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Travel in Style Reviews
Trip Report: Three Weeks in Syria, Jordan, and Egypt
Michel Puckett

My husband and I just returned from a three week trip to Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. We were totally safe the entire time, saw nothing unusual except the warmest, happiest people who were delighted that we would visit their country. We wanted to visit this area of the world and thought that it was time to go. I am so glad that we did.

Our new best friend, Omar Zaher put together this amazing trip for us as we wanted to travel on our own, not with a group. His in-country people were exceptional and deserve a mention here. I LOVE to hear positive feedback from other travelers about a travel company I might use. Omar is simply the best. It was a bit daunting at times, but did not want to miss anything, and we sure did not!

In Egypt: with Ms. Wafaa Turk and Ms. Mayada Ezz el-Din (special thanks also to Hany and Mervat). In Jordan: a special thanks to our driver Ma'zouz and in Syria: special thanks to our driver there, Samer. Of course Omar puts this all together.

Everything went so well from the moment we left our home to the day we flew back. All three in-country travel agencies and their staff worked seamlessly and totally in concert so that we worried about nothing. In fact, there is nothing negative to report all were positive experiences. Did I mention that I loved it:)

Highlights from this incredible trip were:

Egypt: I promise not to bore with too many details just the true highlights.

We arrived around 6:00 PM and were wisked through the airport and to our hotel. As we were unpacking Omar called and asked us to join the staff, Omar,Omar's Mother, and others for dinner that very night! We showered quickly and had the most delightful time with our new found friends.

Sure there are the Pyramids, the Spinx and the amazing Egyptian Museum where you are rushed by the wonderful artifacts to see even more amazing artifacts.

We have never cruised before and were not too sure about this part of the trip. We were booked on the Princess Sarah and she sure lived up to her name. We were the only Americans on board which was fun as all the others were from France, Sweden, and a small family group from Tunisia.

There were two 17 year olds in the Tunisian family and they wanted to practice their English with us. What a great family they were and we all became fast friends.

Highlights on the cruise besides the beautiful Nile, the delicious food, Galabya night, include Luxor and the Valley of the Kings.

A total must was the short trip at such an early hour to see the amazing Ramses the Great's huge desert temple at Abu Simbel. It was fantastic even after you feel a bit templed out.

The last night in Egypt we had dinner with Mayada's family. Loved her Mom, a very out going. lovely woman who is also a wonderful cook. It was such a delightful evening with SO many tempting Egyptian dishes from which to choose. A great coda to Egypt.

Jordan: We had just a couple of days in Jordan. We did stay one night in Amman, no problems.

Such much to see in so little time. We stopped to see Madaba where the church is that contains the oldest known map of the Holy Land (all in tile). All I can say is so worth the visit.

Loved Wadi Rum where our Bedouin guide pulled me up outcroppings and made sand angels for us. He was a trip.

Then came Petra. I am not sure that I was truly ready to experience seeing and being in the Nabatean City of Petra. One is just blown away with all that awaits you there.

When we were getting ready to enter Petra with our guide, a teacher from the college at Madaba asked our guide, who was a friend of his, if he could have a couple of college students tag along to practice their English with us.

We had the most delightful four hours with three young ladies and we talked about family, religion, politics, life, whatever. They were so smart and funny that it was hard to say good-bye to them as they were reloaded onto their university buses.

Syria: The most interesting of all of the three countries for us.

We truly did not know what to expect with the Syrian part of our trip and all people whom we met expressed the same sentiments. We were all pleasantly surprised. Everywhere, and I do mean everywhere we were greeted with "Welcome to our Country". People on the streets, school children walking by all said that same.

Highlights: Again so many in Syria. This is part of the famed "Cradle of Civilization". We loved Damascus and the Old Bazaar. One quick story about the Bazaar. We were looking for a certain rug dealer whom I had read about in the New York Times.

We could not find him and were stymied when another shop owner in this HUGE Bazaar saw that we were perplexed. He saw that the article listed a phone number so he immediately called and got the location for us. He asked for nothing just wanted to help out. We found this to be true time and time again in Syria.

Gosh, better start wrapping this up, back to Syrian must sees: Palmyra, loved it. Krak Des Chevaliers, a Crusader Castle, very imposing.

More must mentions: coffee in a Beehive house, stopping for coffee at the Bedouin run Baghdad Cafe 66, seeing the Norias (huge waterwheels) in Hama, loved Aleppo with the vast Ottman Bazaar which dates back to the 13th Century. Wandering through the Dead City of Sergella, seeing the columns at Apamea.

Religion plays an important role in all three countries and I was impressed to see many peoples of many faiths in all three. Some of our guides were Christians and some were Muslins. Sure we saw amazing Mosques, but we also were in Catholic and Christian churches as well.

I loved this trip. Never, ever did I feel that tingle of concern that we were in any sort of danger. Would I go again? Of course!