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New Year Destinations: Been There, Done That

Sherry Roy


To take in some of the Egyptian capital’s magnitude, see the massive Citadel and Khan Al-Khalili bazaar. Leave driving to the locals and travel by taxi, or book a car and driver. Transfer to a camel at the pyramids and brave the gaze of the Sphinx.

Cairo, Egypt
Cairo certainly has a lot to live up to: the Jewel of the Orient, the City of the Thousand Minarets and the Melting Pot of Ancient and Modern Egyptian Civilizations are just a few of its titles.

Why go there
If any place has to live up to a mystic image of being the Jewel of the Orient or the City of the Thousand Minarets, Cairo certainly does. All your Arabian Nights fantasies come to life in this melting pot of ancient and modern Egyptian civilization, but be warned - visitors tend to enjoy Cairo in proportion to their tolerance levels to the vibrant colours and noise. Countless many will vouch that the open desertscape is the best place to welcome a daybreak, and needless to say, your New Year.
 

Top three things to do
  1. Check out the pyramids: The pyramids of Giza testify why they are among the Seven Wonders of the World. Wear your walking shoes, and carry lots of water, as a fair amount of walking is required. Wade your way through grumpy camels and inevitable hawkers to brave the gaze of the Great Sphinx that has been guarding the pyramids since 2500 BC.
  2. Cruise the Nile: Cleopatras of the world, unite! Floating on the Nile is perhaps the best way to take in this melting pot of ancient and modern Egypt. Take your pick: traditional feluccas, luxury cruises or ancient wooden fishing boats.
  3. Visit the Egyptian Museum: King Tut’s earthly goods are stashed here, and this is the place to be for a crash course in Egyptian history. With around 1,20,000 peculiar artifacts, this treasure cove is a must see. Since the Pharaohs lived some centuries before the modern air conditioners were invented, it would be a good idea to wear cool and comfortable clothes in this desert kingdom.

Where to stay
If pyramids are on your list of things to see, and your holiday not a long one, it would make sense to stay in or near the Giza to help you beat the heat (there’s no shade and the light is dazzling, mind you). The Movenpick Resort Cairo - Pyramids seems much quieter than other hotels around. With a selection of restaurants, cafes and bars, this resort also has a tennis court, gardens and large swimming pool (ah, water in the desert).

Local cuisine
Egyptians usually eat meats that are largely roasted or grilled, minced or whole, with chicken and lamb predominating. The traditional lunch of falafel, tahini and aubergine dips with local breads is certainly ‘full filling’. Grilled pigeon is a delicacy, to go along with their universal meal constant, rice.

Sydney, Australia
Sydney is very much like sparkling wine – bubbling by both day and night. It epitomizes the essential Aussie mentality - a bit brash, a bit cheeky but warm, outgoing and friendly. And like any good Aussie, it sure knows how to party! Sydney has something for every traveler – great beaches, sight-seeing, nightlife and its overall vivaciousness.

 
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