For those who have been to Istanbul or are planning a trip, keep early April in mind to visit. It’s tulip season and there are literally hundreds of thousands of tulips all over the city. It is truly amazing! I also visited Dolmabahce Palace and the Chora Church for the first time and both were very interesting. I recommend walking up and down Istiklal Street and visiting some of the wonderful neighborhoods near Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque.
Sudan is not be to missed! It is truly off the beaten path. There are amazing archeological sites that are a continuation of all of the history and ruins you will see in Egypt. Combining Sudan and Egypt or Ethiopia would be an amazing trip. Sudan offers magical deserts and warm people. We visited several Nubian villages as well as towns along our caravan to the north. We ran into the nicest people I may have ever met in any country. On Friday night before the Call to Prayer in Khartoum, they have an extremely authentic Whirling Dervish show. It is not staged, but truly something the locals do every Friday night. With only 2,000 visitors a year, Sudan is an up-and-coming destination – get there before tourism invades it too much!
I also did a refresher trip to Egypt. While in Cairo, I suggest adding another day to visit Dahshur. We had the Red and Bent Pyramid all to ourselves. The Grand Mosque is a great addition to any itinerary but don’t miss the Al-Rifaai Mosque where King Farouk is buried. This and the Mosque-Madrassa of Sultan Hassan should be included in a visit to Cairo. There are some fabulous remodeled hotels such as the Hilton Resort & Spa in Luxor and the Old Cataract in Aswan. I also enjoyed sailing on the Sonesta St. George from Luxor to Aswan. Egypt is still as wonderful as it has always been. Get there soon as well… you will have the country to yourself, but not for long!
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