Middle East

A forced ride with a caleche – and skinny horses – in Edfu, Egypt
A horse in Edfu, Egypt

You know how some places give you a bad vibe? I felt that way about my Nile River cruise stop in Edfu, where caleche drivers have essentially bullied tour companies into using their services. Located on the Nile between Aswan and Luxor, Edfu is known for the Temple of Horus, one of the best-preserved along […]


My futile search for Bastet, the ancient Egyptian cat goddess, among the ruins.
Cats at the Edfu Temple, Egypt

As a lifelong cat lover, I always had a thing for Bastet, the ancient Egyptian cat goddess depicted in art and sculpture. The Egyptian love of the cat looms large in popular culture; it’s the ultimate sign of approval that cats are more regal than their doggy counterparts. So imagine my surprise when I discovered […]


The downside to traveling in Egypt right now: Increased attention from aggressive street hawkers and vendors.
Stalls at Khan el-Khalili, Cairo, Egypt

Before I went to Egypt, I had read about the country’s overly aggressive street hawkers. What I didn’t realize is that the country’s downturn in tourism since the Revolution would have the causal effect of making the few travelers who ARE visiting Egypt more prone to attention from street vendors and touts. My first encounter […]


More observations on Egyptian tourism after spending a week cruising the Upper Nile.
Tourism on the Nile, Egypt

Last week, I wrote about what is happening in Egypt tourism since the Revolution in January 2011, focusing on the Cairo area. After spending the past week cruising the Nile from Luxor to Aswan (and back), I have a few more observations that might be useful to people thinking about taking such a trip. The […]


Photo Friday: Street life in Cairo, the capital of Egypt
Capital of Egypt, Cairo

The theme of this week’s #FriFotos is Capital, as in capital cities around the world. I’ve been spending the last 10 days in Egypt, including several days in crazy Cairo. This photo is from a walk I took through the Khan el-Khalili bazaar in Islamic Cairo. I didn’t have the best experience here because of […]


Dispatch from Egypt: What is happening with tourism, post-revolution
The Sphinx, Giza, Egypt

I’ve been in Egypt since Sept. 26, hanging out at the Mena House in Giza until I join a Uniworld Splendors of Egypt tour that I’m covering for Cruise Critic. It’s a very posh way to spend a few days, so I’ve been removed from the typical day-to-day life of the Egyptians, many of whom […]


Tips for Middle East Visits

by Chris on May 19, 2011

Heading to the Middle East? 5 tips for making sure your visits are safe.
Middle East Visits

This post previously appeared on Frommers.com Mark Lammers planned his April trip to the Middle East in December 2010, months before the first government protests in the region took place. He watched nervously as the riots and regime changes of “Arab Spring” enveloped stops on his itinerary. Several travel companions dropped out. “It was becoming […]


While my trip to Christian holy sites in Galilee didn’t lead to any Hallelujah moments, it did put me back in touch with stories and verses that have been unfamiliar for decades and connected me with a belief system that I hadn’t examined in a serious way since high school. And that in itself proved to be a spiritual experience.

I’m not a religious person. But I did feel stirrings of something spiritual while touring the sites that are holy to Christianity on my May trip to Israel, sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism.  Although it’s been years since I’ve picked up a Bible, the stories from the Old and New Testament have been ingrained […]


Visiting Masada is one of the most significant things to do during your stay in Israel. Some tips on visiting the mountain fortress, which lies in the Judean desert near the Dead Sea.
Masada (Massada), Israel

Confession time: I have this thing for Peter O’Toole (not old alcoholic Peter O’Toole. I’m talking Lawrence of Arabia Peter O’Toole). And I also have this thing for rebels, be them of the Star Alliance, Jimmy Dean or Robin Hood variety. Peter Strauss isn’t too bad either. Needless to say, the mini-series Masada rocked my […]


Need a reason to add Tel Aviv to your Israel itinerary? Try the world’s largest collection of Bauhaus architecture, plus historic Jaffa, Israel and some of country’s best shopping and nightlife.
Bauhaus building, Tel Aviv, Israel

Bauhaus architecture has never earned the respect of, say, Art Deco, Art Nouveau or Craftsman style buildings, at least among the general public. But the Bauhaus school, based in Germany between 1919 and 1933, laid the foundation for most Modernist design.  Noted practitioners included Swiss painter Paul Klee, Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky and school head […]

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