Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Monday, December 10, 2012

Istanbul

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What?

You thought that if we bought tickets to go home, we’re really going? And skip this beautiful city? No, no, no, no... too many ties to my country’s and the world’s history. Nope, we had to visit, even if is just for four days.

Leaving the warm Egypt, we prepared for a thermic shock: Istanbul is with ten degrees latitude North of Cairo that translates in a difference of almost 40 degrees Fahrenheit in temperature. We layered all our clothes and hoped for the best.

These ladies are not playing, they're cleaning!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

In The City

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Flying from Cairo to Istanbul, there is certainly a cultural shock. I didn't expect such a dramatic contrast, after all what's the difference between Egypt and Turkey?

We spent three weeks in Egypt, we've been everywhere and it would have only been fair to spend at least the same amount of time in Turkey. Surprisingly - it is the sixth most popular international touristic destination, ahead of Great Britain or Germany. Turkey receives more tourists every year than all South America, three times more than Australia and New Zealand combined, five times more than Japan or Egypt! People come here from all over the world to see various ruins, Cappadocia, seaside resorts and, of course, Istanbul. I guess all I can learn from the statistics is that we have a pretty good chance of a vacation in Turkey sometime in our future. At this point we look at it differently. With time and energy running out and the winter coming, we had to settle for just a quick stop. To get from Cairo to Romania it is cheaper to stop in Istanbul.


Thursday, December 6, 2012

Cairo

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Again we’re moving in a block, eyes darting in all directions, reading the intentions of the people surrounding us. They know where they’re going, we have to huddle up so Mihai can look on the iPad to find the streets we’re supposed to follow to reach our hotel. We left Luxor early in the morning, boarded the train and passed the time people-watching, eating, working on the computer.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

5 Things That Make Egypt the Most Interesting Country Yet

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I might say that Egypt is my favorite country so far as well, but that might be a bit of exaggeration and a lot of relief from the fact that we're going home soon… so I'll just use the adjective 'interesting,' and go from there.

Interesting can mean a lot of things. It can mean interesting as in "lots to learn about it." It can mean "slightly negative situations you're being polite about." It can mean interesting as in, "haven't seen this before."

So, without further ado, here's my list.

The Best Museum in the World

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We left Luxor on a 10 hour train ride. The train came late and was getting later and later, it seems that it stopped more than it moved. We had first class. Periodically the conductor came to clean up the car of the scores of guys that didn't have tickets. It was an open layout, we observed the people. Foreign tourists were not allowed to travel on day trains in Egypt. It was the rule for a long time, and we have no idea if it is still on the books, we went to the train station, got the first class tickets and pretended that we know what we are doing. We did it so we could see the country, save some money and also because we were not in the mood for another night on the road. We were the only foreigners. Why wouldn't they let foreigners on day trains? Hard to tell, I doubt that there is an official explanation. The train had third, second and first class cars, the one we were on had some uncracked windows. Most others were broken, a mistery that would be solved in an instant, just a couple of hours into our trip. A very loud noise came from Ileana's side. She ducked, a rock had just hit and broken her

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Luxor

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There is no way to get around Luxor. This is the old Thebes, the ancient capital of the New Kingdom and the birth place (and domicile) of the most important god Amun-Ra. On the East bank of the Nile, 700 km from Cairo and 300 from Aswan, the city is experiencing a resurgence under a determined new mayor. At least that is what the Lonely Planet guide says. I bought a voucher for a hotel for three nights - non refundable. After previous adventures with hotels in Egypt, nobody would be surprised to find out that we arrived three nights later than we were supposed to and the hotel accepted our voucher and upgraded us to a little apartment at no extra cost. They rated themselves as three stars, I would give them maximum two, but they were nice. Plus they had a framed letter from a secretary of a member of "The" Royal Family, thanking them for being good hosts during the 15 minutes break that her highness took in their lobby. Thirteen years ago.
Temple of Hatshepsut, Luxor

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Turning Point

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The restaurant of the cruise is empty, besides Maria and myself—just the waiters changing the linens on the tables. Judging from their voices and gestures, they’re not too happy about a new batch of tourists, each with their whims and their steam blowing. I didn’t wake up on the wrong side of the bed—on the contrary, I was happy to escape the droning and the pervading fumes of the neighboring boat’s engine—just that I don’t feel inclined to find excuses: for the miserable western food (the juice, the milk are watered down, the desserts seem emptied from a can, and everything else is weird tasting—it’s not easy to follow a recipe if you don’t know what the result is supposed to look and taste!), for the forced jokes of the waiters trying to make us smile and have a “good time”, for the sky-high prices of everything not included in the service (a British woman tried in vain to convince the manager that 15 euros for a glass of juice is not a normal price!), for everything. I’m tired and the day has just started.

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