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Nile Cruise Holiday Diary

Posted by: orbital

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Here's  Day 1 of Chris'  Cairo & Nile Cruise Holiday Diary

Friday 13th February 2015.  

Friday the thirteenth, now that is a good date to be flying forty thousand feet above Europe! 

After checking out we left the hotel in the taxi at 9.45am and sat back while the driver was fighting his way through the heavy traffic. We eventually arrived at Heathrow at 11.15am where we checked in. The baggage check-in wasn’t open yet and we had to wait until it did before we could go into the departure lounge and to ‘the shops’. Once into the departure lounge area I bought some perfume, Roz bought a few odds and ends and then it was simply a case of waiting until we could board the Egypt Air flight MS778 which was leaving at 3.21pm to take us to Cairo. We didn’t encounter any problems boarding and soon we were sat in our seats on the Airbus 330-300 with a good view of an image on the wingtip of the ancient Egyptian god Horus who was there to look after us. Moving away from the stand we joined the queue of airliners waiting to take off and then sat at the end of the runway while the pilot wound the two huge jet engines up to full power. A short burst of speed and we were airborne and up through the clouds into the bright blue sky. Somebody mentioned food and soon dinner was served. It was a very nice meal consisting of cod with mushy peas and veg, salad and fruit. Turning the screen in front of me on, I half watched the old Elvis Presley film Jailhouse Rock and ‘nodded off’ a bit during the early parts of the flight. I have no idea what Roz was watching on her screen, or was she asleep as well? Crossing Europe we had a good view of Alps and then the coastline along the Adriatic Sea. I received a text message telling me that all was well for me to use my mobile phone in Egypt so I sent Keith a text message to try it out. I then thought why don’tI ring him up, so I did. He nearly dropped the phone when he realised it was me phoning him from 40,000 feet up in the air.

The flight had been a bit bumpy with air turbulence when we flew over the Alps, but this had settled down before we crossed over Greece and the Mediterranean Sea. The pilot gave us a very smooth landing at Cairo at 8.45pm local time. The clocks in Egypt were two hours on to ours at home. As our aircraft taxied to the Air Terminal Roz and I were looking out of the window at the lights of Cairo Airport. Once at the terminal we had plenty of time to look out of the window because we were sat waiting in the aircraft for half an hour until somebody could bring a generator along to the plane and we could all alight from it. 

Mena House Hotel, Cairo

Once in the arrivals lounge we soon spotted the Orbital Travel rep holding up his name board and made a beeline for him. He took us first to the visa desk where we paid £18 each for our tourist visas to enter Egypt. Then it was passport control and to the carousel to find our luggage. Roz found her bags straight away, but guess whose luggage was the last off the aircraft? Typical. Following the company’s rep we went out into the late evening Cairo heat. Oh no it wasn’t, it was freezing!

A couple called Dezzie and Antonia from Ireland joined us on the way to the hotel in the minibus. It turned out that they had been on the same flight as us and they were staying at the Mena House Hotel, the same hotel as we were. Cairo is the most heavily populated city in Africa and we had an hour and a half’s drive through it to reach our hotel. It is difficult to explain what the roads in Cairo are like. It was now late at night and the roads were still packed with every form of transport you could think of. There were huge trucks, buses, cars, motorcycles, cycles, donkey carts and pedestrians everywhere and it seemed that no road safety or any other form of traffic rules were in place to keep them all apart. Eventually we arrived safely at the Hotel at about 11.30pm where we checked in and were shown to our room, number 390. I had chosen this hotel carefully after a discussion with Greg at Orbital Travel about a year earlier and it didn’t let me, or Greg down. We ordered some toast and jam etc. to be delivered to our room and made ourselves a welcome coffee. By the time we had sorted both ourselves and our luggage out it was 2.15am and we ‘hit the sack’. 

You can also read Day 2 here.

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