th: Welcome to Cairo!

Monday May 25th: Excursion to Memphis, Sakkara, and Giza seeing the pyramids and Sphinx!

Tuesday May 26th: Take a flight in country to board the cruise ship.

Wednesday May 27th: First full day of the cruise on the Nile seeing Kom, Ombo, and Edfu.

Thursday May 28th: Horus and the Valley of the Kings (including King Tut!)

Friday May 29th: Last day of the cruise- Luxor and Karnak.

Saturday May 30th: Aswan High Dam, and then we board an overnight train back to Cairo.

Sunday May 31st: Last day in Cairo, and in Egypt with the UAlbany group!

Monday June 1st: Board a REALLY early flight to Athens and then to Amsterdam. We have a full day free in Amsterdam before we meet up with the other EF group (and we won't have any jet lag like the rest of this group will!)

Tuesday June 2nd: Welcome to Amsterdam with a walking tour.

Wednesday June 3rd: Sightseeing tour of Amsterdam and stopping at Anne Frank's House.

Thursday June 4th: Free day in Amsterdam!

Friday June 5th: Bus to Heidelberg, sightseeing tour (including the famous castle!)

Saturday June 6th: Bus to, and sightseeing tour of Munich.

Sunday June 7th: Travel to Venice, with a couple of hours in Innsbruck, Austria along the way.

Monday June 8th: Tour of Venice and free time!

Tuesday June 9th: Travel to the Lucerne region with a pause in Verona.

Wednesday June 10th: Sightseeing tour of Lucerne, optional trip to the top of the mountain.

Thursday June 11th: Bus to Zurich, and then train to Paris where we enjoy a walking tour and a cruise and get to the the Tower and Notre Dame.

Friday June 12th: Sightseeing tour of Paris and free time.

Saturday June 13th: Train to and sightseeing tour of London.

Sunday June 14th: Free time in London.

Monday June 15th: Fly home to Albany by way of Dulles. Arrive around 1:30PM EDT.

Tuesday June 16th: Back to work :(

Most of the trip will be in GMT+2 which is 6 hours ahead of East Coast time, except London, which will be 5 hours ahead. We'll be experiencing Arabic, Dutch, German, Italian, and French on the trip, and we will have to trade the US Dollars into Egyptian Pounds, and then Euros except for Switzerland (Swiss Francs) and England (British Pounds). This time of year Egypt averages highs in the 90's but lows all the way in the 60's (thankfully!) Europe will be in the 60's or 70's depending on the location, with lows in the 50's. Can't wait!