Judy in Egypt, Day 11: Show me the Monet

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Crossroads senior web editor Judy Koutsky arrived in Cairo Jan. 29 to begin a two-week adventure in Egypt, sponsored by Wild Women Adventures. Armed with a laptop and digital camera, she is sending on-site reports and photographs back to Crossroads' New Jersey headquarters on a daily basis (or whenever she can get an Internet connection). Agents who have questions or advice for Judy during her trip can send email to [email protected]

CAIRO, Egypt -- Our lodging for last night and tonight is provided by the Sheraton Heliopolis, an excellent choice for travelers, business or leisure, who want the experience of Cairo without the noise of being in the heart of the city. The hotel, which underwent a renovation in 1997, is located just a few minutes from the Cairo airport and about 30 minutes from downtown Cairo.
The lobby is a visual feast of marble, chandeliers, exotic caged birds and huge floral arrangements. The tuxedoed staff is professional, efficient and extremely accommodating.

For business travelers, there are meetings facilities for 1,200 people, a business center, phones with data ports in the rooms and ample desk space. swimming poolsFor leisure travelers, there are three high-tech gyms, a sauna, whirlpool, six tennis courts, three swimming pools and two squash courts. The grounds are well manicured and the rooms are very clean. This hotel looks and feels like it is brand new.

Clients can eat at any one of the nine restaurants that specialize in Lebanese, Italian, Egyptian and American cuisine. The hotel is wheelchair accessible.

After getting a good night's sleep, we headed to the Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum. This museum, housed in a beautiful palace, is said to have the Middle East's finest collection of 19th century European art. the MonetThe building is exquisite, with high ceilings, wooden floors and a beautiful winding staircase made of marble. Works by Gauguin, Van Gogh, Renoir and Monet can be seen here. This is a peaceful way for clients to spend an afternoon.

We had lunch at Felfela, an Egyptian restaurant that I can only describe as incredible. It serves the most mouth-watering foods and has an enticing Middle Eastern ambience. Hanging mosaic lights, carved wooden tables, colorful scarves and sunlight streaming through the roof make this a great place for visitors wanting an authentic Egyptian experience.

FelfelaWhen Egyptians eat together they often share a selection of mezze (small dishes) eaten with pita bread, so that's exactly what we did. We ordered a variety of dips including tahini(pureed sesame seeds) and baba ghanoug (eggplant puree with tahini), along with some staples like waraa aynab (stuffed vine leaves) and fuul (fava beans).

We finished the meal with Turkish coffee (very popular here) and roz bi-laban (rice pudding). The food was excellent and the service very friendly.

Fact Sheet

Sheraton Heliopolis Hotel: P.O. Box 2466, Uruba Street, Cairo, Egypt. Phone: (011) 20-2 267-7730. Fax: (011) 20-2 267-7600. Commission: 10%. e-mail: [email protected] Web: www.sheraton.com

Mohammed Mahmoud Khalil Museum: Phone: (011) 20-2 336-2379. Open daily 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., except Mondays. Admission: 25 pounds (about $8).

Felfela: 15 Talaat Harb Street, Cairo. Phone: (011) 20-2 392-2833.

Wild Women Adventures: 107 N. Main Street, Sebastopol, CA 95472. Phone: (800) 992-1322. Web: www.wildwomenadv.com. Email: [email protected]

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