As much as I adore this maddening city of Cairo, it is absolutely imperative to get out of the city as often as possible to maintain some degree of sanity, clarity and feel your lungs working again.
As Egyptians, we’re incredibly lucky to live in a country with such a diverse landscape and so many weekend getaways just hours away. The awesome weather in Egypt means you can travel pretty much anywhere every single weekend of the year, and tailor it according to the weather. Too cold to head to the beach? Try Siwa, the White Desert or Fayoum. Even a weekend in Ein Sokhna or Alexandria in the winter is refreshing, picturesque and well worth the commute.
The best thing about living in Cairo is that so many travel destinations are just hours away. You have the beautiful Fayoum and Wadi El Hetan (Valley of the Whales) under an hour away from Cairo. You have Ein Sokhna and Zaafarana just over an hour away on the Red Sea, and windsurfing/kitesurfing spots in Ras Sudr past the Suez Tunnel two hours away. Need i say more?
Fine, i’ll say more. There are the mountains of St. Catherine, the laid-back beach camps of Nuweiba, the excellent diving spots of Dahab, the pristine oases of Siwa and Bahareya. You have the expanse and massive Gilf Kebeer plateau in the Western Desert, the beautiful North Coast (what’s left of it) with its soft white beaches and high waves for the surfers and kitesurfers among you. And then there’s always the sandboarding and camping out in any of the many deserts.
And don’t get me started on the Corniche of Alexandria in the winter when the waves are high or the tranquility of Port Said and the serenity of Luxor and Aswan by the Nile.
I love this country fiercely, and with traveling so cheap these days, and so many local travel agencies and groups organising fun and affordably trips, this is the best time to pack up and take a short weekend trip to any of these destinations.
One day, when I grow up, I’d like to be a travelling food writer, so I apologise in advance for my obsessive photos of food, feet in water, and other nonsensical stuff that makes each trip that much memorable.