The Best Ski Bags For Flying


Skiers who travel long distances for their ski vacations understand that having the right ski bag is an essential part of their travel agenda. As opposed to renting skis at the mountain, which doesn’t always guarantee the proper feel and fit, most skiers have a special affinity for their own skis. As such, they prefer to check their skis along with their suitcase at the airport. The proper ski bag will ensure that their equipment arrives safe and sound and ready for the slopes. Ski bags are also popular for day trips to the mountain. Here are the top rated ski bags.

Fall Line Ski Roller Bag, Dakine

This sturdy, popular ski roller bag has all of the features skiers need to tote their favorite skis. Lightweight with room for two pairs of skis, a set of poles and a removable boot bag, it’s a great solution for every kind of ski trip, and it packs down tight for easy storage. Navigation through an airport is easy thanks to the tow handle with a rolling luggage bag, and the zippered external pocket keeps gloves, hats and travel papers easily accessible. $145

High Sierra Deluxe Wheeled Double Ski Bag

The main compartment holds two pairs of skis of up to 170 centimeters in length, making use of a padded center to protect the bindings and to keep your gear from being thrashed around en route. This ski wheel bag is made with a water resistant coating that helps keep your gear dry from unwelcome rain or heavy snow showers. There are adjustable compression straps on each end, and long webbing handles can be used as a shoulder strap. All in all a very versatile bag. $143

Salomon Extend 1 Pair Ski Bag

A new, more durable fabric coating that stands up to abuse. Auto adjusts and easily expands from 165 cm to 185 cm. A full zipper and auto adjust straps make it easier to access and carry skis. It’s designed with waterproof fabrics inside the sleeve and it offers stability and durability because the ski sleeve is reinforced at the bottom. $70

Unisex Racing Hero Ajustable Ski Bag

The Hero Ski Bag is a World Cup circuit, heavy-duty ski travel bag for two or three Alpine skis or four pairs of Nordic skis. Made with rugged Polyester and PVC coating, it features a convenient full-length zipper, adjustable shoulder straps which are great for shared use and compression straps. It easily fits skis up to 210 cm. It has one large compartment for skis and poles. $100

Transpack Hard Case Shuttle

Securely transports a single pair of skis, including wider skis, and poles. Constructed with a high density polyethylene, it features an adjustable length and securely accommodates skis from 114 cm to 208 cm. The front handle is ergonomically designed to comfortably hold the case while rolling. A variable length Notch Locking System allows for both a hitch pin and TSA lock at the same time. With rugged low-profiled wheels and molded handles, it offers easy lifting. A foam padding protects tips and tails. $140

Sportube Ski Shield

A wide variety of features along with high quality materials takes the hassle and worry out of traveling with your skis. A well-padded ski compartment protects your skis during flight, and durable and quiet inline skate wheels make for easy transport throughout airports. Other features include internal pockets for personal items along with external and internal load control straps. It comes in an array of striking colors. $240

Athalon Single Ski Bag

Constructed of high density polyester with waterproof backing, this bag holds one pair of skis up to 180 cm, and it contains adjustable cinch straps to keep them firmly and securely in place. It’s fully padded end to end for ultimate protection of your gear and has interlocking zippers. Athalon has been making quality ski accessories for many years and this ski bag is no exception. $70

Thule RoundTrip Double Ski Bag

This is a spacious, rolling ski bag that fits two pairs of alpine skis up to 192 cm in length plus poles. Skiers can store additional items such as goggles and ski hats in an internal zipped pocket. Unlike more cumbersome bags, you can easily transport your skis with smooth wheels and multiple grab handles on the ends, top and side of bag. Gear keeps from shifting with internal and external compression straps. $280



Cheap flights to New York guide including booking tips and best deals


New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town… until you see the sky high prices that can come with a visit to the US city.

The good news is that despite its reputation, it is possible to see the Big Apple when you’re on a budget.

In fact, there are cheap flight deals to be found – and if you pair that with a stay at one of New York’s best cheap hotels , that could leave you with some extra cash to explore the City That Never Sleeps. (You may want to check out our tips for sightseeing on a budget ).

To give you a helping hand, we’ve put together a guide for finding cheap flights to New York including the best places for deals and the things you need to know before you travel.

Check out the guide below…

What to know before you book

  • You need to get a visa: Before you travel, you’ll need to apply for an Electronic System for Travel Authorisation (ESTA) . Make sure to do this at least three days BEFORE you leave for New York.
  • There are two NYC airports for international flights: JFK International and Newark. Both are about a 45-minute drive from Manhattan, but are on opposite sides. When you book, make sure to double check which airports you’re flying to/from (especially for the return journey as you don’t want to be at the wrong departure point!).
  • Cheapest time to go: Mid-January to February. However the best time to go for warm weather is between April to June and September to November, either side of the summer heatwaves.
  • Book ahead: NYC is a big city so it’s worth planning parts of your itinerary ahead of time so you don’t miss out on the top attractions. Our New York City guide is packed with top tips on the best attractions, restaurants and more insider tips.

New York is one of the new destinations

Best places to find cheap flights

As the Big Apple is such a popular destination, the good news is that there are plenty of direct flights from the UK – and you can find some budget-friendly fares.

We take a look at the airlines with cheap direct flights to New York below…

British Airways: BA has direct return flights from £260pp to JFK International with London airport departures. It’s worth noting that the cheapest fares are often based on hand luggage only.

Read More

Exploring New York City

Virgin Atlantic: The airline has direct return flights from around £420pp to JFK International with both London and Manchester departures. It’s worth noting that the cheapest fares are often based on hand luggage only.

Norwegian:  Norwegian has direct flights from £139.90 each way to JFK International from London Gatwick.

If you’re not fussed about a stopover, then it’s worth checking out websites like Skyscanner where you can find return flights to New York from £228pp .

Thinking of a package deal instead? Lastminute.com and Expedia can be good sources for New York City breaks, while TravelSupermarket can be handy if you’re able to be flexible with your travel dates.





Former Walney resident publishes Spain travel guide


A FORMER Walney resident is publishing a book about one of Spain’s most commonly misunderstood regions.

Sarah Farrell, 55, who lived on Church Lane in Walney Island for over 8 years and worked as a sub editor at The North-West Evening Mail during that time, upped sticks in 2005 and moved to Dénia – a small port city between Alicante and Valencia, on Spain’s Mediterranean east coast – after holidaying in the area on several occasions.

Having lived and worked in Spain since then, Ms Farrell’s travel guide – entitled ‘Visit Alicante’s Myths and Legends’ – is largely drawn from years of personal and professional experience, as well as her own research.

“A lot of people think this area is just Benidorm. But it really has so much more! So the book is largely about encouraging people to venture a bit further inland when they come out this way and to visit these areas”.

In particular, her travel guide highlights the rich cultural heritage left behind by the Islamic Moors, who ruled and inhabited parts of the Iberian peninsula up to the Spanish ‘Reconquest’ that took place between the eighth and 15th centuries. The book also uncovers the stories behind some of the area’s stunning natural beauty spots.

“Even with Alicante, a lot of people just go through the airport – which is a real shame”.

Ms Farrell worked at The Mail when some of paper’s biggest stories in recent times broke, such as the discovery of Lady of the Lake murder victim’s body and the escape of a white rhino from Dalton Zoo in 1999.

As was the case with Furness, Ms Farrell was drawn to Alicante by the warmth of its locals.

The author also believes her new Mediterranean home shares something with her old one: “Walney is still a well-kept secret, with the castle and brilliant beaches.”





Your travel guide to Thailand’s Wonderfruit Festival


Dubbed ‘The Burning Man of the East,’ Wonderfruit Festival brings a welcome break to the out-of-season festival drought.

There’s nothing quite like it in South East Asia with its blend of hedonism, escapism and global music. Attendees jet in from all around the world; it’s a mix of the fashionable Bangkok set, dance music lovers from across Asia, Hong Kong and Singapore ex pats and the international festival tribe.

Wonderfruit is a sustainable pop-up city, set over the fields of the Siam Country Club near Pattaya. The festivals founder, Pete Phornprapha, started the festival with the aim of changing the world primarily by creating a ‘sustainable creative experience’ for the 20,000 festival goers and influencing them to take this ethos home with them. ​

Wonderfruit’s carbon footprint is neutral and its impressive stages are built from sustainable materials such as bamboo and hemp. Even using the simplest local materials the festival has created a spectacular backdrop for the four-day party.  

What to see

You cannot miss Polygon the spectacular 3D sound stage and with sound and visuals like you’ve never experienced before. The daily lineup begins with a beautiful and immersive sound bath followed by a range of live performances and underground DJ sets. Techno legend Be Svendsen will play at Polygon and will take you on a deep and experimental journey. Also keep an eye out for sets from Berlin’s Martha Van Straaten and London based DJ Hugo Heathcote and one of the founders of Polygon. You’ll find yourself continuously drawn back to this stage over the weekend and each time you return your experience will be completely unique.

The Quarry is a beautiful stage ‘where beats meet nature’ curated by tech house giant and founder of Houghton festival Craig Richards. Make sure you catch Craig’s own set as well as catching Sonja Moonear whose sets are often the highlight of any festival. Expect sophisticated minimal techno blended with deep, dubby house.

Packed up and sent over straight from the Black Rock Desert after its use at Burning Man, The Solar Stage is built using interlocking wooden panels which all balance perfectly with no need for screws or bolts. Still able to take the weight of hundreds of people dancing and relaxing on it, it’s the perfect spot for sunset and sunrise and has become the spiritual home of the festival. Don’t miss Four Tet’s set at the Solar Stage – it will be magical.

When you’re not listening to music or dancing there are endless activities. Open your mind and listen to perspective shifting talks at the Eco Pavilion or indulge in an alternative therapy session in the Wonder Ness, try Yam Khang also known as Thai Fire Therapy – not as terrifying as it sounds! You can also try an energy collecting session, a water ceremony, crystal gong bath, mystic meditation and so much more. 

Where to eat

Each evening you can attend a special communal dinner in the stunning restaurant Theatre of Feasts. On the first night Michelin Starred Bangkok restaurant 80/20 will serve a sustainable seafood supper.

The following evening Internationally renowned Bo.Lan restaurant in Bangkok will present a sumptuous Thai-Sri Lankan Wonder Feast and on Sunday you can join a plant-based brunch with Haoma using all low impact home grown and seasonal ingredients. Each banquet comes with free-flowing wine to get you loosened for the remainder of the day. If it’s more off the cuff eating you’re after, you’ll find every form of street food stall from burgers, Sri Lankan curries, the best pad Thai you’ll ever try and other local treats. 

Kamp Kerala

Where to stay

There is general camping or you can park an RV. With soaring temperatures, you’re likely to bake if you’re going to sleep in during the day so boutique is a comfortable option so you don’t have to wake up early. The standard boutique set up is a bell tent similar to those found at UK festivals but with much welcomed set of fans or an air conditioning unit (depending on what you book) with two double beds, luxury showers and loos. You’ll stay cool and happy in the tropical surroundings with the bell tents dotted in between palm trees. The setting is stunning.

Camp Kerala, Glastonbury’s most luxurious campsite, is also an option although it will set you back £10K for two people. This includes a 24-hour bar and room service and you’ll be staying in a beautiful tent made from materials which have been handmade in India. The famous campsite is family run and these Brits will look after your every whim, including ferrying you around the grounds and making you ice cold cocktails to quench your thirst.  

What to pack

It is boiling during the day and with so much going on at night (plus the jetlag) you may well become more of a night owl. Pack light clothes and comfy shoes for exploring the festival grounds. It’s a pretty relaxed and eclectic crowd, some people dress like it’s Burning Man, some like it’s Coachella and others in t-shirt and shorts. There’s no festival uniform as such. 

A kimono is ideal for the evening. Save some room in your bag for the little shopping village, and head to the kimono store where you’ll find some amazing handmaid pieces straight from Japan.

Insider tips 

Keep an eye out for Pearl & Celeste, a giant puppet ballet. You’ll find them dancing around the Solar Stage at sun set. 

Have a ride on one of the stunning horse bicycles designed by Attaphol Sudawannasuk, which are made from recycled and culturally significant materials dedicated to the Great Thai King of Thonburi.

Find The Cheese Shack if you fancy a bit of karaoke, it’s inside a tree and based on Tokyo’s underground karaoke bars.  

Wonderfruit Festival runs from December 12-16, 2019 at the Siam Country Club; 50 Moo 9, Pong, Bang Lamung, Chonburi 20150, Thailand. 

wonderfruit.co



Gift Guide: Luxury Beauty Gifts No One Will Suspect You Bought on Amazon


As the holidays get closer and closer, there’s always that one person on your list who’s hard to shop for or a stocking that needs last-minute stuffing.

Luxury beauty gifts — from makeup palettes to skincare sets — are always fun to receive (and shop for). In shopping for these gifts, you might even want to buy some of these items for yourself. And if you think you have to trek to the mall or a department store to find these high-end products, think again. Every item on this list is available on Amazon to make your holiday shopping that much easier. 

Related: Gifts for Women Who Love to Travel

Love a great deal? Sign up for our T+L Recommends newsletter and we’ll send you our favorite travel products each week. 



Positano travel guide to know what to do in the Italian city


Positano is amongst the most scenic towns of Italy. The place is filled with positive vibes and the Italian feel in the air. Apart from the picturesque beauty of this Italian city, it also offers great food and amazing experiences. Thousands of tourists bombard this city to enjoy the serenity of Italy. However, if a travel enthusiast is searching for information on things to do in Positano, then here is the list-

Things to do in Positano

Skirt the Coastline on a Vespa

To truly enjoy the Amalfi coats, driving is the best way to explore and experience the serenity heartfully. However, driving on the coastline can be dangerous, but people who have faith in their driving skills can rent a two-wheeler, especially the most popular vehicle of the town Vespa and ride along the places enjoying the breeze and the scenery of the destination.

Also Read | Alleppey to Goa, hit these tropical destinations for soaking up some sun during the winter

Take the Boat to Da Adolfo Positano

Da Adolfo beach is marvellous, and its beauty is surreal to all the eyes that look at it. The place is usually crowded, and it is hard to walk around from one corner to the other. However, instead of walking and indulging so much in walking and exploring, a person can enjoy the beach on a boat. Finding a boat is not at all a task here; it can be found anywhere in the area. The boat shuttles only works from May to September. Da Adolfo is closed for the rest of the year.

Also Read | Check these five camping destinations with a sea view near Mumbai

Hike to Montepertuso

The name of this place in Positano means “hole in the mountain”, which refers to the ginormous structure of the rock that travellers witness. According to the ancient tales, Montepertuso is the place where the battle between the Devil and the Virgin Mary occurred, and the giant hole in the mountain was created by the index finger of the Virgin Mary. It has become an ideal place for hiking in Positano. The place has several enjoyable paths which connect the hamlet of Montepertuso to the Lattari Mountains.

Also Read | Germany: The best offbeat destinations to visit in this country

Also Read | 7 Wonders of the World: Plan a trip to these destinations in just 31 days





Cancun: Complete Travel Guide 2019


Image source: barcelo.com

With its incredible beauty and world-renowned reputation, Cancun is one of the most visited destinations in the Riviera Maya and Mexico. This great destination welcomes millions of families every year who want to relax and enjoy the great activities and adventures this destination has to offer.

This great city has activities for all types of travelers, from lovers to adventures, those who prefer to delight in gastronomy, those who choose to learn about the history and legacy of Mayan culture, and even lovers to shopping.

Cancun and its surroundings will undoubtedly offer a wide variety of activities and things to do for each of the visitors who travel to this great destination in Mexico.

In this guide, you will learn all about Cancun, and know some tips you can put into practice and will be very helpful in your next vacations in Cancun and the Riviera Maya.

Where is Cancun located?

Image source: tripsavvy.com

This great destination is located in the northwest corner of the state of the Yucatan Peninsula. This city is located on the Caribbean coast in the state of Quintana Roo.

How to get to Cancun?

For the vast majority of international visitors, they arrive at Cancun International Airport (CUN), which is the second most important airport in Mexico, which every year receives millions of travelers looking to enjoy this destination in the Riviera Maya.

How to get around Cancun?

Image source: caribjournal.com

In this city, you will find a great variety of ways to get from Cancun airport to any desired destination in the Riviera Maya (downtown Cancun, Cancun Hotel Zone, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Akumal, Puerto Aventuras, Puerto Morelos, etc.).

  • Transportation by bus (ADO)
  • Taxi service
  • Car Rental (City Car Rental)
  • Private transportation (eTransfers)

What’s the weather like in Cancun?

Cancun has a warm climate (subtropical) almost all year round, so this destination has an excellent atmosphere and enjoyable at virtually any time of year, so visiting it on any day of the year can be a good idea.

When is the best time to travel to Cancun?

Image source: vallarta-adventures.com

In the previous point, we saw that Cancun has a beautiful climate and quite complete. However, this same has different seasons to visit throughout the year.

High season (from November to December)

These months are undoubtedly the best to visit Cancun, since, at the moment, in most countries, it is winter. However, Cancun has a perfect climate to be able to enjoy these dates. The only important point is that this tempered is the most expensive to travel to Cancun.

Mid-Season (January – July)

This same season is excellent, however, in this season, there may be some rains that will not last more than a few hours, traveling in this season is perfect, and you will not spend much.

Low Seasons (August. October)

This season is considered the lowest of all, traveling in these months can be an excellent idea if what you want is not to spend too much.

What to visit in Cancun?

Image source: civitatis.com

Now yes, the most important thing and what makes Cancun as one of the most essential destinations in the Caribbean, no doubt, this city will provide a lot of attractions and activities to do when traveling to the Riviera Maya.

Ecological Parks (Xcaret – Xelha)

Just 45 minutes away is one of the most critical ecological parks in the world and every year receives a large number of visitors who want to enjoy their holidays, Xcaret is known worldwide for its natural beauty, its incredible and emotional night shows.

On the other hand, Xel-ha is known as the largest and most crucial ecological park in the world. This magnificent park will offer hours of fun to you and to the people you travel with, in order to make your vacations the best.

Beaches of Cancun

The first thing you think about when you hear Cancun, are its beaches. Indeed, Cancun has a great variety of clowns known worldwide for their distinctive “blue flag,” which is a distinction given to beaches that offer a complete and unique experience to visitors, the most emblematic beaches of Cancun, are:

  • Turtles Beach
  • Dolphins Beach
  • Beach lobster
  • Caracol Beach
  • Las Perlas Beach
  • Chac Mool Beach
  • Nizuc Beach
  • Punta Cancun Beach

Each of these beaches will offer you and your family hours of fun and relaxation from the moment you decide to visit them. Also, each of these beaches has restaurants, parking, restrooms to give you the most attention.

Night Centers

Something more characteristic of Cancun besides its beaches are its nightclubs, which are known for offering hours of fun and living with friends or family. One of the best known by the people who visit Cancun is Coco Bongo, which every year receives a large number of visitors who want to know your incredible night show that certainly can not forget the moment you live this great experience.

Some other nightclubs in Cancun are

  • The City
  • Dady’O
  • Mandala
  • The Vaquita
  • Antique
  • Havana

Cities near Cancun

In addition to this great destination, you will have the opportunity to visit another of the most emblematic destinations of the Riviera Maya, which is Playa del Carmen, which is the fifth Avenue (world-famous for its establishments and sightseeing tours), is also Bacalar, which is the lagoon of seven colors, in addition to another emblematic city of the Riviera Maya, is Tulum, another top destination of Quintana Roo.

Some other attractions you can visit are:

  • Morelos Port
  • Puerto Aventuras
  • Akumal
  • Isla Mujeres
  • Holbox

Undoubtedly in Cancun, you will find a lot of attractions and activities to do, another visit not to be missed is, visit Chichen Itza.

This was a guide that will give you a lot of help if you want to travel to Cancun or any other destination in the Riviera Maya. We hope it will be of great help to you and you can enjoy your vacations in Cancun.



How to Be a Travel Warrior This Thanksgiving Holiday


With just a day left before Thanksgiving, hordes of travelers are expected to crowd Logan Airport and the roadways Wednesday for one of the busiest travel days of the year.

Nearly 1 million travelers are expected to pass through the Boston-based airport between Wednesday and next Tuesday as they come and go from the Hub for the holiday. A whopping 1 million drivers are expected to hit the roads to get to their holiday destinations.

Planning to travel for the holidays? Here are some helpful tips to make your life easier:

Attendance at Logan Airport to Swell for Thanksgiving TravelAttendance at Logan Airport to Swell for Thanksgiving Travel

Traveling by air

Bad weather in the middle of the U.S. is expected to delay numerous flights Wednesday as snow squalls slam states like Colorado and Minnesota. Passengers are encouraged to check the flight of their status often to see if it is delayed, on time or worse – canceled.

Check with your airline to see if your flight is affected in any way.

Getting to the airport

The Massachusetts Port Authority is urging travelers to take public transportation because parking at Logan Airport is expected to be at full capacity the next few days.

Those who would rather be picked up by a rideshare will note that the services have been moved to a centralized location. Travelers will need to head to the Ride App pickup location at Central Parking, which is on the ground floor of the central parking garage.

Massport encourages travelers to include extra time in their plans for traffic and an increase in lines at the airport.

How to Carve a Turkey, Just in Time for the HolidaysHow to Carve a Turkey, Just in Time for the Holidays

Driving to your destination

If you’re driving to get to your holiday festivities, try to avoid getting behind the wheel Wednesday evening. AAA says the worst time to travel on Wednesday in Boston will be from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., when delays will be up by triple the normality.

When it comes to returning home, the best time to do so is in the middle of the night. Google says the early bird gets the open highway worm since the best time to depart from the festivities would be 3 a.m. Sunday

Motorists are encouraged to take it slow on the road Wednesday and Sunday since showers will create slick conditions those days.

Public transportation

Those who are traveling locally enough where public transportation will suffice should know the MBTA will run on a regular weekday schedule on Wednesday, except for the Hingham/Hull ferries.

The T will run on a Sunday schedule on Thursday.

Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Through the YearsMacy’s Thanksgiving Parade Through the Years





Cairo: Where ancient history meets modernity | DW Travel | DW


Praying not to lose my nerve halfway I took my first step into the tunnel. A fleeting sense of surrealism hit me for braving my intense claustrophobia to enter Giza’s second-largest — 136-meter tall (446 ft) — Pyramid of Khafre. The air felt thin and the temperature rose significantly in the narrow 54-meter long (177 ft) sloping passageway, which ended in a dimly-lit burial chamber. Taking a quick look at the embedded solid granite sarcophagus while trying not to think about the countless stone blocks above me, I took a deep breath and made the challenging return climb to daylight.

Egypt,the pyramids and the Sphinx lit up at night (DW/E. Kheny)

The pyramids and the Sphinx spectacularly displayed in a sound and light show — which is narrated by the Great Sphinx

Three generations, three pyramids

I had actually caught my first glimpse of the Pyramids of Giza the night before, where I attended the sound and light show. Costing €17 ($19 USD) it is entertainment on a large scale involving backlighting, hieroglyphic animations, and the narrators’ voices echoing through the Sahara Desert. Spellbound by the stories of the Pharaohs, their families, and subjects, one hour passed swiftly. In their unwavering devotion to the many gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt, 30 dynasties spanning 3,000 years (3100 BC – 332 BC) built numerous pyramids, temples, and tombs all over the country.

Egypt - The Great Pyramid (DW/E. Kheny)

The Great Pyramid is the last standing wonder of the ancient world

In the Fourth Dynasty of ancient Egypt, the large, world-famous true pyramids with a square ground plan and smooth surfaces running to the top were created. Pharaoh Khufu — also known under the Greek name of Cheops — began the first Giza pyramid project. For him the Great Pyramid of Giza was built, followed by slightly smaller ones for his son Khafre and grandson Menkaure. Since then on these three principal iconic pyramids of Giza, about 15 kilometers (9.3 mi) from the center of Cairo, remind us of three father-son generations of the Old Kingdom.

In the shadow of the Great Pyramid 

Egypt, woman takes selfie in front of the pyramids (DW/E. Kheny)

The obligatory selfie taken in front of the pyramids

The modern city of Giza (which belongs to the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area) is moving ever closer to the three pyramids, almost destroying the illusion of immersing oneself in history. Only busy congested roads separate the sprawling city from the desert around the pyramids, where humans cavort like ants. There are buses and cars everywhere, and people on camels and horses are thronging to the three great sights that are listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is the peak tourist season in Egypt and this can be seen in the number of tourists. I drift with the crowd and arrive in the shadow of the Great Pyramid of Giza (also known as the Pyramid of Khufu). A pleasant break from the harsh Egyptian sun. The building towers 139 meters (456 ft) into the sky. Looking up the large stone blocks of limestone and granite seem to have been endlessly stacked on top of each other. The pyramid is said to consist of more than 2 million of these blocks! I let my hand slide over one of the smooth stone blocks and pictured it being mined in the quarry and transported on the Nile river. More than 4,600 years ago! When it was completed, the pyramid was entirely covered with white polished limestone. Today this layer is no longer visible, so visitors have to imagine the past splendor of this still impressive building.

In the next hours, I learn that all pyramids served as tombs for the pharaohs, which were equipped with everything required to travel to the afterlife. In ancient Egypt, people believed that the blue sky was a sea to be crossed after death in order to live on forever. And for this the pharaohs needed ships. Five long pits have been excavated, which were known to contain boats used by Pharaoh Khufu during his lifetime. Such a vessel, found in 1954 and reconstructed with 1,224 pieces of wood, can be seen in the museum next to the pyramid. Here visitors can see how the ancient Egyptians planned a burial.

Egypt’s revolutions have damaged tourism

Pyramids of Giza on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo (Getty Images/K. Desouki)

The pyramids are not far from the city center

After an exciting morning in Giza, I headed for downtown Cairo, to Tahrir Square. It was the epicenter of the protests during the 2011 revolution, which led to Egypt’s then-President Muhammad Hosni Mubarak being ousted from office. Since then, the square has had a reputation. And that can still be felt today. On the one hand daily life prevails, on the other hand heavily armed policemen patrol it. The square is under constant close surveillance. So too are all the tourist attractions. There are many security precautions such as car inspections, metal detectors, security forces and cameras. And yet I feel safe. The signs in English, the friendly people and the tour guides who help me to overcome the language barriers give me an even greater sense of security.

35-year-old travel guide Muhammad Samara explains Egypt’s recent history to me: “We not only had a revolution in 2011, but also in 2013. Both had a strong impact on tourism. During this time only few visitors came here, about 3 to 4 million. For three years I could not work in the industry, but had to earn my money in a call center. Now it’s back to the way it was. Every year we welcome about 14 million tourists.” Muhammad is confident about the future. Currently, it is mainly German and French visitors who spend their holidays in Egypt, but the number of Chinese visitors is increasing. Muhammad is passionate about his work as a tourist guide and loves his country. He studied history and has been an English tour guide since 2007 — which has always been his dream job.

Gold and mummies

Egypt, chair of Tutankhamun made of wood and layered with pure gold (DW/E. Kheny)

This chair of Tutankhamun is made of wood and layered with pure gold

Only a stone’s throw from Tahrir Square you will find the famous Egyptian Museum with around 120,000 exhibits. Muhammad leads me from one room to the next and shows me artifacts, tells stories and explains symbols. We walk past a small ivory figure of Cheops, the world-famous Narmer Palette — an impressive example of some of the earliest hieroglyphs carved into siltstone — and other works of art thousands of years old. I could list many more exhibits, but my absolute highlight were the artifacts related to Pharaoh Tutankhamun. He was a member of the 18th Dynasty and ruled for 10 years. He died at the age of 19 and his real fame came after his death. In November 1922 the British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered his completely preserved tomb in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor. Particularly spectacular and famous is his death mask made of about ten kilograms (22 lbs.) of solid gold, which is on display in the Egyptian Museum. I gaze in awe at the display cases full of gold, silver and precious stones.

Egypt, close-up of the face and hands of a mummy (DW/E. Kheny)

The mummy of Yuya was discovered in 1905 in the Valley of the Kings in Luxor

One highlight followed the next. I thought I’d seen all there was to see when I found myself standing in front of Tutankhamun’s great-grandparents: Yuya and Thuya. Their well-preserved hair, lips, nails and cheekbones ran chills down my spine. The two mummies were discovered in a very good condition, which indicates high-quality mummification. This ancient Egyptian ritual to preserve the dead body lasted 70 days. Systematically the brain and the internal organs were removed, then the deceased was rubbed with palm wine and aromatic essences. Sodium was used to withdraw water from the body, and finally the embalmed bodies were wrapped from head to toe in bandages.

The hustle and bustle of Khan Khalili Market

After a day packed with information, I wanted to do nothing other than losing myself in the labyrinth of shops at the Khan Khalili Market. The old souk dates back to the late 14th century and is a popular tourist attraction. Here the crush of people is immense visitors as well as smooth-talking merchants advertising their goods. 

Egypt, interior market stand selling lamps (DW/E. Kheny)

Oriental, colorful, many-sided — the Khan Khalili Market

I find papyrus rolls, hand-woven carpets, painted alabaster mugs, and fragrant spices. At the marketplace, skillful bartering is expected as here everything from medicine to clothing is haggled for. I came prepared, and I didn’t do badly. Apart from the worry of being pick-pocketed, I felt safe and comfortable among the predominantly English-speaking tourists and Arabic-speaking locals. 

When I arrived in Cairo, I was immediately struck by how chaotic and noisy the city was. A cloud of constant desert dust lies in the air, five times a day muezzins sound the call to prayers from the minarets and the streets choke in the rush hour traffic. A visit is therefore exhausting, but also very exhilarating because there is so much to experience here. In the space of a short time, I saw the sunrise over the Nile River from my hotel window, ventured deep inside a pyramid, stood face-to-face with a mummy and immersed myself into the turbulent city life. In Cairo, ancient history meets modernity – a highly interesting mixture!





Travel Guide: Multiple airlines offering travel waivers at DIA ahead of projected winter storm


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DENVER – Multiple airlines are offering travel waivers if you have plans to travel through Denver International Airport this week due to a projected winter storm that’s expected to dump multiple inches of snow across the metro. Here’s a look at each airlines policy. Make sure to go to each airline’s website for specific details and information about how to re-book.

AMERICAN – Travelers who are flying to/from/through DIA on November 26th may have their change fee waived if they rebook travel between November 24th and 29th as long as the ticket was bought by November 24th. Travelers also have the option of delaying your trip without a fee up to 331 days after your original ticket date. Changes must be booked by November 26th.

DELTATravelers who are flying to/from DIA on November 26th can make a one-time change and any applicable fee will be waived. Re-booked travel has to happen before November 29th.

FRONTIERTravelers who are flying to/from DIA on November 26th can make a one-time change and applicable fee will be waived as long as travel is booked by November 25th. Travel must be completed no later than December 18th.

JET BLUE Travelers flying to/from DIA on November 25th or November 26th may rebook their flights through November 29th. Original travel must be booked by November 24th.

SOUTHWEST – Travelers who have reservations to/from/through DIA on November 25th or November 26th can rebook travel as long as it’s within 14 days of their original date of travel without paying additional fees.

UNITED Travelers who are flight to/from/through DIA on or before November 29th can get change fees and any fee difference waived. Original ticket has to be purchased by November 22nd.

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