I have recently returned from a fantastic trip to Egypt. The trip was over 5 days, during which I did a group tour with 6 other women and a tour guide. On the first day, we went to the Pyramids and I was surprised not to see many foreigners there. However, it was busy with local people. Our group went inside the Great Pyramid. The space is tight and the climb is quite difficult, so not for the faint-hearted! I’m glad I managed to do it though! After visiting the Pyramids, we had a camel ride and I was a little scared of camels! Nevertheless, we got many funny pictures with them.
In the afternoon, we visited the Sphinx and the huge ancient statue in Memphis. Afterwards, our group went to Sakkara, where we saw another pyramid known as the Step Pyramid.
The next day we visited the Egyptian Museum in Cairo, where there were many artefacts from the tombs, including from Tutankhamun’s tomb and lots of hieroglyphs to see! In the afternoon, we drove to a very famous mosque. The enormous ‘Mohamed Ali’ mosque is situated high up overlooking the city. Before I went to the mosque, I had to wear a long dress and cover my shoulders. The mosque is stunning inside and well worth a visit.
The third day was our last day in Egypt. We went to visit the old part of Cairo which was very interesting. There was a 1000-year-old wall around the old town. Inside the wall, the buildings were very old and we visited three old mosques. The architecture was very beautiful.
There was a “sooq” (market) in the old part of Cairo where we bought Egyptian souvenirs. I bought a lovely scarf made of Egyptian cotton. The people of Egypt were the friendliest in any country I have been to! Many people said “Welcome to Egypt” in English to me and many youngsters wanted to have their photo taken with me! One day, I hope to return to Egypt because there are many interesting, historical places to visit in the country and the warm-hearted people really made it stand out as such a memorable trip.
Several years ago, I did a beginners course in Syrian Arabic through Dalarna University in Sweden. Fast forward a few years when I wanted to learn more Arabic and I was unable to find an online teacher from Syria so I decided to change to Egyptian. I did a 90 day challenge and then made a 15 minute video at the end with my teacher Sumayyah from Verbling.
HOW TO LEARN EGYPTIAN ARABIC
If you are interested in learning Egyptian Arabic, the good news is that resources have greatly improved over the last couple of years:
I use Italki for one-to-one lessons on Skype with a teacher. To learn Egyptian Arabic, I recommend Mona Iabeeb for more formal lessons with materials provided. I made my video with Sumayyah from Verbling, although she no longer teaches online.
Lingualism publish a lot of materials at all levels including audio.
Talk in Arabic is a subscription based site with lots of audio resources in all Arabic dialects. I found their Egyptian Verb Book (on pdf) to be extremely useful. All the verbs come with audio and are written in Arabic script as well as transliterated. You don’t need to be a subscriber to purchase the verb book.
Also from Talk in Arabic, a new book called Egyptian Arabic: Easy Stories with English Translations. This is the first book of its kind that I know of for Egyptian Arabic, as most written Arabic materials are in Modern Standard Arabic. There are 12 short stories which increase in difficulty level as you progress through the book. The book is aimed at learners who already have a low-intermediate level in Egyptian Arabic and who can already read the Arabic alphabet. Audio is also available once you’ve purchased the book. Each story is accompanied by vocabulary lists and space for notes. This is an excellent quality resources for intermediate-level learners and in my opinion, it fills a gap in the market for Egyptian Arabic learners. More details are on this site.
I also use the book Colloquial Egyptian Arabic published by Routledge. Most of it is transliterated for those who prefer to learn that way.
I also have this Egyptian-English vocabulary book.
I also have a transliterated dictionary and grammar book written by Nour Balasa and available on pdf from here.
This is the best online dictionary with audio.
Good phrasebooks with dictionaries such as Lonely Planet Egyptian Arabic are great if you are going on a trip to Egypt.
There are other books such as Kallimni Arabi and Kalaam Gamiil which I haven’t used but these are written all in Arabic script after the beginners level and some learners still need to see the transliteration.
I hope this helps and keep looking as resources for Egyptian Arabic are improving all the time!
I booked my flights independently using Skyscanner
I travelled to Egypt on a group tour with Bucket List Travel
I normally look for hotels or apartments using Booking.com as many of them do not require a prepayment and are flexible with regards to amendments and cancellations up until a few days before travel. By using my link, you will get a 10% refund on your accommodation costs.
Another site I regularly use for hotels is Hotels.com. They also have many hotels offering flexible options. I once had to cancel a hotel at a non-refundable rate but they helped me obtain a refund as I needed urgent surgery and the hotel still had a week to rebook another customer. I have therefore been happy with their service.
For insurance, I have been using Flexicover to buy annual policies for over 10 years. In that time, I have had to claim twice for last minute illnesses resulting in cancellations and the service has been efficient. You can also arrange to pay extra and cover pre-existing conditions.